This scheme is set up to help working families, including the self-employed with their childcare costs for children aged 0 to 11 years or up to 16 years if the young person is disabled.
You can get up to £500 every three months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every three months if the child/young person is disabled (up to £4,000 a year).
Am I eligible?
To be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare, you must have a National Insurance number and at least one of the following:
- British or Irish citizenship
- settled or pre-settled status, or you have applied and you’re waiting for a decision
- permission to access public funds - your UK residence card will tell you if you cannot do this
If you have a partner, they must have a National Insurance number too.
You, and any partner, must be over 16 and each expect to earn (on average) at least the equivalent of 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage.
If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you're unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible.
You cannot get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.
You can't get Tax-Free Childcare if either you, or your partner, each individually expect to earn £100,000 or more.
If you’re not currently working
You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.
You can apply if you’re starting or re-starting work within the next 31 days.
How can I use it?
You can use Tax-Free Childcare all year round to spend on regulated childcare, such as:
- childminders, nurseries and nannies
- before and after-school clubs and holiday clubs
For example, if your childcare costs are £750 per month, you would pay £600 into your childcare account and the government would pay in £150. This would be an annual saving of £1,800 per child.
For more information or to apply please visit Childcare Choices.