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Money Issues

Tax Credits

Child Tax Credit is available for families with children whether or not you are in work. The amount you receive is based on your annual income and will decrease as your income rises. This may be used to cover childcare costs but is not specifically a payment for childcare.

Working Tax Credit supports working people (employed or self-employed) on low incomes. You must be working 16 hours as a single person or 24 hours between you if you are part of a couple, with one of you working a minimum of 16 hours. The amount you receive is based on your annual income and will decrease as your income rises.

Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit can help towards the costs of registered or approved childcare if you are eligible. The amount you receive is dependent on the household income and your childcare costs. You may be better off using childcare vouchers if your income is high.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit will be the new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. At the moment only new single claimants are able to access Universal Credit. It is due for further rollout, including families with children during 2016-17.

Childcare Vouchers

Some employers offer childcare vouchers to their employees. The money comes out of your pay but you do not pay tax or National Insurance contributions on this money. Your childcare provider will need to register with the childcare voucher company in order for you to be able to use this scheme. You can sign up to this scheme until 2018.

Tax-Free Childcare

The Tax-Free Childcare scheme will be available for all working parents (including self-employed) and doesn’t rely on your employer offering a scheme. This scheme will available from 2017 and the Government will top up the amount you pay into the scheme. If you are already accessing childcare vouchers you continue to access them for as long as your employer continues to offer them.

This calculator will help you to decide whether you’re better off using tax credits or childcare vouchers


The Money Advice Service has a number of practical hints and tips to help you make your money go further as well as a budget planner to help manage your money.


Confidential, practical advice and support with debt issues can be provided by: