Tax-free childcare rolled out to parents of under 12s

School, Education


The Government has rolled out its tax-free childcare scheme to children under 12 from today.

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 Pre-School Learning Alliance welcomed the roll-out, but it said it was concerned about ongoing technical problems with the website where parents sign up for the childcare support.
Neil Leitch of the Alliance said: “With more and more parents now signing up to the Childcare Service website to access either tax-free childcare, the 30 hours or both, having a functional and reliable IT system is vital – and yet, months after the site’s launch, we are still receiving regular reports of parents struggling to access or use their online childcare accounts. This simply isn’t acceptable.
“The government must address this as a matter of urgency and ensure that the system underpinning two of its flagship childcare schemes is actually fit for purpose.”

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