Single Person Child Carer Credit

Introduction

The Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC) is a tax credit for people who are caring for children on their own. It came into effect on 1 January 2014. It replaced the One-Parent Family Tax Credit.

Tax credits reduce the amount of tax that you have to pay. Our document How your income tax is calculated explains how tax credits work.

In general, the SPCCC is given to the person with whom the qualifying child lives for the whole or greater part of the year (more than 6 months) – called the primary claimant. If you are a primary claimant, you can surrender your entitlement to the credit in favour of a secondary claimant, provided the child lives with that person for more than 100 days in a year and the person meets all the other qualifying conditions.

The main difference between the Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC) and the One-Parent Family Credit (OPFTC) is that both parents could claim an OPFTC if the child or children lived with them for part of the year. Only one parent can claim the SPCCC in a tax year.

You can read more about the Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC) on revenue.ie.

Rules

The Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC) can be granted to a primary claimant or a secondary claimant (if it has been surrendered in their favour by a primary claimant).

You cannot claim the SPCCC (as a primary or secondary claimant) if you are:

  • Jointly assessed as a married person or civil partner
  • Married or in a civil partnership (unless separated)
  • Cohabiting

You cannot claim the SPCCC for the year in which you became widowed or a surviving civil partner (the year of bereavement) during which you were in receipt of the basic personal tax credit of €3,300. You can claim the SPCCC in subsequent years if you qualify.

Primary claimant

The primary claimant is the person with whom a qualifying child (see below) or children lives for more than 6 months of the year. The primary claimant must be either the child’s parent or the person who takes care of the child and who maintains the child at his or her own expense for the whole or greater part of the year. If both parents have equal custody (by court order), entitlement to the credit is decided by which parent gets Child Benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. A child who is living away from home while attending college is considered a qualifying child if they are still maintained by the claimant and return home outside of term-time.

Secondary claimant

A primary claimant can surrender (give up) the Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC) in favour of a secondary claimant. A secondary claimant must meet exactly the same conditions except for the condition that the child lives with him or her for the greater part of the year.

The secondary claimant does not need to have legal custody of the qualifying child but must prove that the child lives with them for at least 100 days in the year. For the purpose of this limit a day can include the greater part of a day. So, for example, if a child stays with the secondary claimant from Saturday morning until Sunday evening, this can be counted as 2 days.

Qualifying child

A qualifying child is a child:

  • Who is born in the tax year, or
  • Who is aged under 18 at the start of the tax year, or
  • Who is aged over 18 at the start of the tax year but receiving full-time instruction at any university, college, school or other educational establishment

A qualifying child can also be a person over 18 who is permanently incapacitated - either before age 21 (or after age 21 while they were receiving full-time instruction). There is an additional Incapacitated Child Tax Credit.

The child may be your own child, an adopted child, a stepchild or any child whom you support and maintain at your own expense. This means having day-to-day responsibility for the upbringing of the child and responsibility for his or her charge and care. However, foster children cannot be qualifying children.

Surrendering your entitlement

If you are the primary claimant and you do not wish to claim the credit, you can surrender (give up) your entitlement to the credit. This surrender will remain in place until you withdraw it. You will then have the credit restored to you at the beginning of the following tax year. (For example, if you withdraw your surrender on 15 May 2017, the SPCCC will be restored for tax years 2018 onwards).

Can both parents claim a Single Person Child Carer Credit?

Only one credit for any qualifying child is available to the primary claimant. If you have more than one qualifying child, you can only get one Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC) for those children.

However, if you are a primary claimant with more than one qualifying child and you surrender your entitlement to the SPCCC, 2 or more secondary claimants can claim the credit – provided they are caring for qualified children for more than 100 days in a year. For example, Jack has 2 children, Susan and Joan, and is a qualifying primary claimant. Susan lives with her mother Mary for more than 100 days in a year and Joan lives with her mother Denise for more than 100 days in a year. Children must live with the secondary claimant for at least 100 days in a year. If Jack surrenders his entitlement to the SPCCC, Mary and Denise can each claim a SPCCC (provided they satisfy the other criteria).

Rates

The Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC) is €1,650 in 2017.

A person who gets the SPCCC is also entitled to an €4,000 extension in the standard rate band which increases the rate band from €33,800 to €37,800.

How to apply

You can claim the SPCCC online using Revenue's PAYE Anytime service, which is accessed through Revenue's myAccount service. You can also claim the credit by completing Form SPCC1 (pdf) and sending it to Revenue. However, you cannot surrender the SPCCC to a secondary claimant using PAYE Anytime.

There are some situations where Revenue may not allocate the credit correctly.

  1. If you are a primary claimant and were not allocated the credit but wish to claim it, you should complete Form SPCC1 (pdf) and submit it to your Revenue office.
  2. If you are allocated the credit but are not entitled to it because, for example, the child is not receiving full-time instruction, then you must notify your Revenue office of your change in circumstances as soon as possible and request that the credit be withdrawn.
  3. If you were allocated the credit but wish to surrender it to a secondary claimant, then you should complete Form SPCC1 (pdf), sign the appropriate declaration and submit it to your Revenue office.
  4. If you qualify as a secondary claimant and the primary claimant has surrendered the credit in your favour, then the primary claimant should complete Form SPCC1 (pdf), sign the appropriate declaration and submit it to his or her Revenue office. You should complete Form SPCC2 (pdf) and submit it to your Revenue office.
  5. If you believe you qualify as the primary claimant but the credit has been granted automatically to another individual, you should complete Form SPCC1 (pdf) and submit it to your Revenue office, together with any relevant evidence in support of your claim that the child lives with you for the whole or greater part of the year. The decision on who is the primary claimant will be made on the facts in the case. In the event of a dispute you can appeal Revenue's determination to the Appeal Commissioners.

Remember that, for a secondary claimant to make a claim, in all cases the primary claimant must have surrendered their entitlement to the credit. There is no obligation on the primary claimant to give up the SPCCC.

More information about the Single Person Child Carer Credit is available on Revenue's website.

Further information for people parenting alone

There are additional tax credits for widowed parents.

If you are a separated or divorced parent, more information is available in our documents Separation and divorce: tax credits and reliefs and taxation of maintenance payments.

Where to apply

Apply to Revenue.

Page edited: 23 November 2017