Tax Free Childcare...

Tax Free childcare is a new government scheme introduced to help your family with the cost of childcare and will support you into work or to increase your hours at work, should you wish to. You could get up to £2,000 government support per child per year, (a maximum of £500 per child per quarter) towards your childcare costs.

You can apply for Tax-Free Childcare if:

  • You and your partner (or the sole parent in a lone-parent family), are in work with each parent earning, on average, a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW) and not more than £100,000 or more for at least one parent per household per year.
  • Your child is less than 12 years old (or less than 17 years old if they have Special Educational Needs) 
  • The child you are applying for usually lives with you
  • You work in the UK (if you’re a Crown servant or member of the HM Armed Forces posted overseas you can still get Tax-Free Childcare if your childcare provider is UK regulated)

If you are self employed you are entitled to a start-up period during your first 12 months of self-employment. During this time, you don’t have to earn the minimum £115 a week to be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare. However, you cannot use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as receiving vouchers, Universal Credit or Tax Credits.


To check your eligibility...

  • Use the Childcare Calculator to see if you qualify for Tax-Free Childcare
  • Select “keep me updated” in the Childcare Calculator to ensure you receive Tax-Fee Childcare updates
  • You will receive an email informing you when you can sign up to Tax-Free Childcare
  • You will need to set up a Tax-Free Childcare account
  • Once you set up your Childcare account, you will receive a welcome pack

Once you’ve successfully applied for your online account, you; 

  • Can set up payments from your bank to your childcare account which will receive the government top up
  • Set up payments to your registered childcare provider(s)
  • Will receive a BACS reference number per child which you must provide to us in order for us to allocate payments against your childcare fees


Your Childcare Account...

You and others can pay into your childcare account as and when you like. How much you pay into your Childcare Account, and when, is up to you. You can make one-off payments or set-up a standing order to make regular payments into your Childcare Account.

Every 3 months, you will receive a reminder to reconfirm your eligibility, simply tick the box to confirm that your details have not changed. If you do not reconfirm your eligibility, you will no longer receive government top ups until you do so.

If your circumstances change or you no longer want to pay into the account, then you’ll be able to withdraw the money you have built up. If you do, the government will withdraw its corresponding contribution.

Parents will be able to apply for both Tax Free Childcare and the extended entitlement through a joint application developed by HMRC.


Useful information...

You can use the Childcare Calculator to see if you are eligible and would benefit from Tax Free Childcare by going to:

If you want to opt into Tax-Free Childcare and are currently receiving other support or benefits, you may need to take action:

  • If you are getting childcare vouchers, you will need to tell your employer that you no longer want them
  • If you are getting Universal Credit, you will need to ask Jobcentre Plus to terminate your claim
  • If you are getting tax credits, your payments will automatically stop when you get Tax-Free Childcare

For more information about Tax-Free Childcare as a parent, go to
10- things-parents-should-know

For any other enquiries, please call the Childcare Service Helpline on 0300 123 4097


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