If you work and are earning a low income – whether you’re working for someone or self-employed – you may be entitled to extra money in the form of a benefit called Working Tax Credit to help you make ends meet.

When they were first introduced, the aim of tax credits – which include Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit – was to help unemployed people on benefits to return to work. The idea was that if you’d been receiving benefits while you didn’t have a job, you could start work without getting into financial difficulties because you’d had all your benefits withdrawn.

Since their introduction, tax credits have proved beneficial to many families. Indeed, experts believe they are partly responsible for one of the biggest improvements in child poverty seen since the Second World War (the number of children living in poverty fell from 35 per cent of the child population in 1998/99 to 19 per cent in 2012/13).

The following help-sheet gives practical guidance on are you eligible, calculating Working Tax Credit, applying for Working Tax Credit and appealing as well as details of where you can go if you need further information.