Childcare Vouchers vs Tax-Free Childcare

Do you offer the childcare voucher scheme to your team ? The current tax-free scheme has proven very popular with working parents, allowing them to earn up to £55 per week in childcare vouchers. The scheme will soon be replaced by a new government initiative meaning that there are a few things that you, as a business owner, will need to consider.

You are still able to offer the current scheme to any eligible employees if they sign up before October 4, 2018. However, it is advised that you encourage your team to apply as soon as possible, as they must have received the first set of vouchers before the cut-off date. Alternatively, you could take this opportunity to stop your involvement in the scheme altogether. Whichever way you decide to proceed, it is vital that you inform your employees appropriately.

After the cut-off date, employees will only be eligible for the government led programme, which requires no input from yourself. The new scheme will require team members to deposit funds into an account on the HMRC website where the government will also contribute up to £2000 per child, per year.

The new scheme: what is Tax-Free Childcare?

The new scheme will be open to single parents/couples who work eight or more hours a week (including self-employed individuals), and who pay for Ofsted registered childcare for a child under the age of 12, or under 17 if the child is disabled.

Eligible families will receive 20% of their annual childcare costs paid for by the government. In other words, for every 80p in the £1 contributed by parents, an additional 20p will be funded by the government up to a maximum total of £10,000 per child per year.

The new scheme is open to all qualifying parents, unlike the current childcare voucher scheme which is only available to people whose employer offers the scheme.

New scheme vs current scheme

Childcare voucher scheme Tax free childcare
You can only apply for them if your employer offers them Anyone can apply
You do not have to earn any minimum amount and only one parent needs to be working You will need to earn a minimum of £115.00 per week and both parents need to be working
The maximum age where a child’s childcare can be paid for is 15 years (16 years if disabled) The maximum age where a child’s childcare can be paid for is 12 years (17 years if disabled)
There is no maximum amount of monies earned Parents must earn less than £100,000 per year

If you have any questions regarding the changes to the childcare scheme, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Payroll Services Manager, Julie Mason, on 01254 679131 or via email at julie.mason@pmm.co.uk.