As a working mum myself, I appreciate how hard life can be. There simply isn’t enough time to take the kids to nursery, run the house, get the husband ‘on point’ with the day’s domestic issues ….. let alone run a business. And there is support out there from the state, but it’s a nightmare to figure out what is the best solution for you. However, if you choose the wrong solution, or worse still sit on your hands and do nothing, it could be the difference between going or not going on a family holiday next year…..
So, what are the basic options:
15 Hours free childcare - Yep, this has been around for ages and is available for 3 to 4 year olds.
30 Hours free childcare - This is an additional 570 hours of free childcare a year, also for 3 to 4 year olds; if you and your partner earn at least £120 per week and each earn less than £100,000 (but crucially your nursery or childminder must participate in the scheme)
And then there is a choice in addition to the above which is one of the following:
up to £2,000 tax free childcare per child under 12 per year via an online account with HMRC. This is applicable for:
all registered childminders, nurseries and nannies
registered after-school clubs and playschemes
home careworkers working for a registered home care agency
so, in the majority of situations this benefit should be available to you. The main caveat is that your provider must have registered for the scheme.
As per the 30 hours free childcare, it is available if you and your partner earn at least £120 per week and each earn less than £100,000
up to £933 a year in tax and National Insurance savings per working adult subject to your nursery or childminder accepting the vouchers.
So if you haven’t done so it’s almost definitely worth your while reviewing your options as there might be a better option than childcare vouchers? Childcare vouchers to new joiners are being removed from May 2018.
You may have heard that there have been technical issues with the Tax Free Childcare Scheme, but I can report that for both myself and a select band of close friends that this ‘online saving account’ is working effectively and the tax relief appears almost immediately. Furthermore, our nursery hasn’t complained either so one less thing for us to worry about.
Right I’d better go now, nursery calls once again ….. now where has my youngest put our car keys this time?
By Matthew Cove
17th September 2017