Just ahead of the launch of the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme at the end of April 2017, parents can now find learn about the options they have for childcare support at ChildcareChoices.gov.uk.
The headline scheme, delayed from its original launch schedule of early late 2015 provides an online childcare account that parents fund. For every 80 pence funded, the government adds 20 pence. The maximum amount of government contribution to the account is capped to £2,000 (or £4,000 for disabled children) per child.
There are a variety of childcare support options available and many parents may be unclear on what they are eligible for. The new website aims to help clarify this.
Childcare options include:
15 hours per week of free childcare or early education (Age 2)
For parents of 2 year old children receiving some form of support (income support, JSA, tax credits).
15 hours per week of free childcare or early education (Age 3 - 4)
All parents are eligible.
Extra 15 hours per week of free childcare (Age 3 - 4)
A total of 30 hours per week of free childcare. For working parents, earning less than £100,000 per year but more than £120 per week.
Tax-free childcare via online top-up account (Under Age 12) (Under Age 17 is disabled)
For every £8 contributed, the government adds £2. Up to a maximum of £2,000 per child (or £4,000 per disabled child). Available for working parents, including the self employed.
Childcare tax credit (Under Age 16) (Under Age 17 is disabled)
Covers up to 70 percent of childcare costs for working parents claiming working tax credit. Maximum claim on £122.50 per week for one child or £210 per week for two or more.
Childcare universal credit (Under Age 16)
Covers up to 85 percent of childcare costs for working parents claiming working tax credit. Maximum claim on £646 per month for one child or £1,108 per month for two or more.
Childcare vouchers (Under Age 16) (Under Age 17 is disabled)
An employer based scheme, this allows parents to join a voucher scheme via their employer and receive up to £933 per year in tax savings. The scheme is still open for new applicants until April 2018 - but those already registered in a scheme can continue to use vouchers after that date.
Additional support is also available for parents requiring childcare whilst they are studying.