Tax and national insurance

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Many people may find it daunting trying to understand the complexities around fostering and their tax and national insurance contributions. At The Fostering Network we have publications and helplines to help foster carers better understand what it means for them and their finances.

Foster carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes. There is a specific tax scheme foster carers can use called qualifying care relief. The scheme calculates a tax threshold unique to the fostering household which determines if a foster carer has to pay any tax from their fostering.

Anyone who is self-employed must register to pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions. If a foster carer’s taxable profit from self-employment is nil or below £5,965 (2015-16) they automatically qualify for the Small Profit Threshold (SPT) and will be exempt from paying the contributions.

The individual circumstances of the foster carer will determine if this is the best option for them or whether they have to make other arrangements to maintain their national insurance record.

Further information about tax and national insurance is available on HM Revenue and Customs website along with a tax and national insurance e-learning course.

How we can help foster carers

Income Tax and National Insurance: Signposts in Fostering

We have produced a paid-for publication to help provide foster carers with information about income tax and national insurance. It covers the following:
  • How the qualifying care relief scheme for income tax works.
  • How foster carers should calculate their tax threshold and complete a tax return if they need to.
  • How fostering affects national insurance contributions.
  • What happens if a young person stays on after their 18th birthday.

You can purchase our Income Tax and National Insurance publication online.

This publication is available to our members at a discounted price.

Advice for our members

We have provided more information, including a short film, to help members of The Fostering Network understand their tax and national insurance contributions. Find out more


Our helplines

Our member helplines provide confidential, independent and impartial advice for foster carers in the UK.

Our online community

Our members also have exclusive access to our online community where you can log in to share your experience and get advice from other foster carers. The community is a safe and secure area to discuss topics including being a foster carer and looking after a child, as well as advice on finances.