Half-term help with childcare costs in the UK

The UK government agency HMRC wants to remind parents that they might qualify for Tax-Free Childcare (TFC), a program designed to assist with the costs of childcare. This includes funding for holiday clubs during the February half-term break and additional care outside of school hours.

The TFC scheme is available to parents with children up to 11 years old (or 17 years old for children with certain disabilities). It aims to support working families by helping them cover childcare expenses. There are numerous registered childcare providers, such as childminders, breakfast and after school clubs, and approved play schemes, available throughout the country. Parents can regularly contribute money to their TFC account and save it to use during school holidays.

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how does the tax-free childcare scheme work?

Under the TFC scheme, the government adds money to the contributions made by parents. For every £8 that parents contribute, the government provides an additional £2, up to a maximum of £10,000 per child per year. This allows parents to save up to £2,000 per child annually (or up to £4,000 for disabled children until the age of 17) on childcare costs.

The TFC scheme is accessible to all eligible parents, including those who are self-employed or earning minimum wage. It is also available to parents on paid sick leave, as well as those on paid or unpaid statutory maternity, paternity, and adoption leave. To qualify for the scheme, parents must be employed for at least 16 hours per week and earn at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage. However, if either parent earns more than £100,000, both parents are ineligible for the scheme.

The Director General for Customer Services at HMRC encourages working families to take advantage of Tax-Free Childcare to stretch their money further. To find out more about the program and how it can benefit you, you can search for ‘Tax-Free Childcare’ on the GOV.UK website.

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