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Autumn Statement 2017

06 Dec 2017

The Chancellor delivered his Autumn Statement on 22nd November outlining the Government's spending commitments. 

Tax Free Childcare
There was no further information about roll out plans for Tax Free Childcare, however, a few days earlier, the Tax Free Childcare team advised that the scheme would be extended to parents with children up to age 6 from 24th November 2017. The Government currently plan to extend to parents with children up to age 12 by 31st March 2018.

The Office for Budget Responsibility provided actual take up of TFC in their accompanying budget documentation.  Take up is currently much less than expected at 30,000.

The average family spend on childcare reported by the Government is currently £3,276 per year.  This provides savings of £655 per year with Tax Free Childcare and £933 as a basic rate tax payer on care-4.  

You can register for care-4 today and continue to join care-4 until April 2018.  Provided that you have funds taken from your pay and paid into your care-4 account by end of March. you can continue to receive tax and NI savings as a care-4 participant through the grandfathered scheme until your children are no longer eligible.

National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage
The Chancellor announced that the NLW will rise from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour from April 2018.  In addition, the NMW rates will increase for 21 to 24 year olds from £7.05 to £7.38 per hour.

Personal Allowance
The Personal Allowance will increase to £11,850 from April 2018, with the higher rate threshold increasing to £46,350.

Autumn Statement 2017

06 Dec 2017

The Chancellor delivered his Autumn Statement on 22nd November outlining the Government's spending commitments. 

Tax Free Childcare
There was no further information about roll out plans for Tax Free Childcare, however, a few days earlier, the Tax Free Childcare team advised that the scheme would be extended to parents with children up to age 6 from 24th November 2017. The Government currently plan to extend to parents with children up to age 12 by 31st March 2018.

The Office for Budget Responsibility provided actual take up of TFC in their accompanying budget documentation.  Take up is currently much less than expected at 30,000.

The average family spend on childcare reported by the Government is currently £3,276 per year.  This provides savings of £655 per year with Tax Free Childcare and £933 as a basic rate tax payer on care-4.  

Employees can register for care-4 today and continue to join care-4 until April 2018.  Provided that they have funds taken from their pay and paid into their care-4 account by end of March. employees can continue to receive tax and NI savings as a care-4 participant through the grandfathered scheme until their children are no longer eligible.

National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage
The Chancellor announced that the NLW will rise from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour from April 2018.  In addition, the NMW rates will increase for 21 to 24 year olds from £7.05 to £7.38 per hour.

Personal Allowance
The Personal Allowance will increase to £11,850 from April 2018, with the higher rate threshold increasing to £46,350.

Tax Free Childcare Update

18 Jul 2017

Here is some further clarification on the Tax Free Childcare (TFC) scheme, its launch and the impact on you: 
 
Timing of roll-out to age 4 and over

There is still a plan to roll out to parents with children up to age 12 by the end of the year, but as yet we’ve seen no further detail on when it will extend past the current eligibility of up to age 4. As soon as we know more, we’ll share the information with you.

Reconfirmation of TFC eligibility

If you register for TFC, you must re-confirm your eligibility every 90 days to continue to receive the government subsidy. 

If you are a care-4 participant, you must request a cessation through your care-4 account, or if you are part of a flex scheme you’ll need to tell your employer that you wish to stop using it. This request must take place through your payroll, and your salary sacrifice must have stopped within the 90-day period. 

If you join TFC and during the 90-day period you decide that you don’t want to leave care-4, you can stop TFC and continue with care-4, as long as you haven’t already requested a cessation through care-4 or your employer.

Maternity leave

care-4 participants who go on maternity leave after April 2018 can stop salary sacrifice for up to 12 months and still remain in the care-4 scheme and save on childcare costs, as long as they or their partner do not join TFC.  

If you join TFC and go on maternity leave, you will continue to be eligible for TFC regardless of whether your leave is paid or unpaid. You cannot hold a childcare account for the child that you are on maternity leave for until you return to work. 

