31 July: Last chance to renew tax credits and use non-barcoded stamps
Tax credits customers are urged to renew their annual claim ahead of today’s deadline to ensure they don’t miss out on money they are entitled to.
Any claimant who has received a renewal pack with a red line across the first page and the words “reply now” must respond to HMRC by 31 July or risk having their payments stopped.
Those who have a black line over the first page of the renewal pack and the words “check now” only need to update HMRC if any details have changed.
Red line “reply now” recipients need to inform HMRC about changes in personal circumstances, which includes relationship changes such as marriage or separation, changes to the cost of childcare, if a child leaves home or if working hours fall below 30 per week.
Claimants are also warned to be on guard against scams as criminals use tax credits renewals and other deadlines to trick people into sharing their banking or other personal details.
A typical scam includes emails or texts claiming an individual’s details aren’t up to date and that they risk losing out on payments that are due to them.
If a phone call, text or email is unexpected, don’t give out private information or reply, and don’t download attachments or click on links.
HMRC is also warning people not to share their login details with anyone else.
Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said: “We know tax credits offer vital financial support for our customers so it is important that you renew by the deadline on 31 July.
“It is quick and easy to renew online at GOV.UK or using the HMRC app, just search ‘manage my tax credits’ on GOV.UK.”
Older stamps need to be used
Anyone who still has older non-barcoded stamps needs to use them by 31 July or the recipient will face a charge for insufficient or no postage being applied.
For any mail sent after 31 July using non-barcoded ‘definitive stamps’ – 1st or 2nd class stamps and all other values featuring the profile of Her Late Queen Elizabeth – will be classed as invalid with the recipient liable for a surcharge.
Royal Mail confirmed a £1.10 surcharge fee will be applied to mail sent using non-barcoded stamps. Recipients of mail sent using non-barcoded stamps will be left a grey ‘Fee to Pay’ card advising them they have an item of mail that requires a surcharge to be paid before the item can be delivered.
However, if you have a stash of these at home, all is not lost. If you cannot use the stamps by the deadline, you can trade them for barcoded stamps through the Royal Mail’s free Swap Out scheme. There is currently no deadline for this exchange.
There are four ways you can receive a swap form for stamps that are worth up to £200:
- A form can be download and printed from the Royal Mail website. If you don’t have a printer, you can complete a web form to request a form be posted to you.
- You can call the Royal Mail Customer Experience team on 03457 740740.
- You can visit one of the 1,200 local delivery office Customer Service Points to pick up a form in person.
- Or you can collect a form from your local Post Office branch.
Forms can be sent to Freepost SWAP OUT. If you’ve picked up a form from a local delivery office, Post Office or requested a form to be sent to you, it will come with a freepost envelope.
If you have more than £200 of stamps to swap, you need to request and complete a Bulk Stamp Swap Out form.
Non-barcoded Christmas and other special stamps with pictures on continue to be valid for postage and should not be submitted for swap out.