HM Revenue & Customs have made some temporary changes that may affect you if you are applying for, or already getting, Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours Free Childcare.
The help is to make sure critical workers can continue to access the childcare they need to enable them to work, even if their circumstances have changed during Covid-19.
Temporary changes have been made to the eligibility criteria for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours Free Childcare during the coronavirus pandemic.
The changes may affect you if you, or someone you live with, are:
- on furlough
- not able to work or you’re working less
- a critical worker
The guidance will be updated when these changes end.
Further detail on the specific areas is highlighted within this article and can also be found on the Government website, which also includes links to how you make the applications for the Tax-Free Childcare and 30 Hours Free Childcare.
If you are on Furlough
If your employer has no work for you, they might be able to keep you on the payroll and put you on temporary leave instead. This is known as being put ‘on furlough’ and you’re paid 80% of your wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the percentage of support may be subject to change if this support continues. Announcements have indicated this support will extend to 31 October 2020 but further details are to be announced).
You should apply, or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account, if your wage, and your partner’s wage if you have one, is:
- at least the National Minimum Wage for 16 hours a week
- below the normal minimum income requirement, but you’d normally expect to meet the income requirement
If you are not able to work or you’re working less
You should apply, or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account, if you’re:
- getting sick pay or statutory sick pay (SSP) – time spent on sick pay or SSP will count as working and meeting the minimum income requirement
- taking unpaid leave to care for others, such as your children - if you expect your income to meet the minimum income requirement (at least the National Minimum Wage for 16 hours a week) after Coronavirus
- living with someone who has Coronavirus - you must stay at home - if you expect your income to meet the minimum income agreement (at least the National Minimum Wage for 16 hours a week) after coronavirus
- working less, your hours have been reduced and your wage
- meets the minimum earnings requirement
- is below the normal minimum earnings requirement but you would normally expect to earn above it
If you’re made redundant
If you’re made redundant you’re not eligible to apply, or reconfirm you have a childcare account, because you’re:
- no longer in work
- not meeting the minimum income requirement
If you start employment again and expect to earn above the minimum income requirement you can apply 31 days before you start your new job.
If you’re self-employed
You should apply, or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account, if you are:
- continuing to work, and your earnings:
- are above the minimum earnings requirement
- are below the normal minimum earnings requirement but you would normally expect to earn above it
- not able to get work because of Coronavirus:
- you may be eligible to claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - payments made to you through the scheme will count as earnings
- and you’re not eligible for self-employed income support but would expect to earn at least the minimum income requirement
If you’re claiming Universal Credit
If you are now claiming Universal Credit and were getting:
- Tax-Free Childcare, you cannot apply or reconfirm for Tax-Free Childcare - if you stop claiming Universal Credit you can apply for Tax-Free Childcare again
- 30 hours Free Childcare, and you meet the revised minimum income requirement or would expect to normally, you should apply or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account
If you’re a critical worker
If you missed the 31 March deadline
If you’re a critical worker and you’ve missed the reconfirmation or application deadline for 30 hours Free Childcare, you should apply or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account.
Local authorities will be able to extend the validity dates on 30 hours codes for eligible critical worker parents during the summer term.
If you’re working more
If you’re a critical worker you may have exceeded the maximum income threshold of £100,000 per year. If this is because of increased hours as a direct result of Coronavirus, you’ll still be eligible for 30 hours and Tax-Free Childcare for the current tax year.