If you opt to phase your return to work, you will not be able to reconfirm your eligibility and save with TFC until your salary reaches over £120 per week.

Tax Free Childcare Update

18 Jul 2017

Here is some further clarification on the Tax Free Childcare (TFC) scheme, its launch and the impact on employees that are using care-4 which you may find useful: 

Timing of roll-out to age 4 and over

There is still a plan to roll out to parents with children up to age 12 by the end of the year, but as yet we’ve seen no further detail on when it will extend past the current eligibility of up to age 4. As soon as we know more, we’ll share the information with you.

Reconfirmation of TFC eligibility

If you register for TFC, parents must re-confirm eligibility every 90 days to continue to receive the government subsidy. 

care-4 participants, must request a cessation through their care-4 account or if you use a flex scheme they will need to cease through that to ensure they have reported this cessation to you.  This request must take place through payroll, and the salary sacrifice must have stopped within the 90-day period. 

If employees join TFC and during the 90-day period decide that they don’t want to leave care-4, they can stop TFC and continue with care-4, as long as they haven’t already requested a cessation through care-4 or you.

Maternity leave

care-4 participants who go on maternity leave after April 2018 can stop salary sacrifice for up to 12 months and still remain in the care-4 scheme and save on childcare costs, as long as they or their partner do not join TFC.  

If they join TFC and go on maternity leave, they will continue to be eligible for TFC regardless of whether their leave is paid or unpaid. Parents cannot hold a childcare account for the child that they are on maternity leave for until they return to work. 

If the parent opts to phase a return to work, they will not be able to reconfirm their eligibility and save with TFC until their salary reaches over £120 per week.

Tax Free Childcare Launched

26 Apr 2017

You may be aware that the government planned to introduce Tax Free Childcare on 28th April.  However, they have now published a news story confirming the launch of TFC, a week earlier than planned. 

There has also been a change to the government’s planned roll out to parents, with an announcement that those of you with children aged 4 or younger are able to apply for TFC first.  The full roll out is planned before the end of the year and we will advise you of further timings as soon as they are known. 

The government has published operational guidance on the 30-hours childcare entitlement available from September.  This guidance includes information on how parents will register for TFC.

Childcare Choices

The Childcare Choices website provides a calculator for you to compare the childcare offers available and check whether you will be better off with care-4 childcare vouchers, TFC or another government provided scheme.
  
If you have already accessed this site and pre-registered for email alerts, it is likely that you will receive an alert shortly if they are a parent of a child aged under 4 at 31st August 2017. 

Please note

If you register for TFC, you will be required to leave care-4.

Households must choose the scheme that is best for them and cannot participate in both schemes at the same time.

Parents using TFC will be required to re-confirm their eligibility every 90 days and must have left care-4 before the next eligibility period. 

Where parents are eligible for TFC and then one parent’s salary increases to £100,000 or more during the year, will need to confirm their ineligibility for TFC in the next 90 day period.

The government have now confirmed that parents who leave employer supported childcare schemes such as care-4 to join TFC, will not be able to leave TFC and re-join care-4 regardless of whether this happens before April 2018

Tax Free Childcare Launched

26 Apr 2017

You may be aware that the government planned to introduce their TFC scheme on 28th April.  However, they have now published a news story confirming the launch of TFC, a week earlier than planned. 

This launch date may have been brought forward due to purdah commencing before their original launch date, following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a general election on 8th June.  We believe that the government are not able to promote TFC during purdah through its planned communications, however it may be used as part of election campaigning.

There has also been a change to the government’s planned roll out to parents, with an announcement that parents with children aged 4 or younger are able to apply for TFC first.  The full roll out is planned before the end of the year and we will advise you of further timings as soon as they are known. 

Alongside this announcement, the government has published operational guidance on the 30-hours childcare entitlement available from September.  This guidance includes information on how parents will register for TFC.

