Help paying for approved childcare

If you work and your children are under 12, you might be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare. This can help pay for approved childcare.

Approved childcare

You can get help paying for approved childcare provided by:

  • a registered childminder, play scheme, nursery or club
  • a school registered to provide childcare
  • an approved home childcarer

'Approved' means the childcare setting is registered with and inspected by one of the Health and Social Care Trusts.

Tax-Free childcare

If you're a working parent or self-employed with children under 12 (under 17 for children with disabilities), you can open an online account to pay for approved childcare.  You can only get help paying the childcare provider if they’re already in the Tax-Free childcare scheme.

The government tops-up the money you pay into the childcare account.

For every £8.00 you pay in, the government adds £2.00  to your account. You can receive up to £2,000 for each child - that's up to £500 every three months. You can receive up to £4,000 for a child with a disability- that's up to £1,000 every three months.

Parents eligible for Tax-Free Childcare

To get Tax-Free Childcare, you or your partner must be:

  • working or getting parental leave, sick leave or annual leave
  • earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week

Parents not eligible for Tax-Free Childcare

You can't get Tax-Free Childcare if you or your partner earn £100, 000 or more in a year. You can’t use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as:

  • Universal Credit
  • tax credits
  • childcare vouchers 

Childcare vouchers

Childcare voucher schemes closed to new people on 4 October 2018. If you were in the scheme before this date and your employer continues the scheme, you can keep getting the vouchers. 

Applying for Tax-Free Childcare

To apply online for Tax-Free Childcare, go to:

More useful links



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