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HMRC extends deadline giving Post Office card account holders getting child benefit or tax credits more time to get new accounts



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Thousands of people who have a government benefit paid into a Post Office card account are being given more time to find an alternative option for their payments.

The government had previously announced it was going to stop paying money into Post Office card accounts, affecting hundreds of thousands of people receiving state pensions, child benefit and tax credits.

But HM Revenue and Customs, which had been due to terminate Post Office payments from December 1, has been forced to extend the deadline after an estimated 13,000 people who receive financial support from the department had yet to give officials details of an alternative account, which would have seen their money stopped from tomorrow.

Families who receive child benefit into a Post Office account must now provide new payment details by next April. Photo: Thinkstock image.
Families who receive child benefit into a Post Office account must now provide new payment details by next April. Photo: Thinkstock image.

This follows a similar move by the Department for Work and Pensions, which in September was forced to push back its deadline until the end of next year for those collecting state pension payments.

HMRC says it recognises the 'vital financial support' tax credits, child benefit and guardian’s allowance can provide to individuals and families and wants to give them every opportunity to continue to receive the benefits they are entitled to, particularly over the winter and festive period.

The department has arranged a one-off extension to its contract with the Post Office, which now gives customers until April 5 next year to make alternative arrangements for their money and give HMRC alternative payment details.

Government departments are steadily ending contracts with Post Office card accounts
Government departments are steadily ending contracts with Post Office card accounts

Despite the four-month extension HMRC is appealing to those benefitting from the extension to still switch at the earliest available opportunity.

Customers can choose to have their benefit payments paid into a bank, building society or credit union account when the Post Office arrangement ends for them.

Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance customers are able to use their Personal Tax Account to provide revised account details, change their bank account details via GOV.UK or update information by ringing the child benefit helpline on 0300 200 3100. Tax credits customers can change their bank account details by contacting the tax credits helpline on 0345 300 3900.

Anyone, say officials, struggling to open a new bank account should contact HMRC for advice.



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