Childcare Choices

As mentioned, previously, the Childcare Choices website provides a calculator for parents to compare the childcare offers available and check whether they will be better off with care-4 childcare vouchers, TFC or another government provided scheme.
  
If parents have already accessed this site and pre-registered for email alerts, it is likely that they will receive an alert shortly if they are a parent of a child aged under 4 at 31st August 2017. 

Please note

Parents registering for TFC will be required to leave employer supported childcare

Households must choose the scheme that is best for them and cannot participate in both schemes at the same time.

Parents will be required to re-confirm their eligibility every 90 days and must have left care-4 before the next eligibility period. 

Where parents are eligible for TFC and then one parent’s salary increases to £100,000 or more during the year, will need to confirm their ineligibility for TFC in the next 90 day period.

The government have now confirmed that parents who leave employer supported childcare schemes such as care-4 to join TFC, will not be able to leave TFC and re-join care-4 regardless of whether this happens before April 2018.

Budget 2017 - Tax Free Childcare Update

15 Mar 2017

As you will be aware, the Chancellor delivered his budget speech on the 8th of March. Detailed below is an overview of the announcements made which are relevant to care-4:-
 
Tax Free Childcare (TFC)

The Chancellor announced that TFC will be introduced from next month in a controlled way.  It will then gradually roll out with parents of younger children able to apply first and all eligible children (up to age 12) by the end of 2017.  Parents will be able to apply for all of their children at the same time, when their youngest child qualifies. 
 
care-4 will remain open for new joiners until April 2018. Participants in our scheme will be grandfathered and therefore able to enjoy the current tax benefits on an ongoing basis. It will not be possible to participate in both employer supported childcare (care-4) and TFC.
 
We expect to receive more details about the TFC roll out from the Government shortly and will provide a further update as soon as we can. 
   
Working parents

The Government also re-confirmed that parents with children who are three and four years old will see their free childcare entitlement increase from 15 hours to 30 hours a week from September 2017. 
 
You will be able to apply for both Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare at the same time, through a joint childcare service. Parents can now sign up to receive an email update which will notify you when you are able to apply. 

Autumn Statement 2016 - Tax Free Childcare Update

07 Dec 2016

Tax Free Childcare (TFC)

In the Autumn Statement the Chancellor confirmed that Tax-free Childcare will be rolled out gradually from early next year, pending completion of a trial. A date has yet to be confirmed for the start of the trial however, we will continue to keep you fully updated on developments throughout next year.
 
The Chancellor reiterated his plans to extend free childcare for working families to 30 hours, from September next year
 
Salary Sacrifice

Following the recent salary sacrifice consultation, The Chancellor announced that tax and employer National Insurance advantages for salary sacrifice will be removed from April 2017.  
 
The plans to remove tax and employer National Insurance advantages for salary sacrifice from April 2017 will NOT include employer supported childcare therefore you can continue to use care-4 scheme through salary sacrifice after April 2017. 

 

Tax Free Childcare Update following 2016 Budget

21 Mar 2016

Budget 2016 Update

As you will be aware, the Chancellor delivered his budget speech on Wednesday 16th March. Detailed below is an overview of the announcements made which we believe would be of particular interest to you:-
 
Tax Free Childcare (TFC)

The Government still plan to introduce TFC in early 2017, however, on Wednesday they provided further detail of their plans.  They announced that TFC will be gradually rolled out in a managed way with parents of youngest children eligible to enter the scheme first and all parents of children under 12 being eligible by the end of 2017.
 
Confirmation was provided of the final date that employees can join care-4 as part of the TFC roll out.  The Chancellor advised that Employer Supported Childcare (ESC) schemes such as care-4 will remain open for new joiners until April 2018, to support the transition between the two schemes. 
 
ESC will continue to be grandfathered as originally planned.  As such all parents that have joined the care-4 scheme before April 2018 can continue to save on their childcare costs through care-4 until they are no longer eligible or it is not required. 
  
