HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has issued an alert to people born between between September 1, 2002 and January 2, 2011 that they may have a Child Trust Fund account that they didn’t know about. Young people whose dates of birth fall within these dates may unknowingly be missing out on thousands of pounds.

Child Trust Funds are long-term tax-free savings accounts for children born between the above dates who would be between the ages of 12 and 21 right now. The government puts forward an initial deposit of £250 and families have been able to continue to top it up with as much as £9,000 per year.

Money that is paid into the account belongs to the child but they can only take it out when they reach 18, although they can take control of the account at age 16, reports YorkshireLive. Once they turn 18 no more money can be added to the account, but it can be withdrawn or transferred into an adult ISA and the Child Trust Fund will then close.

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But until your child withdraws or transfers the money, it will remain in an account that no one else has access to. HMRC says that almost 430,000 people aged between 18 and 21 still have money sitting in an unclaimed Child Trust Fund without realising and the account could be worth around £2,000.

The government is now urging everyone born between the qualifying dates to check if they have a stash of money waiting to be claimed. In a post on X (formerly Twitter ), HMRC said: “Were you born between 1 Sep 2002 and 2 Jan 2011? Check if you have forgotten savings in a Child Trust Fund – worth around £2,000 on average (T&Cs apply).”

Currently, there are 5.3 million open Child Trust Fund accounts and more than 500,000 matured accounts have been claimed or transferred into an ISA since the oldest children on the scheme turned 18 in September 2020. To track one down you can contact the fund provider directly if you know who the account is with, or if not, you can ask your parent or guardian.

You can also ask HMRC to find a trust fund and they can tell you where the account was originally opened. To do this you must be:

  • a parent or guardian of a child under 18

  • 16 or over and looking for your own trust fund

You’ll be asked to provide your National Insurance number and, if you’re a parent or guardian looking for a child’s trust fund, you’ll need:

  • the child’s full name, address and date of birth

  • any previous names you or the child have used

You should get a letter with details of the Child Trust Fund provider within three weeks of HMRC receiving your request. If you don’t you can write to the government department and include your reference number if you have one.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Second Permanent Secretary and Deputy Chief Executive, said: “Many 18-21 year olds are starting out in first jobs or apprenticeships, starting university or moving into their first home and their Child Trust Fund is a pot of money with their name on. I would encourage young people to use the online tool to track it down or, for parents of teenagers, to speak to them to ensure they’re aware of their Child Trust Fund. It could make a real difference to their future plans.”

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