Help paying for childcare - Tax Free Childcare
You can get up to £500 every 3 months (£2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare.
If you get Tax-Free Childcare, the government will pay £2 for every £8 you pay your childcare provider via an online account.
You can get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as 30 hours free childcare if you’re eligible for both.
If you’ve already registered, you can sign in to your childcare account.
You and your partner
You can usually get Tax-Free Childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:
- in work - or getting parental leave, sick leave or annual leave
- each earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week - this is £125.28 if you’re 25 or over
This earnings limit does not apply if you’re self-employed and started your business less than 12 months ago.
You’re not eligible if:
- your child does not usually live with you
- the child is your foster child
- either you or your partner has a taxable income over £100,000
- you’re from outside the EEA and your UK residence card says you cannot access public funds
If you’re not currently working
You can apply if you’re starting or re-starting work within the next 31 days.
If you’re on parental leave, you cannot apply for the child you’re on leave for.
You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.
Your child must be 11 or under and usually live with you. They stop being eligible on 1 September after their 11th birthday.
Adopted children are eligible, but foster children are not.
If your child is disabled you may get up to £4,000 a year until they’re 17. They’re eligible for this if they:
- get Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Armed Forces Independence Payment
- are registered as blind or severely sight-impaired
Your childcare provider
Your childcare provider must be signed up to the scheme before you can pay them and benefit from Tax-Free Childcare.
Check with your provider to see if they’re signed up.
If you get tax credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers
You cannot get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.
Which scheme you’re better off with depends on your situation. Use the childcare calculator to work out which type of support is best for you.
When support will stop
If you successfully apply for Tax-Free Childcare:
- Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit stops straight away
- childcare vouchers can continue for up to 90 days
You should apply for Tax-Free Childcare before cancelling your Universal Credit claim.
Apply for Tax-Free Childcare
You’ll need your details (and your partner’s, if you have one), including your:
- National Insurance number
- Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), if you’re self-employed
It takes 20 minutes to apply.
You can make a payment the day after you put money in your account. It usually takes 3 working days for the money to reach your provider’s account.
As part of your application, you’ll find out if you’re eligible for both Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare. You may find out straight away, but it can take up to 7 days.