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Childcare Vouchers, Tax-Free Childcare or Tax Credits/Universal Credit

There are various ways to help reduce the cost of Nursery and Pre-School Childcare. Below are several links that explain the different types and how you might be eligible. QUACKERS ACCEPTS A WIDE RANGE OF PAYMENT METHODS. PLEASE SPEAK TO US IF YOU WOULD LIKE COPIES OF OUR PROVIDER CODES ETC TO GIVE TO YOUR VOUCHER COMPANY

Childcare Vouchers

Ask your employer if they offer a childcare voucher scheme.

You can take up to £55 a week of your wages as childcare vouchers, which you do not pay tax or National Insurance on.

How much you can take depends on the amount you earn and when you join the scheme.

Childcare vouchers may affect the amount of tax credits you get. Use the childcare calculator to work out what support you could get.

Changes to Childcare Vouchers

From 5 October 2018, childcare voucher schemes will close to new applicants. You may be able to get Tax-Free Childcare instead.

You can keep getting vouchers if you’ve joined a scheme and get your first voucher before the scheme closes in October 2018, as long as:

  • you stay with the same employer and they continue to run the scheme

  • you do not take an unpaid career break of longer than a year.

If you get Tax-Free Childcare

You cannot continue to claim childcare vouchers if you successfully apply for Tax-Free Childcare.

Which scheme you’re better off with depends on your situation. Use the childcare calculator to work out which type of support is best for you.

You must tell your employer within 90 days if you get Tax-Free Childcare. They’ll then stop giving you new vouchers.

You can continue to use any vouchers you already have, including to make a joint payment for childcare with Tax-Free Childcare. There’s no deadline for using your vouchers.

Once you’ve told your employer that you’re getting Tax-Free Childcare, you cannot rejoin their voucher scheme.


Tax and Employer Childcare Schemes


You do not have to pay tax and National Insurance on:

  • childcare vouchers

  • childcare your employer arranges with a provider (sometimes known as ‘directly contracted childcare’)

  • workplace nurseries


You must pay tax and National Insurance on:

  • cash your employer gives you to pay for childcare

  • childcare provider’s fees your employer pays

  • school fees your employer pays

Tax Credits


You may be able to claim:


You can apply for Working Tax Credit even if you’re on leave or about to start a new job.


If you already claim tax credits Call the Tax Credit Helpline to update your claim if you’re already claiming tax credits - you do not need a claim form.

You must tell the Tax Credits Office about changes to your circumstances, for example your childcare costs stop or change by an average of £10 or more a week.

You must renew your claim every year. You’ll get a reminder.

Universal Credit


You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.

You (and your partner if you live with them) will usually need to either:

  • be working - it does not matter how many hours you or your partner work

  • have a job offer


How much you’ll get

The most you can get back each month is:

  • £646 for one child

  • £1108 for 2 or more children


You can claim Universal Credit online.


If you stop working tell the Universal Credit helpline if you stop working. You can continue to claim childcare costs for at least one month after your job ends.

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 9344 
Textphone: 0800 328 1344 
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm






Help whilst you study


School or sixth form

You could get weekly payments through Care to Learn if you’re under 20 at the start of a publicly-funded course, for example at school or sixth form.

Further education

You can apply for Discretionary Learner Support to pay for childcare if you’re 20 or over and in further education, for example studying for an NVQ, BTEC or PGCE.

Full-time higher education

You can apply for a Childcare Grant if you’re in full-time higher education to pay for childcare costs for children:

  • under 15

  • under 17 if they have special needs

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