PARENTS are being urged to act now rather than face fines over child benefit payments.

Under rules introduced last year, about 1.1 million families who include one adult earning more than £50,000 during the 2012/13 tax year must repay part of their child benefit, while those earning more than £60,000 need to repay it all.

Gail Jones, practice manager of TaxAssist Accountants in Bridgwater, said: “This will be the first time many families will have had to file tax returns and it is vital they don’t get caught out.

“They only have until January 31 to file their tax return electronically and it could take up to ten days just to register for online access if this is their first time filing.

Anyone missing the January deadline will be hit with an automatic £100 fine, with further penalties reaching £1,600 for those who file more than a year late.

“The only other option is to opt out of receiving child benefit, in which case you’re not liable for the new tax charge and won’t need to file a tax return for this.