Almost a third of families affected by George Osborne’s raid on child benefit have not been formally warned that they will no longer be eligible for the handout, which will be means-tested from next Monday.
As a result, more than 300,000 people will have to come forward and begin completing complex tax returns for the year ending this April — or face fines running into hundreds of pounds a year.
HM Revenue and Customs has informed 784,000 families that they must either stop claiming child benefit by this weekend or pay a new tax to cover the cost of the payments.
More than 160,000 people have already opted not to receive payouts. However, the Government admits that more than 1.1 million families will be affected by the change, meaning that at least another 316,000 have not yet been contacted by the tax authorities.