Tax Free Childcare and Closure of Childcare Vouchers Scheme

Child Drawing

Following the  Government's introduction of Tax Free Childcare, the University is no longer able to accept new applications for Childcare vouchers. Please see below for further information  on Tax Free Childcare.

What is Tax Free Childcare?

Tax Free Childcare is a Government run scheme that works like an 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 available to parents of children under 12 and disabled children. 
  • 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 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.

The Closure of the Childcare Voucher Scheme is October 2018, why did I need to apply before the 24th August 2018?

All Childcare Voucher Schemes will close on 4th October 2018. To meet the criteria, staff need to have received Childcare Vouchers and have had a salary deduction before this date.

Due to the timing of the University's voucher payment dates, the University's scheme closed to new joiners from 24th August 2018.

Information for existing members of the Childcare Voucher Scheme

Can I continue to receive Childcare Vouchers?

If you are enrolled and receiving vouchers through the Childcare Voucher Scheme before 24 August 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.

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.

Will I be able to make changes to the amount of Childcare Vouchers I receive after October 2018?

Yes, If you need to reduce/increase the amount of Childcare Vouchers you receive you can continue to do so by making a lifestyle change. The deadline for submitting
changes to the amount of Childcare Vouchers you receive is always before the 25th* of the month, the month before so to change the amount of Childcare Vouchers you receive for October you will need to submit
your request before 25 September.

* The exception to this is December where the deadline is earlier due to the Christmas holiday.

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

Can I claim Childcare Vouchers and Tax Free Childcare?

No, you can only choose one scheme. From 24 August 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.

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.