Tax credit claimants have been reminded that they have just over a week to renew their claims before the 31 July deadline.
With many households having to stretch their incomes ever further, seeing their monthly tax credits suddenly halted is the last thing families need.
Human nature, however, dictates that things do often get left to the last minute…in the case of the tax credit renewal deadline, it's now more a case of the last few seconds.
"Time is running out to renew," warns Steve Lamey, director of benefits and credits at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). "Claimants need to renew by 31 July or their payments will stop."
For those struggling to make sense of what needs to be done, HMRC has published a series of online videos to help claimants through the renewal process.
The interactive, bite-sized videos take viewers through the renewal process step by step, offering the chance to tailor the help to their own circumstances.
Key areas covered in the videos include checking the accuracy of the information in your renewals pack, notifying HMRC of any changes in circumstances you haven't already reported during the year, and providing details of your previous year's income.
The videos are available - as well as other help and information on tax credit renewals - from www.direct.gov.uk/renewyourtaxcredits.
Despite the urgency of the situation, claimants have also been urged to take care when renewing tax credits as errors could mean they receive less money than they are entitled to.
At the same time, HMRC has alerted claimants to a surge of fake 'phishing' emails sent out by fraudsters in the run-up to the deadline.
The dodgy emails inform recipients that they are due a tax rebate, and provide a click-through link to a cloned replica of the HMRC website where recipients are asked to provide credit or debit card details.
Fraudsters then try to take money from their accounts.
HMRC has made it clear that the department currently only ever contacts customers who are due a tax refund in writing, by post.
It does not use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances.
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