You may have heard about the new online Tax- Free Childcare government scheme starting in early 2017 for parents and childcarers.
It might sound too good to be true but it really is happening. Now here are some facts that you will need to know before you make the right decision for you.
How do I know if I am eligible to use this scheme?
In order to be eligible to use this service you must be one of the following and meet the criteria:
– Parent/s– You will need to be in work and earning around £115 a week and no more than £100,000 each per year (any eligible working family can apply, employer does not have to offer the scheme, like the current one)
– Child Carer– You must be a registered with a regulator to receive Tax-Free Childcare payments (Throughout September and October 2016 letters were sent to regulated and approved childcarers across the UK, asking you to sign up to the Tax-Free Childcare)
Information for Child Carers:
To register with a regulator can take up to 12 weeks. In order to do this, the regulator will need your current address and email address, without these you will not be invited to sign up for Tax-Free Childcare. However should you of provided these details and not received an invitation then you can call the childcare service helpline on 0300 123 4097
Once registered parents will be able to see that you have signed up for Tax-Free Childcare, using a new digital tool which will allow parents to search for childcarers who can be paid using Tax-Free Childcare.
You will also need to provide your bank details so that parents can directly pay you into your bank account (via BACS) using their Tax-Free Childcare account. So that you can identify each payment each child will have a Tax-Free Childcare reference number.
Nannies – In order to sign up you will also need to provide your National Insurance number, this can be found on your P60, payslip or letters from the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
Running a Business – To sign up you will need to use your 10-digit Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number. This is the number given to you by HMRC when you first said you were going to work for yourself.
For assistance, you can call the childcare service helpline on 0300 123 4097
Information for Parents:
For every 80p you or someone else pays in, the government will top it up with an extra 20p. This works out as the equivalent most people pay in tax (20%) which is why the scheme has its name tax-free. The government will top up the account with 20% pf childcare costs up to a total of £10,000 – the equivalent of up to £2,000 support per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children)
You will be able to make payments into the account as and when you like, allowing for more flexibility. This means you will be able to build up your balance and use it as and when you need too. If other family members or employers want to pay into the account they can. You can also withdraw money from the account if you want. If your circumstances change or you simply no longer wish to use the scheme then you can do so.
The scheme will be available for children up to 12 years or 17 years for disabled children, as their childcare costs can remain high throughout their teenage years.
You will be able to open an online account through the government website (gov.co.uk) All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017. The youngest child can be applied for first.
Parents on paid sick leave paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave will also be able to use the scheme.
If you are already receiving the current Employer-Supported Childcare then you do not have to switch. This scheme will continue to run and be open to new applicants until April 2018. Employers’ workplace nurseries will not be affected by the new scheme.
Self-employed Parents – This Tax-Free Childcare scheme is also available to you, not like the current one. To support newly self-employed parents the government are introducing a ‘start-up’ period. During this, you will not have to be earning the minimum amount.
To keep the process simple for all parents you may need to re-confirm your details every 3 months via a simple online process. You will also be able to view the accounts for all of the children at once.
More information will be available once the scheme is closer to release, allowing parents to consider all their childcare options.
Information for All:
Costs that are usually covered by the parents (employers):
– Common Core Skills and Knowledge Course (HATA run this for £75 non-accredited or £89 with accreditation from OCN)
– OFSTED Registration (£105 as of 06/12/2016)
Costs that are covered by the child care (employee):
– Paediatric First Aid Course (HATA run this for £75)
– Valid and up to date DBS (formerly CRB Check) HATA offer this for £70