Child Tax Credits when your child reaches 16

Child Tax Credit usually stops on 31 August after your child turns 16 but can continue for children under 20 in approved education, training or registered with a careers service. 

What you need to do  

You must tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your child:  

  • turns 16 and stays in approved education or training 

  • starts or leaves approved education or training 

  • joins or leaves a careers service 

  • starts getting benefits themselves, for example Universal Credit 

  • gets married, forms a civil partnership or starts to live with a partner 

  • leaves approved education or training and starts working in a job where they are paid 24 or more hours a week 

You must also tell HMRC if your child: 

  • turns 18 and stays in approved education or training 

  • turns 19 and stays in approved education or training 

Tell HMRC (external link) as soon as possible to make sure you get paid the right amount of tax credit. 

Approved education   

Education must be full-time (more than an average of 12 hours a week supervised study or course-related work experience) and can include:  

  • A levels or similar, for example Pre-U, International Baccalaureate 

  • Scottish Highers 

  • NVQs and other vocational qualifications up to level 3 

  • home education - if started before your child turned 16 

  • traineeships in England 

Courses are not approved if paid for by an employer or ‘advanced’, for example a university degree or BTEC Higher National Certificate. 

Your child must be accepted onto the course before they turn 19. 

Approved training 

Approved training should be unpaid and can include:  

  • Foundation Apprenticeships or Traineeships in Wales 

  • Employability Fund programmes in Scotland 

  • United Youth Pilot (if started before 1 June 2017), PEACE IV Children and Young People 2.1 or Training for Success in Northern Ireland 

Courses that are part of a job contract are not approved.  

Your child must be accepted for the training before they turn 19. 

Career services  

You can get tax credit for 20 weeks if your child leaves education or training before they are 18 and:  

  • registers with their local careers service, Connexions or local authority support service (or the Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland or similar careers organisation in the European Economic Area, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein) 

  • joins the Armed Forces 

Your child must be 16 or 17, work less than 24 hours a week and not get certain benefits (for example Income Support).