Tax-free childcare opens for children under nine

Nursery, childcare, childminder

 

Tax-Free Childcare has opened to parents whose youngest child is under nine, or who turns nine today.

HMRC says the scheme will open to all remaining eligible families with children under 12 on 14th February.

Parents, including the self-employed, can apply online for Tax-Free Childcare by visiting Childcare Choices. Parents can also access the government’s childcare calculator through Childcare Choices, which helps parents to choose which government childcare support is best for them.

Tax-free childcare is a system whereby parents pay upfront into an online childcare account and claim back up to 20% of the cost from the Government. The roll-out has been delayed since the system was first launched last April for children under six.  Initially the government said it would be rolled out to under 12s in 2017.

The government says more than 170,000 now have a Tax-Free Childcare account.

However, many parents have complained about problems accessing the support. The Pre-School Learning Alliance says the Government needs to address the IT problems.

It states: “This is an IT system meant to support a flagship government policy and yet, more than eight months after its launch, we are still hearing reports of parents who cannot do the simplest things – from applying or re-applying for the tax-free childcare and 30 hours schemes, to simply accessing their online accounts.
“This is understandably causing much anger and frustration, something not helped by the government’s insistence that all is fine with the website despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary.
“The government must get a grip on this problem once and for all, and ensure that the system it is asking parents to use is actually fit for purpose.”




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