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  • Catherine Stork

Make the Most of Your Change in Circumstance

For many of us, these unprecedented times have resulted in a change of circumstance. With this in mind, we've put together a collection of opportunities which could now be relevant for finding some additional support during these difficult times.



1. High Income Child Benefit Charge


For many, the coronavirus panic has resulted in a greatly reduced income. This means that liability to the High Income Child Benefit Charge may change. This applies to where the child benefit claimant or their partner has an adjusted net income of over £50,000 in a tax year. This is effectively an additional tax paid by the higher adjusted net income earner, equal to 1% of the child benefit received by them for each £100 over the threshold.


Those with an adjusted net income over £60,000 per calendar may have not claimed child benefit as the value is reclaimed by the tax charge at this figure. However, with a recent change in circumstances, it may be worth reevaluating this as you may now be able to receive some support through the Child Benefit Scheme.


2. Childcare Schemes


With the closures of many schools and nurseries during the coronavirus pandemic, for many parents childcare arrangements have been greatly disrupted in recent months. If this is the case for you, you may be interested to hear more about how to get money out of tax relief childcare saving schemes.


Tax-Free Childcare


Tax-free childcare (TFC) accounts can provide relief if this is the case. If you meet certain conditions, money you pay into the TFC will be topped up by the government. From here you can make payments to your childcare provider through this account.


You can find out more and apply here.


Childcare Vouchers


Employees within a employer-supported childcare scheme may benefit from a salary-sacrifice system. This means you would agree to take less salary in exchange for childcare vouchers.


Employees can take temporary breaks from this scheme for up to 52 weeks, so long as you return to receiving the vouchers within this time. There is also an option to reduce the vouchers and remain on the scheme which may be beneficial if you are required to pay a retention fee to avoid losing a place with the childcare provider.


3. Help to Save Scheme


This scheme was originally launched to help low-income earners claiming universal credit or working tax credits to save money.


As many people have experienced an income cut during coronavirus and are now claiming universal credit for the first time, many more have recently become eligible for the scheme. Figures from before coronavirus estimated that around 3.5 million people might have been eligible. This number is now likely to be much higher.


The Help to Save Scheme paying a 50% bonus on the amount saved over a four year period, up to £1200. You can save between £1 and £50 a month but there is no requirement to ave every month. At the end of two years, and again at four years, you're paid your 50% bonus into your bank account, up to the maximum of £1200.


Am I eligible?


To be eligible, you need to:

  • Be a UK resident.

  • Receive universal credit with an employment income of £604.56.

  • Be entitled to working tax credit and receiving working or child tax credit.

You can apply though the Help to Save page on gov.uk.


For further guidance specific to your circumstances, we recommend meeting with an accountant. For more information and advice, get in touch with Catherine today. Give her a call on 01423 431889 or email catherine@bctaccountants.co.uk.

The information above is correct as of 1st July 2020.

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