Help with childcare costs

Tax-Free Childcare

You can apply for an online Tax-Free Childcare account to help pay for childcare.

For every £8 you pay into your online account, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child per year. This goes up to £4,000 a year if a child is disabled. Other people, such as family members and employers, can also pay into the account.

You can use the full balance of the account to pay up to 10 childcare providers. You will need to make a separate payment for each eligible child.

You can use Tax-Free Childcare together with 15 or 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year-olds.


Online Tax-Free Childcare accounts are for working families, including the self-employed. 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, and any partner, must be over 16 years-old and must each expect to earn an average of £167 per week over a period of 3 months. You can't get Tax-Free Childcare if either you, or your partner, each individually expect to earn £100,000 a year or more.

You can apply for Tax-Free Childcare if your child is less than 12 years-old, or less than 17 years-old with a disability and either:

  • receiving Disability Living Allowance
  • receiving a Personal Independence Payment
  • receiving an Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • severely sight-impaired

Go to GOV.UK: Tax-Free Childcare – step-by-step for full details.

You can't use Tax-Free Childcare together with:

  • tax credits
  • Universal Credit
  • childcare vouchers

Use the government's online childcare calculator to work out if you'll be better off with Tax-Free Childcare before you apply – go to GOV.UK: Childcare calculator.

Apply for Tax-Free Childcare

You can apply both for 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year-olds and Tax-Free Childcare in the same place through a single application. Go to HM Government: Childcare Choices.

After you start receiving your tax-free childcare, you will get an email or text message from the government every 3 months, asking you to re-apply.