Tax-free childcare and 30 hours free childcare during the Pandemic

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To help make sure critical workers can continue to access the childcare they need to enable them to work, even if their circumstances have changed during the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Government have made some temporary changes.

The changes may affect you if you, or someone you live with, are:

  • on furlough
  • not able to work or you are working less
  • self-employed
  • a critical worker

If you are on furlough:

If your employer has no work for you they might be able to keep you on the payroll and put you on temporary leave instead. This is known as being put ‘on furlough’ and you are paid 80% of wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

You should apply, or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account, if your wage, and your partner’s wage if you have one, is:

  • at least the National Minimum Wage for 16 hours a week
  • below the normal minimum income requirement, but you would normally expect to meet the income requirement

If you are not able to work or you are working less

You should apply or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account if you are:

  • getting sick pay or statutory sick pay (SSP) – time spent on sick pay or SSP will count as working and meeting the minimum income requirement
  • taking unpaid leave to care for others, such as your children - if you expect your income to meet the minimum income requirement (at least the National Minimum Wage for 16 hours a week) after coronavirus
  • living with someone who has coronavirus - you must stay at home - if you expect your income to meet the minimum income agreement (at least the National Minimum Wage for 16 hours a week) after coronavirus
  • working less, your hours have been reduced and your wage:
  • meets the minimum earnings requirement
  • is below the normal minimum earnings requirement but you would normally expect to earn above it

If you are self-employed

You should apply or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account if you are:

continuing to work, and your earnings:

  • are above the minimum earnings requirement
  • are below the normal minimum earnings requirement but you would normally expect to earn above it

not able to get work because of coronavirus:

  • you may be eligible to claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - payments made to you through the scheme will count as earnings
  • and you are not eligible for self-employed income support but would expect to earn at least the minimum income requirement

If you are claiming Universal Credit

If you are now claiming Universal Credit and were getting:

  • Tax-Free Childcare, you cannot apply or reconfirm for Tax-Free Childcare - if you stop claiming Universal Credit you can apply for Tax-Free Childcare again
  • 30 hours free childcare, and you meet the revised minimum income requirement or would expect to normally, you should apply or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account

If you missed the 31 March deadline

If you have missed the application or reconfirmation deadline for 30 hours free childcare, you should apply or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account. Local authorities will be able to extend the validity dates on 30 hours codes for eligible critical worker parents during the summer term.

If you are a critical worker and If you are working more

If you are a critical worker you may have exceeded the maximum income threshold of £100,000 per year - If this is because of increased hours as a direct result of coronavirus, you will still be eligible for 30 hours and Tax-Free Childcare for the current tax year.

Find out about temporary changes that may affect you if you are applying for, or already getting, Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours free childcare here.

If you require any further information please contact our tax manager Nick Charnley on 01244 343504.