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Child benefit reminder

HMRC has today issued a reminder to those higher income earners who wish to opt out of child benefit schemes.

People with an income over £60,000 whose family is still receiving child benefit should opt out before 28 March if they wish to avoid filling in a tax return and repaying the benefit for the 2013/14 tax year. Latest HMRC figures show that over 370,000 people have opted out of child benefit since the High Income Child Benefit Charge was introduced on 7 January. Those who have already stopped their child benefit payments do not need to act.

People who continued to receive child benefit after January need to register for Self Assessment by 5 October 2013 to repay the benefit received between January and April 2013, but opting out now means they will not need to fill in a tax return in future years.

For people with income of more than £60,000, the tax charge is 100 per cent of the amount of child benefit. For income between £50,000 and £60,000, the charge is gradually increased to 100 per cent of the child benefit.

The decision to stay in or opt out of receiving child benefit payments is not final, and families are free to change their minds. Anyone earning over £50,000 who has received child benefit since 7 January 2013 will need to register for Self Assessment and complete a tax return for that period, regardless of whether they are now opting out.

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