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Don’t miss out on new childcare offers

Wednesday 2nd August 2017

If you qualify for 30 hours' free childcare, it is crucial in the weeks before September that you bring your eligibility codes to your childcare providers. If you don't, you may miss out on a September place.

What is the 30 hours' free childcare offer?

From September 2017, working families of three and four year olds will be entitled to an extra 15 hours of free childcare. This is on top of the existing 15 hours of free early education for all parents of three and four year olds and some two year olds. The 30 hours free childcare offer is worth around £5,000 per child.

We have produced a new webpage on eligibility for the new 30 hours free childcare offer.

The website https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/par/app/applynow allows parents to apply for the government's new childcare offers, as well as providing details of existing government childcare offers. You can also read about the different options at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/ 

Tax-free childcare scheme

In April, the government introduced a new tax-free childcare scheme  - cutting childcare costs for working families across the UK by up to £2,000 per child per year, or £4,000 for disabled children.

Initially the scheme was open only to families with a disabled child or to families with at least one child aged under four on 31/8/17. However, it will be rolled out to other families during 2017. 

Despite its name, this new system has nothing to do with the tax system. Instead, parents can open an online account, which they will use to pay for registered or approved childcare. For every £8 you pay into your child's account, the government will add a top up payment of £2.

Normally the maximum that the government will contribute is £2,000 per child per year, assuming you contribute £8,000. However, if a child is disabled, the maximum government contribution increases to £4,000 per year, assuming the parent contributes £16,000.

Warning! - If you access tax-free childcare, you cannot get any tax credits or Universal Credit. This means all of your tax credits/Universal Credit stops, and not just any payments you get towards childcare.

In most cases you will be better off getting tax credits or Universal Credit, so make sure you get advice before applying for tax-free childcare