Review for High Income Child Benefit Charge penalty cases concludes


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has completed its review into High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) cases where a ‘Failure to Notify’ penalty was issued.

HMRC took the decision to review cases where a ‘Failure to Notify’ penalty was issued for the tax years 2013 to 2014, 2014 to 2015, and 2015 to 2016, to customers who had not registered for the HICBC.

HMRC listened to customers and stakeholders, and changed its view of when some customers may have a reasonable excuse for failing to notify liability to HICBC.

A reasonable excuse is something that stopped someone from meeting a tax obligation that they took appropriate care to meet.


Refunds have been sent to families that claimed Child Benefit before HICBC was introduced, and where one partner’s income subsequently increased to over £50,000, and to families where the liability to HICBC arose in the 2013 to 2014, 2014 to 2015, or 2015 to 2016 tax years as a result of the formation of a new partnership.

HMRC reviewed 35,000 cases where a ‘Failure to Notify’ penalty had been charged and cancelled the penalties of over 6,000 customers who had a reasonable excuse for not notifying their liability for the tax years 2013 to 2014, 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016.

Refunds were made in 4,885 cases and totalled £1.8 million.

All customers entitled to a refund will now have received one and do not need to contact HMRC.

Informing customers

HMRC checks each year and where all the relevant information is held, writes to customers explaining what they need to do to pay HICBC and avoid penalties.

HMRC is also improving Child Benefit forms, guidance and communications, setting out options to pay the charge or to claim Child Benefit but elect not to receive payments.

In this way the claiming parent can continue to receive non-monetary benefits, such as National Insurance credits, that may preserve entitlement to the state pension, without having to pay HICBC.

To find out more, see
HICBC customer flowchart (PDF, 37.2KB, 1 page)

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