After many years of delays and uncertainty the tax free childcare began to roll out on 28 April 2017. The scheme allows parents to pay into an online account, the amount paid in is then topped up by 25% by the government so an £80 payment is topped up by £20. These funds can be used to pay for:
• Registered childminders, nurseries and nannies
• Registered after-school clubs and play schemes
• Registered schools
• Home care workers working for a registered homecare agency.
Initially, the scheme is only open to parents with a child under the age of two, however, by the end of the year the scheme will be open to all working parents across the UK with children under 12, or under 17, if disabled.
The maximum amount that can be topped up in any year from the government is £2,000 per child, or £4,000 if the child id disabled. To qualify for the scheme the parent must be working and earning at least £115 per week to qualify. If either parent earns in excess of £100,000 they will be ineligible for the scheme.
If a parent is currently in receipt of Child Care Vouchers through their employer, they cannot also be enrolled in the tax-free childcare scheme.