Childcare support: Q & A

HMRC has taken part in a Q & A on the two major childcare support policies launched by the Government.

child's drawing


How much money can I get through Tax-Free Childcare?

You can get up to £500 every 3 months (£2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. For disabled children, you can get up to £1,000 every three months (£4,000 a year). The government will top up £2 for every £8 you pay into your online childcare account. This can be used to pay regulated childcare providers.

Who is eligible for Tax-Free Childcare?

Tax-Free Childcare is available to working parents regardless of where they work, earning from £125 a week on average (16 hours at National Minimum Wage) and up to £100,000 a year. It is also available to self-employed parents. For two-parent families, both parents need to be working.

How can I calculate how much help with childcare is available to me?

Parents can visit Childcare Choices and use the childcare calculator to work out which type of support is best for them.

What age do my children have to be to get Tax-Free Childcare?

Your child must be aged under 12. They stop being eligible on 1 September after their 11th birthday.

How many people are eligible?

Around 1.5 million working parents are likely to be eligible.

What is regulated childcare?

Tax-Free Childcare can be used for a whole range of regulated childcare, from childminders and nurseries to after-school and holiday clubs. The childcare needs to regulated through Ofsted in England or the equivalent body.

I already get 30 hours of free childcare – can I apply for Tax-Free Childcare?

Yes, you can get and use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as 30 hours free childcare.

Can I use it with Universal Credit or Tax Credits?

No, you can’t use it if you get either Universal Credit or Tax Credits.

How do I apply?

Go to the Childcare Choices website. And after checking that it’s right for you, apply for your online childcare account. It should only take around 20 minutes to apply and most parents find out straightaway if they’re eligible. You can then start paying money in and receiving top-ups, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child, per year (£4,000 for disabled children).

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