CHILDREN can be a costly business as parents will well know.
According to Child Poverty Action Group’s latest report, the cost of raising a child to 18, including childcare costs, is a massive £183,335.
Alamy Thousands of parents could be missing out on free childcare
But thousands of families may be missing out on help with childcare costs – here’s what you need to know.Tax-free childcare – up to £2,000 a year
Under the tax-free childcare scheme, you can get up to £500 every three months – £2,000 a year – for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare.
Tax-free childcare replaced the Government’s childcare vouchers scheme, which closed to new applicants on October 5, 2018.
The new scheme is available to working parents each earning at least the national minimum wage or living wage for 16 hours a week – and less than £100,000 each.
To claim, kids need to be 11 or under or 16 and under if they’re disabled.
What help is available for parents?CHILDCARE can be a costly business. Here is how you can get help:
30 hours free childcare – Parents of three- and four-year-olds can apply for 30 hours of free childcare a week.To qualify you must work at least 16 hours a week at the national living or minimum wage and earn less than £100,000 a year.
Tax credits – For children under 16, some working families can get up to £122.50 a week depending on their income to help with childcare costs.
Childcare vouchers – If your employer offers childcare vouchers you can get up to £933 a yeaar in tax and national insurance savings.You pay for your childcare before your tax contributions are taken out.This scheme is now shut to new joiners.
Tax-free childcare – Available to working families and the self-employed, for every £8 you put in the Government will add an extra £2.
If you’re eligible, you get £2 for every £8 you pay towards childcare – and this can be on top of the 30 hours of free childcare three- and four-year-olds can get.
Cash is added by the Government upfront directly into parents’ childcare accounts – although they will need to spend this on a registered childcare provider.
Around 324,000 families could be missing out tax-free childcare, according to new analysis by the BBC – so make sure you’re not one of them.
You can apply online via Gov.uk.
Tax credits or Universal Credit – around £3,000 a year
You can get up to £3,275 a year in child tax credit to help with the cost of raising children.
Parents who work more than 16 hours a week may also be able to get up to £3,090 under working tax credit.
Tax credits are only available to new claimants if their child has got a severe disability premium or they’ve had tax credits in the past month and are still eligible for it.
If your child is 16, you can also claim up until August 31 after their 16th birthday.
For everyone else, child tax credit has been replaced by Universal Credit.
Alamy Parents in England could get free childcare for kids aged two to four
Under Universal Credit, you get up to £277.08 a month for your first child and £231.67 a month for any second or subsequent children.
You get more if you have a disabled child.
To start a claim, contact HMRC on 0345 300 3900.Free childcare – for two-year-olds
In England, you may qualify for free childcare for two-year-olds if you’re on benefits such as income support or Universal Credit and you and your partner have a combined income of £15,400 a year – or less – after tax.
Kids have to go to an Ofsted registered childcare provider to be eligible – contact your childcare provider or local council to find out more.
15 hours free childcare – for three- and four-year-olds
All three to four-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free childcare a year – although it’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year.
There are different schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Alamy Parents on benefits may be entitled to even more help with childcare costs
The Government says you should contact your childcare provider or local council to find out more.
30 hours free childcare – for three- and four-year-olds
In England, you can usually get 30 hours free childcare if you – and your partner, if you have one – are in work and each earning at least the national minimum wage or living wage for 16 hours a week, but not earning more than £100,000 each.
Half of families are missing out on 30 hours of free childcare, according to new figures from financial provider Royal London, here’s how to make sure you don’t miss out.
As above, there are different schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
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