Only two weeks into its launch, parents and providers are having trouble with the scheme.
Many providers have reported they were not able to sign up to the Tax-Free Childcare scheme because they either did not receive a temporary password from HMRC, or the one they were given doesn’t work.
In other cases, settings do not know their Unique Tax Reference, which is needed for registration, or the case that charity-run settings do not have one.
There have been concerns from the Childcare Voucher Providers Association that parents wanting to use the TFC (Tax-Free Childcare) will be left out, as only a third of providers in the UK have signed up to the scheme.
Elouisa Chowne, manager of Goring Little Fishes Pre-school in West Sussex, wrote on Facebook how: “I have no UTR as we are a charity. I’ve rang four times and they’ve said they will send it through. Still nothing. I have working families who will use this and asked about it. Completely frustrating.”
Another provider in London, Tina Alder, said she was still waiting after being sent an incorrect password months ago.
Others have been unable to sign up to the scheme because of glitches in the website, because it is still in an early version. On 9th May, a notification was sent saying there will be ‘planned technical updates’ and the service ‘will be temporarily unavailable.’ However, the next day the website was still down with the messages ‘we’re experiencing technical difficulties’ and ‘we don’t know when the service will be available again.’
Some of the providers that have successfully signed up are still waiting for payment, despite the parents transferring the money through a digital system.
Ali Hart, a childminder in West Sussex, commented on Facebook on the 9th May saying: “They [HMRC] can’t tell me when I will get my money. This will be the only parent that pays me via the Government. I’m not accepting other payments [through Tax-Free Childcare] until all the problems are solved.”
Parents are also reported to have had difficulties with the website; including long delays to accounts being approved and not being able to access accounts.
A parent who went through the trial scheme and whose workplace doesn’t offer vouchers said that only 1 out of 3 payments made to her nursery went through without a problem.
She added on Facebook that: “I was asked to be part of the trial in January and have had no end of problems with it. Last month, the Government didn’t add the top-up so I had to pay my nursery [by other means] or face a fine. I called the helpline and [logged] the issue – an error on their side. I called again yesterday for an update, but they had no record of my previous call. It’s a shambles. I’m so fed up of it. Don’t even think it’s worth the stress and phone calls.”
A spokesperson for the HMRC said: “The childcare service is a new digital service. New or redesigned digital services are regularly launched on GOV.UK and are continually tested and improved. We urgently investigate any issues encountered by parents or providers as soon as these are brought to our attention.”
We’ve been trying to log on to the system for hours a night since signing up a few weeks ago for the trial. In that time we have not been able to access the site once. We go through the login to the gateway, receive a text code, and then just get a blank page or the technical difficulties page. It’s infuriating, and there doesn’t seem to be anything they’re prepared to do about it. We didn’t sign up for the old scheme in order to go for this so we’re quite a lot out of pocket now we’ve had to start paying the childcare costs.
I set up my tax free childcare account with no issues and on the confirmation page there was a link to pay money into the account. But…their website crashed and now I can’t find any way to pay money in. When I go to the government site and click on “Access the Service as a Parent” it just takes me to the information and sign up pages. Why don’t they have a login link??? I’ve searched on google and looked all around the HMRC site and info pages and can’t find it anywhere!!
I registered one month ago but when I login it still says my application is being considered. I’m having second thoughts on this now.
It’s absolutely ridiculous. My money is trapped in the HMRC system. I topped up my account with £320 and I’m supposed to pay my childminder but I cannot log in the TFC website. It’s been 5 days already.
The website is a joke…
im having a similar issue. I depositted money into my account and then subsequently cancelled my account, filled in details to refund my money….6 weeks later i am still chasing for my money. a’tech report’ has been filled but they cant give a timeframe as this is not how they work.
Still waiting……I want my money back HMRC!!!!
My childcare provider is a charity run setting and has still not received their UTR. As a family, we hope to benefit from the tax free childcare option as my husband doesn’t get childcare vouchers currently, so I was excited to setup our Account…but that is as far as I have managed to get, as I cannot add my childcare provider.
They have chased HMRC, and were told it should be with them within a week…standard response.??? They still haven’t received anything 3 weeks later and I am getting increasingly frustrated….although reading comments from others, there are obviously lots of things that are not working, so even when we do get things setup, what will go wrong next???
Provider still awaiting their UTD code and we are now 2 months since the service went live! It’s infuriating for both my provider and us…..