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Childcare Payments Act 2014

Childcare Accounts

Section 23: Refunds of payments from childcare accounts

112.Section 23 sets out the rules which apply when payments from a childcare account are refunded. These rules are needed to deal with payments from childcare accounts that are too high and lead to the childcare provider giving a refund.

113.If a payment is made from a childcare account and the whole or part of that payment becomes repayable to the account-holder, subsection (1) requires it to be repaid into the childcare account. This is because any refund will contain a top-up element which needs to be spent on qualifying childcare or returned to HMRC.

114.An example of this could be where an account-holder makes an advance payment of £1,000 to a nursery from their childcare account, but the nursery cannot provide all of the childcare and they give the account provider a refund of £500. Because of the calculation in section 21, this will consist of a qualifying payment of £400 and a top-up element of £100. The refund must be returned to the childcare account, but because of section 19(1)(b) it will not attract a further top-up payment. Once this amount has been returned to the account, the account-holder will be able either to spend the £500 on qualifying childcare or to withdraw their original £400 qualifying payment, in which case the £100 of top-up will be returned to HMRC.

115.Subsection (2) deals with cases where a repayment is made partly of money from a childcare account and partly of money which is not from the childcare account. In such cases, any part of the repayment which is more than the amount that is not from the childcare account must be put into the childcare account.

116.To illustrate this, assume that an account-holder needs to pay £1,000 for qualifying childcare, but because they only have £700 in their childcare account they pay the remaining £300 from their bank account. However, the childcare provider subsequently refunds £500 which is treated as consisting of £300 from the bank account and £200 from the childcare account. The £200 must be repaid into the childcare account and will not attract a top-up payment.

117.Subsections (3) and (4) deal with cases where the childcare account has been closed before the repayment can be made into it. In such cases the childcare provider must pay the repayment to the account provider. The account provider must then return the top-up element to HMRC and pay the remainder to the person that held the account.

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