Do you care for a child on your own? Then you may be entitled to claim the Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit.
We know better than anyone that it’s important to understand your tax entitlements. Tax credits like the Single Person Child Carer Credit can reduce the amount of tax you pay which in the long run can save you thousands of euro. Since caring for children is expensive business, we want to explain how you could save yourself a lot of money with the SPCCC.
The SPCCC is given to any individual who lives with a qualifying child for the whole or greater part of the tax year – that is for 6+ months for the purpose of this tax credit. This individual is the primary claimant.
If you’re the primary claimant then you can surrender your entitlement to the credit at any time in favour of a secondary claimant provided the child lives with that person for more than 100 days of the tax year. The secondary claimant must also meet all other qualifying conditions which we’ll get into in just a sec.
What is the criteria for claiming the SPCCC?
The Single Person Child Carer Credit can be granted to a primary claimant or a secondary claimant (if it has been surrendered in their favour by a primary claimant.)
However, you can’t claim it as either primary or secondary claimant if you are:
- Jointly assessed as a married person or civil partner
- Married or in a civil partnership (unless separated)
You can’t claim the SPCCC for the year in which you were widowed or a surviving civil partner (the year of bereavement) if you were claiming the basic personal tax credit of €3,300. You can claim the SPCCC in all subsequent years if you qualify.
How much is the Single Person Child Carer credit worth?
Currently the SPCCC is worth €1,650 (2019).
If you are claiming the SPCCC you are also entitled to a €4,000 extension in the standard rate band which increases the rate band from €35,300 to €39,300.
Info for primary claimants
The primary claimant is the person with whom the qualifying child lives with for 6+ months of the year. The primary claimant must be the child’s parent or the person who takes care of and maintains the child at his or her own expense. Again, this person must live with the child for 6+ months of the year.
If both parents have court ordered equal custody, then entitlement to the credit is decided depending on which parent receives child benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. A child who lives away from home while they’re attending college is considered a qualifying child as long as they are still maintained by the claimant and return home outside of term-time.
Info for secondary claimants
A primary claimant can give up their ability to claim the Single Person Child Carer Credit and sacrifice it in favour of another ‘secondary claimant’. A secondary claimant is subject to the same conditions except for the condition that the child lives with him or her for the greater part of the year.
A secondary claimant doesn’t have to have legal custody of the qualifying child but must prove that the child lives with them for at least 100 days in a year.
If the child spends the greater part of a day with this carer, this counts as one full day for the purpose of this tax credit.
What is a qualifying child for the purpose of this tax credit?
A qualifying child for the purpose of the SPCCC must be:
- Born in the tax year or
- Aged under 18 at the start of the tax year or
- Aged over 18 at the start of the tax year but in full-time education at any university, college, school or another type of educational establishment.
A qualifying child may also be a person aged 18 or over who is permanently incapacitated either before they turned 21 (or after the age of 21 while they were receiving full-time instruction in an educational establishment).
There is an additional Incapacitated Child Tax Credit available also. If you care for an incapacitated child you can find out more about claiming a tax refund here.
The child may be your own child, a stepchild, an adopted child or any child whom you are responsible for supporting and maintaining at your own expense. Foster children are not considered qualifying children.
How do I surrender my entitlement?
If you’re the primary claimant and you don’t want to claim the relief, you can give up the entitlement. If you go through with surrendering your entitlement to the credit, this surrender will remain until:
- you withdraw the surrender
- you cease to be a primary claimant
- they cease to be a secondary claimant.
If you withdraw, the credit will be restored to you at the beginning of the next tax year.
For example if you withdraw your surrender on the 20 March 2019, the SPCCC will be restored to you from the beginning of the 2020 tax year onward.
Changes in personal circumstances for current claimants
Examples of changes in personal circumstances are:
- getting married
- reconciling with an estranged spouse
- registering a civil partnership.
If your personal circumstances change during the year you must contact Revenue. This applies regardless of whether you are the primary or secondary claimant.
They will not remove the SPCCC from you immediately. However, it will be removed for the following tax year.
If you claim SPCCC as a secondary claimant and the primary claimant’s circumstances change, the SPCCC will be removed. This will not occur if you meet the criteria to be a primary claimant.
Can both parents claim the Single Person Child Carer Credit?
This credit is only available to the primary claimant and cannot be claimed simultaneously by two people. If you have more than one qualifying child, it is only possible to claim one SPCCC for those children.
However, in the scenario where you’re the primary claimant and you have more than one qualifying child and you surrender your entitlement, 2 or more secondary claimants can use the credit – if they are caring for the qualified child or children for 100+ days of the year.
Let’s look at an example…
John has two children, Mary and Sean. John is a primary claimant. Mary lives with her mother Jennifer for more than 100 days a year and Sean lives with his mother Susan for more than 100 days of the year. Since children must live with the secondary claimant for more 100+ days per year, John could surrender his entitlement enabling both Susan and Jennifer to claim the relief assuming they satisfy all other criteria.
How do I claim the SPCCC?
There are different forms to submit depending on your personal circumstances i.e.:
- If you’re a primary claimant and were not receiving the credit but you wish to claim it.
- If you have been receiving the credit but you’re not entitled to it because the child is not in full-time education or in receipt of full time instruction
- If you were allocated the credit but you want to surrender it to a secondary claimant
- If you qualify as a secondary claimant and the primary claimant has agreed to surrender the credit to you.
- If you qualify for the credit but it has been allocated to another individual. In this case you must also provide evidence backing up your belief.
If you would like help with claiming a tax refund for the Single Person Child Carer tax credit then you go ahead and fill out our simple form.
- We check if you’re due a refund for all available reliefs and expenses
- We check as far back as four years
- Our team are on hand 24/7 via our Live Chat service
- We send your refund straight to your bank account
Got a question about the credit or your tax entitlements? Why not speak to a member of our team? You can chat with a qualified tax expert on our 24/7 Live Chat service or by Free-phoning.