Tax Free Childcare

Information on the the eligibility and criteria for Tax Free childcare scheme, including how payments are made.

Eligibility and Criteria

The scheme is available for children aged 11 and under (up to 17 for children with disabilities). They stop being eligible on 1 September after their 11th birthday.

For every £8 a parent pays into their childcare account, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can get up to £2,000 government support per child per year (or £4,000 if the child is disabled) towards their childcare costs and use this money to pay their childcare provider.

Parents can't use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as they receive childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits. However, in England parents can use Tax-Free Childcare alongside the 15 and 30 hours free childcare schemes. 

Parents are able to check whether Tax-Free Childcare is the best offer for them using the childcare calculator.

Payments via parent Tax-Free Childcare accounts

Childcare providers must sign up to be able to receive payments from parents through the scheme. Parents are able to pay their childcare provider from their childcare account only if their childcare provider is signed up to Tax-Free Childcare.

To sign up, childcare providers will need:

  • their 10-digit Unique Tax Reference (UTR) 
  • their school/business bank account details for payments to be paid into.

Once signed up, providers will appear on a new digital tool which lets parents search for childcare providers who can be paid using Tax-Free Childcare.

When registering to pay via the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, we recommend you ask parents for their child's Tax-Free Childcare reference number to help you identify their payments.

Contact Details

  • Government's childcare service helpline on 0300 123 4097.
Last update: Thursday 4th of June 2020 02:33:45 PM