All Dorset working parents of children aged under 12 (or 17 if they have a disability) are being invited to apply for tax-free childcare before other areas of the country.
This comes on top of the announcement in February that Dorset parents of three and four-year-olds were among the first to benefit from up to 30 hours free childcare ahead of the national roll-out. More than 1,000 Dorset families have expressed an interest to receive their free hours.
When tax-free childcare rolls out nationally, parents of the youngest children will be invited to apply first, starting with parents of children under two and gradually reaching all eligible families by the end of the year.
However, until 27 April working parents attending a childcare setting in the Dorset County Council area (but not Bournemouth and Poole) can register their interest early and start saving money on their childcare fees this summer; just in time for summer holiday childcare.
Once parents have successfully registered they will set up an online childcare account to pay their childcare provider directly. For every £8 parents pay into the account, the Government will pay £2. The most the Government will pay is £2,000 per child per year, and £4,000 for disabled children.
You can use tax-free childcare to pay for costs such as:
- approved or registered childcare providers, e.g. nurseries, pre-schools, childminders and also breakfast, after-school and holiday clubs.
- advance payments, block bookings and individual sessions
- the costs of employing a nanny
If you are already claiming childcare vouchers or tax credits you can’t also use tax-free childcare to pay for childcare. The Government has a childcare calculator to work out which scheme is best for you.