Childcare Vouchers and Tax Free Childcare

Child Drawing

Following the introduction of Tax Free Childcare, the University’s Childcare Voucher Scheme will close to new joiners from 23 February 2018.

Current advice from HMRC is that new joiners need to have joined the childcare voucher scheme and had a salary deduction before the 5 April 2018, to be eligible to continue receiving childcare vouchers in the future.

Due to the timing of our voucher and salary payment dates this will mean that you will need to join the scheme by the 23 February 2018, to receive vouchers and have salary deductions in March 2018.

Key Dates
23 February 2018  Final day for Childcare voucher applications and submitting changes to the amount
of childcare vouchers you receive. 
9 March 2018 Childcare vouchers paid into online accounts.
31 March 2018 Salary deductions made to pay for March Childcare Vouchers.
5 April 2018 Childcare voucher schemes close to those not previously enrolled in the scheme and
not in receipt of childcare voucher for 52 weeks or more.

If you are joining the University as a new member of staff after the 23 February 2018 and would like to enquire about childcare vouchers you will need to contact The Deal helpdesk by email thedeal@sheffield.ac.uk before the 15 March 2018.

What do existing scheme members need to do?

If you are an existing member of the childcare voucher scheme and have not had a deduction for 52 weeks or more, you will need to increase your voucher amount before the 23 February 2018 to retain your right to claim childcare vouchers.

If you are certain that you no longer need childcare vouchers, then no further action will be needed.

If you are currently receiving childcare vouchers on a monthly basis and are happy to continue receiving them, you do not need to do anything.

What do parents need to do?

If you are eligible to receive childcare vouchers and would like to join the scheme, you need to apply to join the scheme before the final cut off date of the 23 February 2018.

Before applying for the scheme, please see the information below on how the scheme works and how to apply.

What do parents need to know?

Since April 2017 the Government has been rolling out their Tax Free Childcare scheme. As a result Employer Supported Childcare Schemes (Childcare Vouchers) will no longer be available to new joiners when the scheme closes. If you are enrolled and receiving Childcare Vouchers with the University before 23 February 2018, you can continue to receive Childcare Vouchers.

What is Tax Free Childcare?

Tax Free Childcare is a Government run scheme that works like a online account. You  pay money in an account from your net pay, so it’s taken after tax and National Insurance have been deducted.

For every 80p you or someone else pays in, the government will top up an extra 20p. This is equivalent of the tax most people pay - 20% - which gives the scheme its name, ‘tax-free’. The government will top up the account with 20% of childcare costs up to a total of £10,000 - the equivalent of up to £2,000 support per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children).

Who is eligible?

  • The scheme is now available to parents of children under 9 and disabled children. The scheme is expected be rolled out to older children by 14 February 2018.
  • The scheme is open to some working parents (where both parents are working or single parents).
  • To be eligible to join, you must be earning a minimum of £120 per week (£520 a month) and less than £100,000 per annum.
  • The scheme will be available to those who are self-employed.
  • The childcare must be Ofsted registered childcare.

How do I know which scheme to use?

Our Childcare Voucher Scheme provider, Computershare, have put together a decision tree to help you determine which scheme is best for you and your family.

Can I continue to receive Childcare vouchers?

If you are enrolled and receiving vouchers through the Childcare Voucher Scheme before the 23 February 2018, you can continue to receive childcare vouchers until;

  • You change employer;
  • Your child reaches their 15th birthday (16 for a child with a disability);
  • You do not make a contribution to your account within a 52 week period;
  • You take an unpaid career break of longer than a year;
  • You open a Tax Free Childcare account.

Next Steps

Tax Free Childcare will be more beneficial for some than others, so it’s important to check which scheme will work better for you given your personal circumstances.

If you are signed up to receive childcare vouchers before 23 February 2018, you will be able to choose which scheme is better for you. After 23 February 2018, if you have opted to leave the Childcare voucher scheme, you cannot re-join.

Eligibility for Childcare Vouchers

  • You must be the parent, legal guardian or have parental responsibility for the child.
  • Your child must be under 15 years old or 16 years old if your child has a disability. The cut-off date for both these ages is the 1st September following the child's 15th or 16th birthday.
  • The childcare must be Ofsted registered childcare.

How do I apply for Childcare Vouchers?

