Tax Credits FAQs




Q. Am I entitled to help with health costs because of my Tax Credit?

A. See if you qualify for help with health costs via Tax Credits

Q. I have been awarded Tax Credit and have checked that I qualify for help with health costs. What happens next?

A. If you are entitled to help with health costs because of your Tax Credit, HM Revenue and Customs will send your details to us automatically and we will send you an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate.

Q. What does the certificate cover?

A. The certificate covers:

  • NHS prescriptions
  • NHS dental treatment
  • NHS wigs and fabric supports
  • Sight tests
  • Help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses
  • The necessary cost of travel for NHS treatment

Q. When will I receive my certificate?

A. Each month HMRC provides the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) with the details of people who qualify for a Tax Credit Exemption Certificate.  This information is usually sent to the NHSBSA within eight weeks of the person receiving a tax credit award notice.  After this information has been uploaded onto NHSBSA systems, it can take up to a further six weeks for your certificate to be delivered.  This means that you may not receive your certificate until approx. three months after receiving your tax credit award notice.  However you are entitled to claim help with health costs from the time you receive a tax credit award notice.

If your certificate expires at the end of October, your circumstances have not changed in the last six months and you still meet the criteria, you will be sent a new certificate before your existing one expires.  The new certificate will be valid for a further six months.

Q. Once I’ve received my certificate, how do I use it?

A. Show the certificate to your NHS practitioner before you have your treatment.  The cost of your treatment will be reduced automatically.  In the case of travel, show your certificate at the cashier’s desk at the place you have travelled to.  If there isn’t a cashier’s desk, claim the money back using form HC5(T).

Q. I am waiting for my NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate to arrive. How can I prove I am entitled to help with health costs in the meantime?

A. Providing you meet the qualifying conditions for help (Find out if you qualify), your Tax Credit award notice will be accepted as proof.  If you would rather not show your award notice, you can still sign the treatment forms to say that you are exempt. The NHS practitioner will simply mark the treatment form to say they haven’t seen evidence of your entitlement, and this will be checked later.

Q. What if I claim free NHS treatment and I am not entitled?

A. You could be liable to pay a penalty charge, in addition to the cost of the treatment.

Q. Can I claim a refund of NHS charges I have already paid?

A. You can claim a refund if, at the time you paid, you were entitled to an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate. However, you need to claim within three months of paying the charge.

Q. I had a NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate, but I’ve lost it. Can I have another one?

A. Please ring us on 0300 330 1347 and we will send a replacement certificate. Alternatively, you can e-mail us at confirming your full name, date of birth and full address.

Q. What happens to my details once HM Revenue and Customs have supplied them to the NHS Business Services Authority?

A. The NHSBSA uses the information it receives from HM Revenue and Customs to issue NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificates to those who satisfy the qualifying conditions.  The information is also used to check that entitlement to free NHS treatment has been claimed correctly, and to make sure NHS practitioners are paid correctly for services they have provided to the NHS.  The information is held securely, and is not used for any other purpose.

Q. Am I entitled to anything other than help with health costs because of my Tax Credit?

A. For information on any other help you may be entitled to, contact HM Revenue and Customs directly.

Q. How was my Tax Credit award calculated?

A. Tax Credit awards are calculated by HM Revenue and Customs. You will need to contact them directly for more information on how your Tax Credit claim was calculated.

Q. What if I want to appeal against my Tax Credit award decision?

A. You need to contact HM Revenue and Customs directly.  In the meantime, if you are not entitled to a NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate you should pay for NHS charges until your appeal has been decided.  Make sure you obtain NHS receipts for any treatment you pay for.  If you become exempt from paying NHS charges after appeal, you can claim a refund of any NHS charges you have paid.  Normally, refunds should be claimed within three months of the charge being paid, but if the appeal takes longer, the refund can still be considered, as long as it is claimed as soon as the outcome of the appeal is known.

Q. What happens if my circumstances change?

A. Inform HM Revenue and Customs of your new circumstances within three months.  They may need to adjust your Tax Credit award.