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Tax-Free Childcare information for parents

The Tax-Free Childcare scheme is available to parents of children under 12 years old (under 17 if they have a disability).

Who can get Tax-Free Childcare?

If you're a working parent, you can apply for Tax-Free Childcare which is available now. Tax-Free Childcare will replace Childcare Vouchers and will not be available to new applicants from April 2018.

You can apply if you have a:

  • child under 5 on 31 August 2017
  • disabled child who is under 17

If your child is over 5 you can  sign up to receive email alerts (opens in a new window) to notify you when you're able to apply for the funding​.

See the full eligibility criteria (opens in a new window). You may also be eligible for 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.

How do I use Tax-Free Childcare and how much can I get?

You will set up an online childcare account to pay your childcare provider from. Every child will have a Tax-Free Childcare reference number. You can use this number to help identify payments.

For every £8 you pay into the account, the government will pay £2 (£4 for disabled children). The most the government will pay is £2,000 per child per year, and £4,000 for disabled children.

You can only use Tax-Free Childcare to pay for registered or approved providers who sign up to the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

Check if your provider is signed up to Tax-Free Childcare

If you're unsure whether your childcare provider is signed up to Tax-Free Childcare, use the provider checker. To find your provider, search by their postcode. If you're unsure of their postcode, search form them in our  Family Information Directory (opens in a new window).

If you haven't started using a childcare provider yet (maybe because you're on maternity leave), you can still set up an account to start saving. 

Check your provider

If your provider isn't signed up to the scheme, they can register via the  GOV childcare service (opens in a new window).

Can I claim Tax-Free Childcare alongside other funding?

If you are already claiming Tax Credits or Childcare Vouchers, you cannot claim Tax-Free Childcare too. Use the government's  childcare funding calculator (opens in a new window) to work out which is better for your family and find how much you could receive. You can claim both Tax-Free Childcare and up to 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.

How to apply

If eligible apply for Tax-Free Childcare through the new Childcare Service. If you are eligible for 30 hours, you can apply through the same application. 

Apply for Tax-Free Childcare

Reconfirm your eligibility

If you are claiming Tax-Free Childcare you must reconfirm your eligibility. You must do this 3 months from the date you applied to receive the funding. You must do this every 3 months.

Find out how to reconfirm your eligibility

Access your childcare account

If you are having trouble accessing your account or cannot recall how to do it, see our guidance on signing into your childcare account

More information

To find out about fee charging policies, extra costs, paying for fees, deposits and retainers, speak to your childcare provider.

More information on the government's childcare schemes is available on the Childcare Choices website (opens in a new window).

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