  • To apply for Childcare Vouchers, you will need to log onto The Deal through MUSE or select the right hand link.
  • Select Childcare from the portal menu. You will need  the contact details of your childcare provider to hand.
  • If you have any queries on how to apply please contact the Deal Helpdesk on 0330 221 0224 or email thedeal@sheffield.ac.uk

Deadline for new applications and changes to voucher amounts

The deadline for joining the scheme or making changes to the amount of Childcare Vouchers you receive is before the 23 February 2018 for changes to take effect from March 2018.

Further Information

The deadline for the closure of Childcare Voucher Scheme is the 5 April 2018, why must I apply before 23 February 2018?

HMRC have advised that to meet the deadline, employees must have applied and received a salary deduction before 5 April 2018. Due to the timing of the University’s voucher and salary payment dates this means all applications to join the scheme must be submitted before the 23 February 2018. This will enable you to receive vouchers on 10 March and have a deduction from your salary on 31 March 2018, giving you the right to remain in the scheme.

I have claimed childcare vouchers through The Deal before, will I be able to continue after the closure of the scheme?

If you have had a break from receiving vouchers of longer than 52 weeks, then you will lose your right to participate in the scheme. If you are unsure if you still need childcare vouchers but are still eligible to receive them, it may be advisable to increase your voucher amount to the minimum salary deduction (£5.00) before the 23 February 2018. To do this you will need to log onto your online account and make a lifestyle change.

How do I make a Lifestyle change?

To make a Lifestyle change you  will need to log onto The Deal through MUSE. 

When the portal menu loads choose Childcare from the menu.

  • Choose the 'My Childcare' tab
  • Select 'Manage Account'
  • Under 'New Voucher Value' - change your voucher to the new required amount. (If you are opting out of childcare vouchers all together you will need to set your voucher amount to 0).
  • If you have Protected Rights select the Tick box.
  • Select Change Amount
  • Choose I Agree to the change in your Terms and Conditions

I am joining the University after 23 February 2018, what do I need to do?

If you are joining the University as a new member of staff after the 23 February 2018 and would like to enquire about childcare vouchers you will need to contact The Deal helpdesk by email thedeal@sheffield.ac.uk before the 15 March 2018.

How do I Find out Further information on Tax Free Childcare?

Tax Free Childcare is not administered by the University. Further information on the Scheme can be found here and under Useful Information on the top right of this page.

Can I claim Childcare Vouchers and Tax Free Childcare?

No, you can only choose one scheme. From 23 February 2018 the childcare voucher scheme will be closed to new joiners. If you sign up to Tax Free Childcare you will be not be able to re-join the Childcare Voucher scheme.

If you choose to use Tax Free Childcare you will need to stop receiving Childcare Vouchers through the University’s scheme within 3 months of applying for Tax Free Childcare.

Can I apply for Childcare Vouchers before I have my baby/whilst I am on parental leave?

No, you can only apply childcare vouchers once you have had your baby. If you are taking annual leave after your parental leave you can apply for childcare vouchers provided you are able to do so before 23 February 2018. If you are returning from leave after this time, you can apply for Tax Free Childcare.

If you have any queries about this you can contact thedeal@sheffield.ac.uk

Can I claim 30 hours free childcare and Childcare Vouchers?

From September 2017, 3 and 4 year olds in England may be entitled to 30 hours free Childcare.
If you are eligible to claim 30 hours free childcare you can continue to claim Childcare Vouchers from your employer.
To check your eligibility please click here

I want to claim 30 hours free childcare but don't want Tax Free Childcare - what do I need to do?

The Government  have  a dual application system to apply for 30 hours free childcare and Tax Free Childcare. You will need to specify which scheme you would like to apply for, if not both. If you are uncertain about the application process  please contact the Childcare Services Helpline on 0300 123 4097.

I’ve been approved for Tax Free Childcare what do I need to do now?

If you choose to use Tax Free Childcare you will need to stop receiving Childcare Vouchers through the University’s scheme  within 3 months of applying for Tax Free Childcare.

Please log onto The Deal through MUSE and select Childcare from the Portal menu.

• Select the My Childcare tab
• Choose Manage Account
• Change voucher value to 0
• Select Change amount

In addition to completing this request please could you email thedeal@sheffield.ac.uk  to confirm that you  have opted into the Tax Free Childcare Scheme so that we may update our records.

PLEASE NOTE: The deadline for requesting to stop your Childcare Vouchers is before the 23 of the February, i.e to change your Childcare Vouchers for March you will need to submit your request before the 23 February.