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COVID-19: Childcare support criteria relaxed

13 May 2020: The UK government is temporarily relaxing the eligibility criteria for tax-free childcare and 30 hours free childcare to support working parents during the coronavirus pandemic.

HMRC has published new guidance for parents applying for, or already receiving tax-free childcare and 30 hours free childcare, during the coronavirus pandemic.

It confirms that parents whose earnings are now below the minimum earning requirement, but would normally expect to earn above it, can continue to access tax-free and 30 hours free childcare.

It outlines additional relaxations for critical workers. For example, for those that are now working more as a result of COVID-19 and whose earnings now exceed the threshold of £100,000 per year can still continue to receive the support. The guidance also provides information for parents who are:

  • on furlough
  • not able to work (including having been made redundant) or are working less; and
  • self-employed (depending on whether or not they are claiming universal credit).

HMRC provides details on the changes for each group and confirms that these parents may need to update their childcare account to reconfirm eligibility, or to apply now if they are not already receiving tax-free or 30 hours childcare.

Critical workers who missed the 31 March reconfirmation or application deadline for 30 hours free childcare can still apply or reconfirm if they already have a childcare account. HMRC confirms that local authorities will be able to extend the validity dates on 30 hours codes for eligible critical worker parents during the summer term.