Help with Childcare Costs

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Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours Free Childcare

Introduction.

Tax-Free Childcare (available now) and 30 hours free childcare (available from September 2017, subject to session availability) are two separate government schemes, to help parents with the cost of childcare. Parents can apply for both through one online application – the childcare service.

To qualify for either scheme, parents must be working and each earning at least £120 a week (on average) and not more than £100,000 each a year.
Parents can use Tax-Free Childcare alongside the 15 and 30 hours free childcare schemes.

Parents can't use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as they receive childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits. However, but 30 hours free childcare can be received alongside these schemes.

Parents will be considered for both these services through the same application. They will only be asked to decide which support they want if they are on tax credits or using a childcare voucher or salary sacrifice scheme.

Check out the following websites:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-free-childcare-10-things-parents-should-know

https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/

Tax-Free Childcare.

Parents will be able to open a new childcare account. For every £8 a parent pays into their childcare account, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can get up to £2,000 government support per child per year towards their childcare costs. They can then use this money to pay Micklefield.

Thus parents will be able to pay Micklefield directly from their childcare account as Micklefield has signed up to Tax-Free Childcare. While parents can’t make payments using both Tax-Free Childcare and childcare vouchers, Micklefield is able to receive payments from both schemes.

Parents are usually eligible if all of the following apply:

Your child:

  • Is under 12, or 17 if they're registered as having a disability.
  • Usually lives with you.

You (and your partner, if relevant):

  • Are 16 or over.
  • Live or work in the UK.
  • Are employed or self-employed.
  • Are over 21 and earn on average at least £120 a week, (unless in your first year of self-employment). (Different rates apply for parents under 21 or an apprentice).
  • Earn less than £100,000 a year each.
  • Don't get other support with your childcare, including from a childcare voucher or salary sacrifice scheme.

You may also be eligible if you have a partner, and one of you gets any of the following benefits:

  • Carers Allowance.
  • Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Incapacity Benefit.
  • Severe Disablement Benefit.

Parents will be able to pay money electronically into their childcare account as and when they like, which is then used to pay Micklefield. Money can also be taken out of the account.

Parents can pay in as much money as they want to build up a balance to use at time when they need to pay for childcare.
Grandparents, other family members and employers can also pay into the account.

Each child will have a unique reference, which will allow Micklefield to link payments received from the parent’s childcare account to the child concerned.

30 hours free childcare.

All 3 and 4-year-olds in England already get 15 hours a week, or 570 hours a year of free early education. If their parents are living and working in England, 3 and 4-year-olds may be entitled to 30 hours free childcare. An extra 570 hours of free childcare a year, so 1,140 hours in total. The eligibility criteria are the same as the ones for Tax-Free Childcare, except you can continue to get these types of support at the same time as 30 hours free childcare:

  • Tax credits.
  • Universal Credit.
  • Childcare vouchers or salary sacrifice schemes.
  • Childcare grants and bursaries.

When you apply, you'll be confirming that you need childcare, so that you and your partner (if relevant), can work.

Accessing the childcare service as a parent.

Parents can either apply for Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours free childcare by signing into a on-line childcare service account. It's one single application where eligibility for both can be checked.
Completing the application should take around 20 minutes.

Before starting.

Micklefield has signed up as a Tax-Free Childcare provider (but currently only a third of nurseries have), and is able to offer 30 hours free childcare (subject to session availability).
Make sure you have for you, and your partner (if relevant):

  • Your National Insurance number.
  • If you're self-employed, your Unique Taxpayer Reference.
  • The date you started, or are due to start work.
  • Details of any other government support you get.

Children are at the heart of everything we do.

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