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Your employer may offer you childcare vouchers to help with your childcare costs. They could be in return for a reduction in your pay - known as a 'salary sacrifice'. Childcare vouchers may affect the amount of tax credits you can get. This online calculator can help you decide whether - overall - you would be better off taking the vouchers or not.
On this page:
If you work and pay for childcare, your employer might be able to help with some of your childcare costs. Childcare vouchers are one way they can do this.
Leaflet IR115 explains more about childcare vouchers, and the other ways employers can help with childcare.
If you've been offered childcare vouchers by your employer, go to step one.
If your employer doesn't offer childcare vouchers, the calculator won't apply to you. But you can still use the calculator to see if you might benefit from vouchers. To do this, you should answer the questions as if you have been offered vouchers, and enter estimated amounts. If the results show that you'd be better off with vouchers, speak to your employer to see if they would consider offering them.
Check if both of the following apply:
If both apply, go to step two.
If one of the following applies, you don't need to use the calculator - you will be better off accepting childcare vouchers:
If neither of these apply to you, go to step three.
Don't use this calculator if you can answer 'yes' to any of the following:
If any of these apply to you and you think you qualify for tax credits, you should make a claim. If you're already getting tax credits, and you accept the vouchers let the Tax Credit Office know. You'll need to tell them how much your income and childcare costs have gone down by.
If none of these apply, you can use the calculator.
Get together details of all your income (and your partner's if you have one) for:
Work out your average weekly childcare costs before you start the calculator. This will help to save you time when you're asked for the information. For the calculator, you must include costs covered by any childcare vouchers you've been offered (including vouchers in return for a salary sacrifice).
Get together details of the following:
If your employer makes direct payments to a childcare provider, treat those payments as if they were vouchers when you use the calculator.
The results are only a guide to whether you would be better off taking childcare vouchers. Your tax credits entitlement is worked out when you actually make a claim, or report a change of circumstances.
You may want to print off the results.
Any childcare vouchers you get in return for a reduction in your pay (called a 'salary sacrifice'), will reduce your hourly salary rate. This could take you below the national minimum wage for your age group. The results page will tell you if this might be a problem.
If this happens you may wish to speak to the Pay and Work Rights Helpline for help and advice.