As long as the childcare you use is registered and your children are aged 15 or under (16 or under if they have a disability), you may be able to receive the childcare element of Working Tax Credit to help with the costs of both after school clubs and holiday playschemes even if the childcare is only for a short period during the school holidays.
You don’t give the age of your children, but all schools offering out of school clubs are registered and inspected by Ofsted if the children are under eight years old and if the club is open for more than two hours a day for six or more days in any year. Similarly, holiday playschemes which care for children under the age of 8 are required to be registered. However, clubs who only cater for children aged 8 and over are not required to be registered but may choose to register on the voluntary part of the Ofsted Childcare Register if they want to be eligible childcare providers for Tax Credits. If your children are all over the age of 8, you would need to check that any childcare provider you are using is on the voluntary part of the register.
Help with childcare costs through Working Tax Credit will be dependent on your income, how many hours you work and your childcare costs. Contact the Tax Credit helpline on 0845 300 3900 to find out if you are eligible to make a claim. You can claim the childcare element as soon as you start paying childcare costs. You must also tell them as soon as you stop using the childcare to avoid being overpaid tax credits, which you will have to pay back. Once you have started paying childcare costs, you should make a claim within three months, as they cannot credit you for any costs you have paid before that.
If you are already receiving help with your childcare costs through Working Tax Credit for after school care, and you are going to use a holiday playscheme, make sure you let the Tax Credit office know if your costs are going to increase by more than £10 for at least four consecutive weeks during school holidays.
Ask your children’s school about any activities they are running in the holiday period, alternatively, contact your local Family Information Service – you can find their contact details on www.childcarelink.gov.uk
or by calling 0800 234 6346. They will also be able to provide you with details of other holiday schemes in your area.