Salary Sacrifice

On Wednesday, the Chancellor confirmed the Government’s intention that childcare (care-4), health-related benefits such as our cycle to work scheme and pension saving, should continue to benefit from income tax and NICs relief when provided through salary sacrifice arrangements.
  
 
Full details of the budget can be found at:-https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/budget-2016-documents/budget-2016

Tax Free Childcare Update

18 Dec 2015

The Government has reconfirmed that T​ax Free Childcare (T​FC​)​ will commence from 2017.
 
Eligibility requirements for TFC:-

· Parents will need to have a weekly income level equivalent to 16 hours, an increase from the 8 hours minimum previously advised.
· The new upper income limit per parent will change from £150,000 to £100,000. 
 
The Government’s documents state that as some families will no longer be eligible for TFC, they may choose to remain on ESC schemes such as care-4.
 
We were able to raise a number of questions with the government regarding TFCas follows:-
 
Q. If you are participating in care-4, can you use the scheme to pay for a baby that is born after the launch of TFC?
 
A. Yes, the benefit is per employee and not per child.
 
Q. If you are participating in care-4, can you have a break in salary sacrifice payments and still be eligible to save through the scheme?
 
A. Yes, provided that you have a) remained with the same employer, b) not had a break in salary sacrifice of 12 months or more and c) have not participated in TFC during the break.
 
Q. If you are transferred from one business to another as part of a TUPE arrangement, can your participation in care-4 continue?
 
A. Yes, if you transfer under TUPE arrangements you can continue to benefit from savings through care-4.
 
Q. If you move from one part of a Company to another and are required to have a new employment contract, can you continue in care-4 once TFC has launched?
 
A. No, if your employment contract changes, the salary sacrifice for care-4 is severed and you would need to join TFC to save on your childcare costs.

Extended 30 hours free childcare element

The eligibility requirements for TFC will also apply to the extended 30 hour free childcare element to be introduced.
 
Eligibility for the 30 hours of free childcare has also been extended to families where a parent or their partner is in work and the other parent is disabled or a carer; or where a parent or their partner is taking time away from work on paid sickness or parental leave. This will not apply for TFC.
 
Following its review of childcare provision, the Government will invest to increase the average hourly rate childcare providers receive. It will also seek to create additional places in nurseries.

Tax Free Childcare Update

18 Dec 2015

The Government has reconfirmed that T​ax Free Childcare (T​FC​)​ will commence from 2017.
 
Eligibility requirements for TFC will be more stringent:-
· Parents will need to have a weekly income level equivalent to 16 hours, an increase from the 8 hours minimum previously advised.
· The new upper income limit per parent will change from £150,000 to £100,000. 
 
The Government’s documents state that as some families will no longer be eligible for TFC, they may choose to remain on ESC schemes such as care-4.
 
We were able to raise a number of questions with the government regarding TFC, which were answered at a recent meeting with the Treasury as follows:-
 
Q. If an employee is participating in care-4, can they use the scheme to pay for a baby that is born after the launch of TFC?
 
A. Yes, the benefit is per employee and not per child.
 
Q. If an employee is participating in care-4, can they have a break in salary sacrifice payments and still be eligible to save through the scheme?
 
A. Yes, provided that the employee has a) remained with the same employer, b) not had a break in salary sacrifice of 12 months or more and c) has not participated in TFC during the break.
 
Q. If an employee is transferred from one business to another as part of a TUPE arrangement, can their participation in employer supported childcare (care-4) continue?
 
A. Yes, an employee that transfers under TUPE arrangements can continue to benefit from savings through care-4.
 
Q. If an employee moves from one part of a Company to another and is required to have a new employment contract, can they continue in employer supported childcare (care-4) once TFC has launched?
 
A. No, if their employment contract changes, the salary sacrifice for care-4 is severed and the employee would need to join TFC to save on their childcare costs.

Extended 30 hours free childcare element

The eligibility requirements for TFC will also apply to the extended 30 hour free childcare element to be introduced.
 
Eligibility for the 30 hours of free childcare has also been extended to families where a parent or their partner (if they have one) is in work and the other parent is disabled or a carer; or where a parent or their partner is taking time away from work on paid sickness or parental leave. This will not apply for TFC.
 
Following its review of childcare provision, the Government will invest to increase the average hourly rate childcare providers receive. It will also seek to create additional places in nurseries.

Second reading of the Childcare Bill

​It was confirmed at the Second Reading of the Childcare Bill that parents will be able to apply for both TFC and the 30 hours via a joint online application being developed by HMRC.
​ 
This is intended to provide a simple and straightforward way for working parents to apply for both schemes, avoiding the need to provide the same information twice, saving them time.  
 
Free childcare will continue to be provided through Local Authorities and TFC support will take the form of Top Ups paid into Childcare accounts.  The joint childcare application is expected to be available to support the introduction of TFC from early 2017, and the 30 hours free childcare offer from September 2017.

TFC revised launch date

02 Jul 2015

On 1st July the Government’s Director of the Tax Free Childcare programme provided an update about it’s launch.  
 
You may be aware that there has been a legal challenge on HMRC’s decision to work in partnership with NS&I for the delivery of TFC.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court found the Government’s proposals for delivering TFC to be lawful. 

The Government has made it clear that it is committed to delivering TFC, however, they have now confirmed that they expect it to be launched from early 2017.

This is great news for those of you that are keen to use care-4, as they have now confirmed that new joiners will be able to join our scheme until the revised TFC launch date in early 2017.  In addition, they have reiterated that if you are in care-4 at the time of the launch, you will be able to continue to save through the scheme provided that your employer continues to offer this benefit.
If you are eligible to join the scheme, don’t delay, make savings on your childcare costs now by clicking on “Register me” now.  If you are an employer that is looking to provide this benefit to your employees, please contact info@care-4.co.uk.

Childcare Update

11 Jun 2015

Last week David Cameron introduced a change to the Childcare Bill, which will double free childcare available to all working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.  The change, with Parents set to benefit from 30 hours of free childcare, was initially planned to commence from 2017.  A new Government taskforce is in place to introduce the changes which have now been pushed forward, with pilots in some areas starting as early as September next year.   David Cameron has also promised a review of the Childcare funding rates by the Department for Education before the summer.

The last Government also put in place support for working families through the introduction of Tax Free Childcare (TFC), which is proposed to launch in Autumn this year.  Employer Supported Childcare schemes like care-4 will continue for participating parents when TFC launches, but it is important for working parents to join before the launch of TFC to be best placed to choose the best savings available to them.  Full details of TFC are included in the Childcare Payments Act 2014, which can be found here.

New Childcare and Family Services Finder

08 Apr 2015

If you are looking for registered childcare in England, Family and Childcare Trust have now launched a handy search engine for Ofsted approved childcare. For further information please click below.

Read more...

Tax Free Childcare Update

01 Aug 2014

Following the Government's further consultation for Tax Free Childcare which ended on 27th June, they have now confirmed their decision:-  "The government has carefully considered the responses to both consultations and the evidence on all of the options. The government’s decision is that National Savings and Investment (NS&I) will be the scheme’s account provider, working in partnership with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)."

The full consultation response document can be found here

The Government plans to launch Tax Free Childcare in Autumn 2015, at which time employer supported childcare will be grandfathered, with any employees who are participating in care-4 at that time able to continue to save through the scheme.

