More than a million people are yet to renew their tax credits, with just one week to go until the 31 July deadline.

The Government has sent over five million letters to people reminding them that they need to renew their tax credits, which are regular payments to support those with children or those who have a low income, but more than a fifth have yet to respond. Anyone who doesn't respond by the deadline could end up losing or owing money.

Last year 320,000 recipients had their payments stopped or altered because they missed the deadline to inform HMRC of changes to their circumstances. These include changes to working hours, income and childcare costs.

See our Tax Credits guide for more information.

What are tax credits?

Tax credits are paid via the tax office directly into bank accounts, and anyone aged over 16 who normally lives in the UK can apply to get them.

There are two types of credits:

  • Child tax credits - anyone with children, whether working or not, could be eligible
  • Working tax credits - anyone who works but has a low income, whether they've got kids or not, could be eligible

The amount you could get depends on a number of factors including your income, the number of children you have and whether you have a disability.

Failure to renew your tax credits before the 31 July deadline will mean payments are stopped and you may have to repay the money you have received since April.

See our guide for more information on how to renew your tax credits.

How do you renew your tax credits?

If you get tax credits, you'll be sent a renewal pack each year in May or June, and the deadline's usually 31 July each year. If you haven't received your renewal pack then call the tax credits helpline ASAP on 0345 300 3900.

You can renew your claim in several different ways. The deadline this year is Tuesday 31 July - don't wait until the last minute as you may risk missing it and having your tax credits stop.

How you respond depends on the letter you get, and the colour of the line halfway down the page.

  • If red, this is a 'declaration form', so you need to check the info's correct. Whether there are changes or not, you MUST return the form or renew online. Do nothing and your tax credits could be stopped. My form's got a red line.
  • If black, this is a 'renewal notice'. Check everything's correct - if it is, you don't need to do anything, your tax credits will renew automatically. If your circumstances have changed though, you MUST let HMRC know, as doing nothing could mean you get the wrong amount next year. My form's got a black line.

For more information on the renewal process, see the 'how to' section of our tax credits guide

What does HMRC say?

Angela MacDonald, director general of customer services, said: "We've improved our services so customers can renew their tax credits at a time that's convenient to them but the 31 July deadline is fast approaching.

"There is a wealth of support available at all times of the day and night from HMRC via, the app, or Alexa to help customers get their renewal right.

"I urge customers who have yet to renew their tax credits to do so as soon as possible, to avoid their payments being stopped."