Tax-Free Childcare opens to all parents with children under 12

16 February 2018

From 14 February 2018 Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) opens to all remaining eligible working parents with children under 12 can apply for up to £2,000 of childcare support per child, per year (up to £4,000 for disabled children).

HMRC has been gradually rolling out Tax-Free Childcare since April 2017 and now all eligible parents can apply.

For every £8 parents pay into their childcare account the government will add an extra £2. Once eligible parents have opened their new account they can start paying their childcare provider straightaway, using the government contribution.

More than 190,000 parents have successfully applied and now have a Tax-Free Childcare account they can use to pay for a wide range of regulated childcare, including nurseries, childminders, after school or holiday clubs. Parents in England can also apply for 30 hours free childcare through the service and more than 340,000 families have successfully done so.

CIPP comment

Parents will not be able to simultaneously receive support from both Employer-Supported Childcare (ESC) and TFC.

Parents who wish to remain in ESC will be able to, while their current employer continues to offer the voucher scheme. There is no obligation to switch to TFC; however existing voucher schemes will be closed to new applicants from April 2018.

And, as highlighted in the latest Employer Bulletin:

Tax-Free Childcare will eventually replace the existing ‘childcare voucher’ scheme; parents can still join an Employer-Supported Childcare scheme as long as they receive a childcare voucher before 5 April 2018. Parents who want to continue using childcare vouchers after April 2018 will be able to, whilst their current employer continues to offer the voucher scheme.

Parents can use the online childcare calculator on GOV.UK or by visiting the Childcare Choices website to weigh up which offer is best for them.

For more information about Tax-Free Childcare and how it interacts with Employer-Supported Childcare, see HMRC’s online guidance.”