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 replaced the One-Parent Family Tax Credit in 2014.

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.

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

In general, the SPCCC is given to the person who lives with the qualifying child 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.

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

If you are cohabiting, you cannot claim the SPCCC for the year in which you stop living together.

You cannot claim the SPCCC for the year in which you become widowed or a surviving civil partner (the year of bereavement).

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 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 either:

  • Born in the tax year
  • Aged under 18 at the start of the tax year
  • Aged over 18 at the start of the tax year but in full-time education

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 their charge and care. However, foster children cannot be qualifying children.

Surrendering your entitlement

If you are the primary claimant and you do not want 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 2022, the SPCCC will be restored for the tax years 2023 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.

A person who gets the SPCCC is also entitled to an €4,000 extension in the standard rate tax band.

How to apply

If you are the primary claimant, you can claim the SPCCC online using the Revenue myAccount service. You can also claim the credit by completing Form SPCC1 (pdf) and sending it to Revenue.

If you pay tax under the self-assessment system, you claim the SPCCC through Revenue Online Service (ROS) on your Income Tax Return (Form 11).

You cannot surrender the SPCCC to a secondary claimant online. You must use Form SPCC1 (pdf).

If the primary claimant has given up their claim, you can claim SPCCC as a secondary claimant by completing Form SPCC2 (pdf).

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

  • If you are a primary claimant and were not allocated the credit but want to claim it, you should complete Form SPCC1 (pdf) and submit it to your Revenue office.
  • If you are allocated the credit but are not entitled to it because, for example, the child is not in full-time education, then you must notify your Revenue office of your change in circumstances as soon as possible and request that the credit be withdrawn.
  • If you were allocated the credit but want 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.
  • If you qualify as a secondary claimant and the primary claimant has surrendered the credit to you, then the primary claimant should complete Form SPCC1 (pdf), sign the appropriate declaration and submit it to their Revenue office. You should complete Form SPCC2 (pdf) and submit it to your Revenue office.
  • If you believe you qualify as the primary claimant but the credit has been granted automatically to another person, you should complete Form SPCC1 (pdf) and submit it to your Revenue office. You should also include 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. If there is 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.

Page edited: 4 January 2022