Skip to main content

Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare is for working families, including those self-employed.

You can get up to £500 every 3 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 3 months if a child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year).

How does it work?

For every £8 you pay into your online account, the government will pay in £2. This means you can get up to £2,000 per year for each child towards the cost of childcare (or up to £4,000 per year if your child is disabled).

This money can then be used to pay for approved childcare, such as a:

  • Childminder
  • Nursery
  • Nannie
  • After school or holiday clubs

The childcare provider must also be signed up to the scheme before you can pay them and benefit from Tax-Free Childcare. Please check with your provider to see if they’ve signed up.

Eligibility criteria:

You can claim Tax-Free Childcare if:

  • You have a child aged 0-11 years old (or until 16 if they are disabled)
  • You, and any partner, must be over 16 and each expect to earn (on average) at least £167 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. 
  • You can't get Tax-Free Childcare if either you, or your partner, each individually expect to earn £100,000 or more.

You can find more information on the eligibility criteria at Tax-Free Childcare - GOV.UK (

Important points to consider:

You cannot get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.

Which scheme you’re better off with depends on your situation. Use the childcare calculator to work out which type of support is best for you.

You can read further information under the ‘If you get tax credits, Universal Credit, a childcare bursary or grant, or childcare vouchers’ section at Tax-Free Childcare - GOV.UK (

How to apply:

There's one application for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare. As part of your application, you will find out if you can get both.

To apply you’ll need your details (and your partner’s, if you have one), including your:

  • National Insurance number
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), if you’re self-employed

Apply online for Tax-Free Childcare

If you're eligible you'll get a childcare account. You can use this to pay your childcare provider.

You must confirm your details are up to date every 3 months. Do this through your childcare account

Already have an account? Sign in to your childcare account

Last Updated 16/11/2023

Share your feedback on this page

Please provide feedback on our website. Try to include any constructive suggestions for improvements and we will do our best to incorporate them.

rating button