The Tax-Free Childcare scheme provides help with the cost of childcare for working families. Parents of children aged under 12 and parents of disabled children aged under 17 can apply online through the UK government childcare service which can be accessed via the Childcare Choices website.
If you’re a working parent with children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children), you can open an online account to pay for registered childcare. The government will top-up the money you pay into the account. For every £8 you pay in, the government will add an extra £2. You can receive up to £2,000 per child – that’s up to £500 every three months. If you have a disabled child, you can receive up to £4,000 per child – that’s up to £1,000 every three months.
You, and any partner, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £125 per week (equal to 16 hours at the 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.
If either you, or your partner, expect to earn £100,000 or more, you can’t get Tax-Free Childcare. You can’t use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits. You can use it with the 15 hours and 30 hours schemes.
You can use Tax-Free Childcare to help pay:
Registered childminders, nurseries and nannies
Registered after-school clubs and playschemes
Home careworkers working for a registered home care agency