HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is reminding thousands of parents and families in Northern Ireland not to miss out on financial support that can help pay for childcare during the summer holidays.
Through Tax-Free Childcare, families can receive up to £2,000 a year per child – or £4,000 if their child is disabled – to put towards the cost of childcare. And it is available for children aged up to 11, or 17 if the child has a disability. The money can help towards the cost of holiday clubs, before and after-school clubs, childminders and nurseries, and other approved childcare schemes.
The government will pay 20% of childcare costs by topping up the money paid into a Tax-Free Childcare account. This means for every £8 paid into the online account, families will automatically receive an additional £2 in government top-up.
More than 9,070 families in Northern Ireland used Tax-Free Childcare in March 2022 – the highest number of families recorded using the scheme since it was launched in April 2017 – but thousands more could be missing out. Research published earlier this year by HMRC estimated that about 1.3 million families could be eligible for this government support.
Parents and carers are being urged find out more about Tax-Free Childcare via the Childcare Choices website.
Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said:
“Tax-Free Childcare can make a big difference to families, helping with the bills for things like holiday clubs, nurseries, childminders and after school clubs. It’s easy to register – search ‘Tax-Free Childcare’ on GOV.UK.”
Helen Whately, HM Treasury’s Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“Tax-Free Childcare helps families with the cost of childcare bills but we know that thousands of parents could be missing out.
“That is why I’m encouraging families to sign up now and save on childcare costs.
“There are lots of fantastic holiday clubs and childcare providers to help working parents during the upcoming summer holidays, so now is the time to take advantage of this support.”
For thousands of families who use Tax-Free Childcare, the money they save each month on their childcare costs is money that goes back into their pockets. Accounts can be opened at any time of the year and can be used straight away, and money can be deposited at any time and used when needed. Any unused money that is deposited can be simply withdrawn at any time.
Caroline from Portsmouth uses Tax-Free Childcare to help pay for her children’s after school and holiday clubs and explains why she uses it. Caroline said:
“I’m a busy working mum with two children and I find Tax-Free Childcare is easy and straight-forward to use. I go on to the system every month and set the amount I need to pay to my childcare provider. The financial support definitely helps but I also like the flexibility and how Tax-Free Childcare helps me budget for my childcare costs.”
With the school summer holidays approaching, it is more important than ever that parents and carers are able to access the financial aid they qualify for. It can reduce their costs, help them to stay in work, or help them work more hours.
More than one million families in the UK are entitled to some form of government childcare support and the government is encouraging those eligible to not miss out on their entitlements. Families can find out what childcare support is best for them via Childcare Choices.
To ensure that parents get the childcare support they are entitled to, the government is launching an awareness raising advertising campaign this week.