Making the decision to go back to work after having a baby is a difficult one, which can be made even harder by the possible cost of childcare. Not everyone has family close by to be able to lend a helping hand, and trying to achieve the balance of how many days to work versus how long to use nursery or a childminder for is one that can easily send your head into a spin!
Signing up for childcare vouchers can be a good way of saving money on your childcare costs.
Childcare voucher schemes are a method of using a Tax and NI free way to meet all, or some, of your childcare costs.
Using childcare vouchers supplied to you by your employer is a simple and easy way to pay for childcare with Tax and NI free funds, it makes childcare more affordable.
It is a non taxable benefit as part of your benefits package
You request the childcare vouchers from your employer who processes the request through payroll, enabling the amount to be Tax and NI free.
Salary sacrifice, salary addition and flex benefits packages are normally the way the vouchers are accounted for.
This is the amount you are allowed to claim Tax and NI free in childcare vouchers for whatever payroll period it applies to.
If you join the scheme on or after 6/4/2011 the limits are as follows. For weekly paid it is £55 (£243 per month) for 20% tax payers, £28 for 40% tax payers and £25 for 45% tax payers.
You are allowed to save the allowance or claim it in the payroll month, as long as you do not forward claim.
On the maximum voucher allowance a 20% tax payer would save £77.76 per calendar month, or £933 per year.
HMRC state that you can claim as soon as your child is born. You can then save the vouchers to go towards future childcare costs.
You could request vouchers for a particular childcare provider, you request funding for your account if you do not know who you childcare provider will be or simply save your allowance to use later on in the same tax year.
There isn't a simple answer to this but it would depend on your household gross income to a large degree as to which way you would choose to go.
You can contact the HMRC helpline on 0845 300 3900 for help or go to the HMRC website and use the childcare indicator.
Yes, both working parents are able to claim childcare vouchers from the moment the child is born.