By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants. This column appears in the Pembrokeshire Herald, Carmarthen Herald and Llanelli Herald.
The Government is reminding ‘stressed out parents’ that help may be available for childcare costs during the summer holidays.
According to a YouGov poll, 31% of parents feel stressed trying to arrange childcare for the school holidays.
The poll, for HMRC, also found that around 30% of parents worried about balancing their job and school holiday childcare.
A total of 54% admitted they look forward to their children returning to school in September.
HMRC is reminding working parents with summer childcare costs, that they can use Tax-Free Childcare (TFC), which is worth up to £2,000 per child per year, to pay for regulated holiday clubs during the school holidays.
Parents are advised that it is possible to pay into their account regularly and ‘save up’ their TFC allowance and use it for childcare during school holidays.
The money can go towards a whole range of regulated childcare including nurseries, childminders, before and after school clubs, or holiday clubs.
More than 58,000 registered childcare providers including school, football, art and tennis clubs have signed up across the UK.
Parents can apply for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare at the same time and are encouraged to do so before the end of June in time for next term.
They can then both be used together, with Tax-Free Childcare payments applying to any additional childcare costs over and above the 30 hours support, throughout the year.
Both offers are available to self-employed parents.
Parents can find out what government help is available and apply online by visiting the Childcare Choices website.
This is at – https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/
The Childcare Choices website includes a Childcare Calculator that compares all the government’s childcare offers to check what works best for individual families.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, said:
“Organising childcare for school holidays is important for parents.
“Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare help make things easier by cuttings thousands of pounds from the childcare bills of working parents.’
“So, I hope families across the country visit the Childcare Choices website to take advantage of the offer available from the Government, and enjoy the holidays.”
The Children and Families Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, added:
“We are spending more than any other government on childcare because we want every child to get the best start in life.
“We are supporting as many families as possible with access to high-quality, affordable childcare helping to put more money in their pockets and balancing work and family lives.”
How Tax-Free Childcare works:
Working parents can apply, through the childcare service, to open an online childcare account.
For every £8 that families pay in, the government will make a top-up payment of an additional £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children).
This top up is added instantly and parents can then send electronic payments directly to their childcare providers.
The maximum government top-up is £500 per quarter for each child, or £1,000 if the child is disabled.
All registered childcare providers – whether nannies, nurseries, childminders or after school clubs – can sign up online now to receive parents’ payments through Tax-Free Childcare.
Parents need to sign back in every three months and confirm their details are up to date, to keep getting government top-ups.
Tax-Free Childcare is replacing ‘childcare vouchers’, which is only available to parents if their employer offers it.
Employer-Supported Childcare will be closing to new entrants on 4 October 2018, but parents who are already a member of a scheme will be able to remain in it as long as they remain with their employer and their employer continues to offer it.
The tax and National Insurance exemption for workplace nurseries will remain in place.
Parents moving from Employer-Supported Childcare to Tax-Free Childcare can still use childcare vouchers they’ve previously accrued.
In 2019/20, the Government will spend around £6 billion on childcare support.
Internet link –
There is a short film showing Childcare Choices available on YouTube –
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