High Income Child Benefit Charge

This Content Was Last Updated on March 9, 2024 by Jessica Garbett


The High Income Child Benefit Charge came in from 1 January 2013, thresholds were increased from April 2024.

At its simplest the charge applies:

  1. Where there has been a claim to Child Benefit
  2. To the highest income in a joint household (married, unmarried or civil partnership); or to a individual who is a single parent
  3. Where the highest income exceeds £60,000 (2023/24 and earlier years £50,000)

This means:

  1. In a single parent household it cuts in at £60,000 income
  2. In a two parent household where only one parent has a income it cuts in at £60,000

Theoretically in a two parent household where both parents have income joint household income could be as high as £199,998 without a charge – although in reality it would cut in lower unless the incomes were equally matched.

Obviously the effect of (c) means that structuring joint assets is of importance. Eg historically if you had a joint income stream, from a investment or business, producing, say £100,000 pa, the main concern would be to make sure both partners used their basic rate tax allowance, but you wouldn’t worry if one person had income of £60,000 and the other £40,000; now, all other things being equal, you would prefer £50,000 for each.  Obviously there is only a limited scope for adjustments of this nature.

The High Income Child Benefit Charge itself is 1% of Child Benefit received for each £200 of income over £60,000 (2023/24 and earlier 1% for each £100 of income over £50,000).

EG: if the highest income was £65,000, and child benefit received was £1,331 (which is the 20234/25 annualised rate for one child) then the charge would be:

  • £5,000 of excess income at 2% per £100 = 25%
  • £1,331 x 25% = £333

The effect of the tapering is to clawback the Child Benefit progressively between £60,000 and £80,000 of income (as at £80,000 the clawback percentage at 1%/£200 would be 100%).  For 2023/24 and earlier years, clawback was between £50,000 and £60,000.

Specific rules cater for households coming together and separating in year, claims to Child Benefit that start or finish in year, and to situations of guardians / absent parents. These are beyond the scope of this briefing note.

The main planning point for clients is ensuring that joint income is allocated as efficiently as possible. As always this needs to be a rounded consideration, taking into account Tax, NI, asset ownership, estate planning and other variables.