HMRC offers parents tax-free way of paying for childcare

Ahead of the end of the school year and the long summer break, the taxman is reminding parents of a tax-free way to pay for childcare that can be worth up to £2,000 per child per year towards the costs of play groups and clubs.

According to a YouGov survey conducted on behalf of HM Revenue and Customs and published today, arranging childcare during the long summer break – when parents still have to go out to work most days – is a serious cause of stress to almost one-third of mums, dads and guardians.

The poll found that 30 per cent of British parents worried about balancing their job and school holiday childcare. And more than half admitted that they look forward to their children returning to school in September.

To ease at least some of that summer strain, working parents in Croydon and across Greater London can use Tax-Free Childcare, or TFC, to pay for regulated holiday clubs during the school holidays.

More than 58,000 registered childcare providers including school, football, art and tennis clubs have signed up across the country. Parents that pay into their account regularly can “save up” their TFC allowance and use it for childcare during school holidays. The money can go towards a whole range of regulated childcare including nurseries, childminders, before- and after-school clubs, or holiday clubs.

HMRC said this week: “Parents can apply for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare at the same time and are encouraged to do so before the end of June, in time for next term. They can then both be used together, with Tax-Free Childcare payments applying to any additional childcare costs over and above the 30 hours support, throughout the year. Both offers are available to self-employed parents.”

Parents can find out what government help is available and apply online by visiting the Childcare Choices website It includes a Childcare Calculator ( that compares all the government’s childcare offers to check what works best for individual families.

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