HMRC urges Britons to check if they can get £1,200 boost via ‘very attractive' scheme

HMRC logo on letter

HMRC is urging low-income households to check if they can apply for Help to Save

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 06/11/2023

- 16:59

Updated: 07/11/2023

- 14:29

New figures show almost 450,000 people have opened an account in the past five years

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urging individuals to check to see if they can benefit from a generous savings scheme which offers up to £1,200.

Recipients of the scheme, known as Help to Save, have received £146million in bonus payments since it launched in September 2018.

The latest figures show that almost 450,000 customers opened a Help to Save account between September 2018 and March 2023.

Almost £372.5million was paid into these accounts during that period.

Money in pictures

Help to Save account holders can put up to £50 per calendar month in the account


The scheme offers qualifying low-income earners a 50 per cent bonus payment worth up to £1,200 over a maximum of four years.

Victoria Todd, Head of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, said: “For those who are able to take part, the Help to Save account is a very attractive savings scheme, especially when the saver is able to maximise their bonuses.

“They can do this by paying in the maximum amount each month and making no withdrawals.

“Those who are eligible can still get bonus payments, even if they can’t save the maximum. That is why we recently welcomed the extension of the scheme to April 2025.”

Customers can check if they are eligible and open an account – which takes less than five minutes – on or via the HMRC app.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: “Hundreds of thousands of people are benefitting from Help to Save.

“It’s a great way of saving whatever you can and the government will top up your savings by 50 per cent.

“It’s quick and easy to apply online or via the HMRC app. Just search ‘Help to Save’ on GOV.UK to find out more and apply today.”

Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst at interactive investor, warned that for those struggling to make ends meet, saving isn't always an option.

He said: “On paper, Help to Save is a great initiative to help instil a culture of savings among the nation’s most cash-strapped individuals. But for those who’ve felt the full force of cost of living squeeze, the priority has been to stay above the breadline.

“If you are on a low income, the problem is that you have little, if anything, to spare to save at the end of the month. Many people make the mistake of trying to save when they are in debt, and yet the cost of debt for most usually vastly outweighs the gain of saving.

“For those who can afford it, a 50 per cent savings bonus is too good a carrot to pass up. Those on a low income should consider whether saving is a priority if it would mean they would have difficulty meeting outstanding debt commitments, particularly priority debts such as council tax, as a result.

"In a perfect world, everyone would have at least three-to-six months’ worth of essential outgoings in savings.”

Would you like a financial expert to answer your savings query? Get in touch by emailing the money team at

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People on Universal Credit can open a Help to Save account provided they meet the earnings criteria


Who is eligible for Help to Save?

A person can open a Help to Save account if they get:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit and are entitled to Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit and they (with their partner, if it is a joint claim) had take-home pay of £722.45 or more in their last monthly assessment period.

Savers can pay between £1 and £50 into the account each month, although there isn’t a requirement to pay money in each month.

Account holders will earn an extra 50 pence for every £1 saved over the four years they can have the account.

The bonuses are paid in the second and fourth years of the account being opened and the bonus payment will apply to the highest amount saved within the period.

Savers who deposit the maximum amount of £2,400 in the account will get a bonus of £1,200 from the government.

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