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Child benefit deadline looms for better-off families

Families set to lose some or all of their child benefit because one partner earns more than £50,000 must register for self-assessment by October 5 or face substantial fines.

Changes to the formerly universal benefit mean that families in which at least one partner earns more than £50,000 must pay back an increasing proportion of the benefit (one per cent for every £100 of pre-tax income) by declaring the payment via self-assessment tax forms. Alternatively, they can opt out of child benefit payments altogether. Families earning more than £60,00 must pay back the entire payment.

Families who opt out will still have to pay back the required proportion of the benefit paid between their stoppage date and January 7 this year, when the new system was first introduced.

Parents affected by the cut range as high as 350,000.

Those who have not opted out of child benefit and who have also not previously registered for self-assessment could face fines of up to 100 per cent of the tax due if they fail to register by the October 5 deadline.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron appeared on The Andrew Marr Show to defend the cuts, saying:

“I’m not saying those people are rich but I think it is right that they make a contribution. This will raise £2 billion a year. If we don’t raise that £2 billion from that group of people, the better off 15 per cent in the country, we would have to find someone else to take it from. I think people see it as fundamentally fair that if there is someone in the household earning over £60,000 you don’t get child benefit.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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