Recent statistics show that the take-up of the new scheme has been low, not helped by widely-reported technical issues soon after the scheme was launched.
So what does the scheme offer – and can you take advantage of it?
Under the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, for every 80p you put into your online account, the government will add 20p.
In total you can use the scheme to help pay for up to £10,000 of childcare per child each year – giving you an extra £2,000 per child (up to £4,000 if your child has disabilities).
Tax-Free Childcare is open to all qualifying parents, unlike the old Childcare Vouchers scheme offered by some companies. It is open to all working parents, including those who are self-employed, with children up to the age of 11 (or 17 if your children have disabilities)
You can get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as 30 hours free childcare if you are eligible for both. However, you won’t be able to get the tax-free childcare if you already get Universal Credits.
To qualify, you and your partner, need to be working and earning a minimum of £131 a week, and a maximum of £100,000 a year. If one of you does not work, then you are not able to claim.
Tax-Free Childcare can be used to pay for activities by any regulated childcare provider who has registered with the Scheme, and this may include holiday and after-school clubs as well as the more obvious nurseries etc, so it is worth checking who is covered in your local area.
If you are eligible for the scheme, then you need to create an online childcare account via the Government Tax-Free Childcare site. You then pay the money into this account, and transfer funds from there to pay your childcare provider.
So even if you do not regularly use childcare, it is worth checking if any provider that you do use is signed up to the scheme, and if you could be saving money by setting up an account.
For more information, please contact Rosie Forsyth at Wilkins & Co.