Childcare vouchers: don't miss out

Rachel Lacey warns how higher rate taxpayers could miss out on thousands of pounds of tax savings, if they don't sign up for childcare vouchers by April.

Each month my husband and I save more than £160 on our childcare bill and it's not by claiming benefits or knocking off work early.

The reason we manage to get around one free week a month is by using our employers' childcare voucher schemes.

As a mum and a financial journalist it's something I'm passionate about - the savings are huge, yet there are thousands of parents that don't know about them and employers that don't offer them, even though it saves them money too.

I'm particularly vocal about it at the moment as the rules are changing in April, slashing the benefits for higher rate tax-payers from £1200 to just £600 a year.

But if you join a scheme before the 5 April you won't be affected unless you change jobs.

You also won't be affected if you pay basic rate tax – with savings staying at around £900 a year.

Most public sector employers offer vouchers as do many firms in the private sector. If yours is one of those that doesn't speak to HR.

Childcare vouchers save employers up to £373 in national insurance per employee and voucher companies look after the admin.

If you want to find out more about childcare vouchers and how they work check out our website. Just don't hang about if you pay higher rate tax – speak to your employer today.