Getting help with the costs of childcare in today’s economic scenario has become a must what with child care costs taking up more than half of a middle-class family’s income. This leaves the parents physically and mentally exhausted and looking for ways and means in getting help with the costs of childcare.
Childcare expenditure is placed second on the household budget next only to mortgage and rental payments. Getting help with the costs of childcare is very difficult if you are not aware of the prevailing grants offered by the Government. The term ‘Childcare’ refers to school-going children up to age 16 or sometimes even 20 provided the child continues to study. The first and foremost aspect of childcare assistance is by way of tax credits.
Childcare tax credits
Childcare tax credit goes by the official name ‘Childcare element of working tax credit’ in the UK. Contrary to the much-believed theory that childcare tax credits are for unemployed parents, it is mandatory for the parents to be employed.
Who qualifies for a childcare tax credit?
You are eligible for childcare tax credit if:
you are a single parent and work for 16 plus hours per week;
you are a couple and put in sixteen-plus hours per week.
How do I check if I am eligible?
A tax credit helpline is available on all weekdays and weekends from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on 0345 300 3900 to help you find out if you are eligible to apply for childcare tax credits.
Fresh applications may be submitted at any time during a year but renewals must be submitted latest by the end of July every year. In case of lay-off or a reduction in working hours, you need to inform the department immediately though you will continue to receive the tax credit for up to a month from the date of notification.
Free education for pre-schoolers
The Government offers free early-education to three and four-year olds. Under this scheme, the little ones get to attend 15 hours of school with a minimum of three days’ attendance every week for thirty eight weeks a year at a nursery attached to any school. This is one of the best methods of getting help with the costs of childcare.
Getting help with the costs of childcare is possible with childcare vouchers that are the most popular form of tax credits in the United Kingdom. They are offered to all working parents with child/children up to the age of 15.
Parents agree to give up a part of their yearly income in order to receive these vouchers. When your income decreases after this pay-out, you become eligible for more benefits by way of tax credits. The childcare vouchers take care of payments such as school holiday clubs, breakfast and after-school clubs, day-care centres etc.
Free holiday camps
A wide range of activities including sports, dance and music etc. are offered to children during summer vacation where you can pay for them with your childcare vouchers. Alternatively, you may choose to pay for the courses and apply for childcare tax credit.
In case you need more details in getting help with the costs of childcare, organizations such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau offer assistance in getting help with the costs of childcare.
The above-mentioned methods offer great support in getting help with the costs of childcare. You get to save a lot of money and at the same time provide your children with all the basic facilities they need. This certainly is a boon, considering the weak economic situation prevailing today.