Help towards childcare costs
Do you claim for Tax-Free Childcare?
If not, you could be missing out on up to £2,000 a year to help with the cost of childcare.
Tax-Free Childcare – the 20% childcare top-up – provides eligible working families with up to £500 every three months (or £1,000 if their child is disabled) towards the cost of holiday clubs, before and after-school clubs, childminders and nurseries, and other accredited childcare schemes.
Tax-Free Childcare is available for children aged up to 11, or 17 if the child has a disability. For every £8 deposited into an account, families will receive an additional £2 in government top-up.
What you can use Tax-Free Childcare for
You can use it to pay for approved childcare, for example:
- childminders, nurseries and nannies
- after school clubs and play schemes
Your childcare provider must be signed up to the scheme before you can pay them and benefit from Tax-Free Childcare.
Check with your provider to see if they’re signed up.
If your child is disabled
You can use the extra Tax-Free Childcare money you get to help pay for extra hours of childcare. You can also use it to help pay your childcare provider so they can get specialist equipment for your child such as mobility aids. Talk to them about what equipment your child can get.
Your eligibility depends on:
- if you are working
- your income (and your partner’s income, if you have one)
- your child’s age and circumstances
- your immigration status
- If you are working
You can usually get Tax-Free Childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:
- in work
- on sick leave or annual leave
- on shared parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave
If you’re on adoption leave, you cannot apply for the child you’re on leave for unless you’re going back to work within 31 days of the date you first applied.
If you’re not currently working
You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.
You can apply if you’re starting or re-starting work within the next 31 days.
You’ll need to expect to earn a certain amount over the next 3 months. This is at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week on average.
For example, over the next 3 months you expect to earn at least £1,853.28 - the National Living Wage for people over 23.
If you have a partner, they’ll need to expect to earn at least this much too.
If you’re self-employed and do not expect to make enough profit in the next 3 months, you can use an average of how much you expect to make over the current tax year.
This earnings limit does not apply if you’re self-employed and started your business less than 12 months ago.
If you or your partner have an expected ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000 in the current tax year you will not be eligible. This includes any bonuses you expect to get.
Your adjusted net income is your total taxable income before any personal allowances and minus things like Gift Aid.
Your child must be 11 or under and usually live with you. They stop being eligible on 1 September after their 11th birthday.
Adopted children are eligible, but foster children are not.
If your child is disabled you may get up to £4,000 a year until they’re 17. They’re eligible for this if they:
- get Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Armed Forces Independence Payment or Child Disability Payment (Scotland only)
- are certified as blind or severely sight-impaired
For more information go to https://www.gov.uk/tax-free-childcare