The Perfect Juggler’s Guide to Tax Credits


Whilst the sun has been shining outside I am stuck at my computer, trying to get my head around the annual conundrum that is tax credits. The groan heard around the country when that A4 envelope thuds through the letter box must be audible far and wide. Or it would be if everyone received theirs at the same time. I received mine two weeks ago and have already had a slightly curt letter with red lines in it saying I need to get on with it or I’ll owe them money.

The Perfect Juggler's Guide To Tax Credits


What do the numbers mean?

The only problem with tax credits is no one actually understands the sums they use to get the numbers they do. So you never have any idea whether you will get any money or not, or even worse, whether you’ll end up owing them money because they didn’t do their sums right in the first place.


What I do know is that you need your P60 from the financial year just gone, about an hour of quiet time, many cups of tea and preferably some chocolate digestives to make the task a little easier.


Last year I had to pay money back to HMRC despite giving my exact figures of gross pay, pension contributions, childcare fees etc etc etc so I was debating whether it was worth even attempting to claim anything this year. But every little helps (unless they’re taking that little away) so I thought I’d do a bit of research.


Where to look was pretty unhelpful as usual (I’m allowed to say that by the way as I work with it on a daily basis by the way). Lots of ‘you may’ and ‘you could’ but no ‘definitely will’ or ‘definitely won’t’. The Tax Credit Calculator tells me something different every year so I’m not sure I should rely too heavily on that either.


I then wandered over to the lovely who I found out do courses in trying to understand tax credits which shows it’s not just me! But then I found this amazing factsheet which spelt it out for me and I thought it would be useful for you too:

The Perfect Jugglers Guide To Tax Credits 2


How to work out your tax credits.

  1. Add all the amounts listed in the factsheet above (called elements) that apply to your family. This is the maximum amount of tax credits your family is entitled to.
  2. If you’re working (or treated as working) 16 or more hours a week, and your income (before tax and national insurance) is less than £6,420 a year, you get the maximum amount of tax credits
  3. If your income is more than £6,420 per year, deduct £6,420 from your income. What is left over is called your excess income. (Ha ha)
  4. Work out what 41 per cent of your excess income is (total income, minus £6,420, divided by 100 then multiplied by 41)
  5. Deduct this amount from your maximum amount of tax credits (this was worked out in step one)
  6. This is the amount you are entitled to.


Using these sums (and a calculator), I should be eligible to receive £67 tax credits every four weeks. This is somewhat different to the £129 the Tax Credits Calculator told me. I guess all I can do is fill out the online form before 31 July and wait to see.

Have you filled out yours yet?





  1. Tinuke

    19/06/2017 at 9:58 pm

    I didn’t bother this year. Like you, even though I told HMRC how much I was earning, I ended up owing them money. In my case nearly £1k! I’m refusing to get stung again this year. The calculation you gave is really helpful. I don’t know why it becomes so complicated on their end.

    1. admin

      19/06/2017 at 10:03 pm

      Oh my goodness! That’s ridiculous, and putting those with, potentially, already difficult financial circumstances in even more difficulties! Through no fault of their own! Grrr. There must be a better way. I’m really worried about what I’ll get back but hopefully it’ll be something rather than nothing!

  2. Cassaundra Crivaro

    22/12/2017 at 11:26 am

    It’s nearly impossible to find experienced people for this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  3. minecraft

    25/03/2019 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks very interesting blog!

Leave a Reply