Professional December 2017/January 2018


Tax-free doesn’t always mean stress free

The CIPP policy and research team outlines a compensation scheme in respect of operational issues with the tax-free childcare scheme

Y ou know that teething problems are occurring when details of a compensation scheme appear on GOV.UK ( A brief re-cap Tax-free childcare (TFC) launched in April 2017 and is being rolled out to parents by age of the child, starting with parents of the youngest child. When their youngest child becomes eligible, they can apply for all their children at the same time. Parents can find out who the service is currently available to at They can also sign up to receive an email alert to notify them when their youngest child becomes eligible. Parents whose youngest child was born on or after 1 April 2013 can now apply at A parent cannot be in receipt of TFC and childcare vouchers (CCVs) at the same time and will need to provide a written notification (which can be an email) to their employer to indicate that they wish to stop their vouchers when they move to TFC. This notification needs to be provided within ninety days of the parent making a successful application. Once an employee has given this notification to an employer they cannot

compensation claimants might be entitled to if they have been unable to access TFC because of the technical issues with the childcare service. Examples of issues parents may have experienced that could make them eligible for compensation include: ● being unable to complete the application for TFC ● being unable to access their childcare account to make a payment to the childcare provider – where parents have to use their own account to make the payment the compensation will ensure they receive the benefit of the twenty per cent top up ● experiencing a delay of more than twenty days in receiving confirmation of eligibility. If a parent has been unable to access TFC through their childcare account for technical reasons, they may be able to claim compensation. HMRC will also consider refunding any reasonable costs directly caused by the service not working as it should, mistakes or unreasonable delays. Guidance on GOV.UK links to an i-form that affected parents should complete to make their claim. HMRC will write to confirm if the application has been successful and if so will make a payment directly into their bank account. For more information and for details on how to apply, follow this link: For providers, HMRC do not pay compensation for loss of time; however, if a childcare provider can evidence financial loss as a result of the technical difficulties then they can also apply for compensation.

return to that employer’s voucher scheme. The parent could, however, join a different childcare voucher scheme if they were to commence employment before April 2018 with a new employer which offers such vouchers. The parent would then have to stop reconfirming for TFC. Unused childcare vouchers can still be used after moving over to TFC and there is no time limit by when they need to be used. Childcare Choices is the information delivery vessel which introduces the support available to working parents for early education and childcare and increasingly this information and guidance (scant as it currently is) will be found on GOV.UK. Compensation scheme In September 2017, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) published guidance on compensation for parents who had experienced problems accessing their TFC account. HMRC are aware that some parents and providers have experienced technical difficulties with the childcare service and send their apologies for this. HMRC continues to make progress in resolving issues and are monitoring issues and take on board feedback. The guidance looked to explain what

...refunding any reasonable costs directly caused by the service not working as it should, mistakes or unreasonable delays

| Professional in Payroll, Pensions and Reward | December 2017/January 2018 | Issue 36 18

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