Tax Free Childcare Update

06 Jun 2014

Further Consultation Window Opened

The Government have recently launched a further consultation on the provision of Tax Free Childcare, which will be open until 27th June. The consultation builds on the previous exercise that was undertaken last year, but focuses only on the options for delivering the Tax Free Childcare accounts, as follows:-

1) Government Provider - Through NS&I or HMRC

2) Private Sector  - Single Provider, Small limited number of Providers, or an Open Market

A copy of the consultation document can be found here  
 
The CVPA would like parent’s views

The Childcare Voucher Providers Association are interested in parent’s views, if you would like to respond, the survey can be found here 

Childcare Payments Bill Published

The Government published its Childcare Payments Bill yesterday, which will set down the legislation for Tax Free Childcare.  The Bill can be found here 

Tax Free Childcare Update

18 Mar 2014

You may be aware that the Government have made an announcement today, following their consultation last year on Tax Free Childcare.

In Summary:-
· Tax Free Childcare will be introduced from Autumn 2015, as originally planned.
 
· The Government Subsidy remains at 20%, but has now been increased to childcare costs of £10,000 per child per year, rather than the original plan of £6,000. This will enable parents to save up to £2,000 per year, per child.
 
· The Government originally planned to provide for children up to the age of 5 and increase per year until age 12. They have now confirmed that children up to age 12 will be included within the first year from Autumn 2015.
 
· Employees earning £50 per week, on leave (maternity, paternity, adoption, sick) who do not currently meet the requirement can receive the subsidy.
 
· New online Tax free Childcare accounts will be run by HMRC in partnership with NS&I, requiring all systems to be developed in their entirety before launch in Autumn 2015.
 
· Where families have an additional rate tax payer, or are receiving support through Tax Credits, no subsidy will be provided.
 
Many parents may be better off with the current Employer Provided Childcare Scheme available through your Employer. You can save up to £933 per year of your childcare costs, per employee, by joining the scheme now. The Government have confirmed that if you have joined the scheme before Autumn 2015 you will be able to continue to receive benefit for as long as you and your employer participate in this benefit. No new joiners will be allowed from Autumn 2015, when Tax Free Childcare is introduced. A number of companies were involved in the consultation and it was clear that many employers sought a role in the new policy.  Currently it is anticipated that the new Tax free childcare programme will provided separately to any benefits programmes run through your employer.

Please click here for the Government's response to the Consultaion about tax free childcare
We will keep you informed of any further updates. 

For further details about Tax Free Childcare, please contact HMRC on 0300 200 1919.
 

Government proposes a new tax free childcare scheme from Autumn 2015

18 Feb 2014

Tax-Free Childcare will be available to all working parents where both parents are in paid work or where the family is single parent.
 
20% of childcare costs will be funded per child up to a maximum of £1200 per year.  (Parents will need to contribute £4800 to receive £1200).
 
At date of launch, the eligible age of a child is from birth to 5 years. Although the scheme age limit will increase year on year until the maximum age of 12 years, unless a child is disabled in which case age 16.
 
Additional rate tax payers, parents where only one parent works, or children aged over 5 years will not be able to benefit from support with their childcare if joining a scheme for the first time after Tax-Free Childcare is launched in Autumn 2015.
 
Current care-4 scheme (employer provided childcare) will be “grandfathered” and remain after the launch of the Tax-free Childcare Scheme. Parents that are signed up before the launch will be able to continue, but can switch if they will save more in the new Tax-Free Childcare Scheme.
 
The new scheme and the mechanism for parent payments and Government funding has not yet been designed, although the latest proposal is that parents will need to reconfirm eligibility every 3 months to avoid issues of overpayment.
 
The eligibility criteria for paying registered or approved carers will remain.
 
Please click on the below link for full details:- 
 
Tax-Free Childcare: Consultation on Design and Operation
 
 
Anticipated key milestones
 
February 2014:
Full Consultation response will be published
 
Early 2014:                              
Draft legislative bill prepared and consulted on
 
Summer 2014 – Spring 2015:   
Legislation passed through Parliament
 
Autumn 2015:                          
Scheme goes live
 
We will continue to keep you updated over the coming months.