You can follow the same steps as everyone else, but there are a few differences for self-employed people that you should know about before you apply.
You can usually claim working tax credits as a self-employed person if you get a fostering allowance and:
When HMRC ask for your income, you'll need to tell them how much your fostering allowance is. When they ask for your working hours, tell them the number of hours you spend each week looking after your child. If you also work elsewhere, tell them about the income and hours for that job too.
You won’t be able to claim child tax credits for a child if you get a fostering allowance for them.
You'll be asked how much you earned in the previous tax year (the 12 months up to 5 April). To work this out, look on your self-assessment tax return for ‘taxable profits’, then subtract any:
You should include the grant as normal trading income when you work out your income.
You should estimate your income if you haven’t completed a self-assessment tax return for the previous tax year yet.
Try to make your estimate as realistic as possible. It’s better to slightly overestimate, as HMRC will pay back any tax credits they owe you at the end of the year.
It’s still worth applying if you’re just over the limit. You won’t get any working tax credits straight away, but if your income changes and you become eligible later in the year, your claim can be backdated to when you first applied.
This is known as a ‘protective claim’, and the application process is the same.
You’ll also need to let HMRC know how many hours you normally spend working for yourself each week. Include any time you bill to clients, along with any work-related activities such as:
If you’ve recently become self-employed, estimate how many hours you expect to spend on these things each week.
After you’ve applied for tax credits, HMRC might get in touch to ask you some more questions about your business.
To help prove that your self-employment is genuine, and that you intend to make a profit, you should keep a business plan and copies of:
You might think you're self-employed, for example if you're making money from something you sell, but HMRC might count it as a hobby. Check what counts as self-employment on GOV.UK.
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