Access childcare support through the childcare service

2. Tax-Free Childcare

Parents will be able to open a new childcare account. For every £8 a parent pays into their childcare account, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can get up to £2000 government support per child per year towards their childcare costs - that's up to £500 every 3 months. If they have a disabled child, they can receive up to £4000 per child – a total of £1000 every 3 months. They can then use this money to pay their childcare provider.

The government has started inviting parents to apply for Tax-Free Childcare beginning with parents of the youngest children first. Check whether Tax-Free Childcare is the best offer for you using the childcare calculator.

Parents will only be able to pay their childcare provider from their childcare account if their childcare provider is signed up to Tax-Free Childcare. While parents cant make payments using both Tax-Free Childcare and childcare vouchers, childcare providers who are signed up to Tax-Free Childcare can receive payments from both schemes.

You're usually eligible if all of the following apply:

Your child:

  • is under 12, or 17 if they're registered as having a disability
  • usually lives with you

You (and your partner, if you have one):

  • are 16 or over
  • live or work in the UK
  • are employed or self-employed
  • are over 21 and earn on average at least £120 a week, unless in your first year of self-employment. Different rates apply if you're under 21 or an apprentice
  • earn less than £100,000 a year each
  • don't get other support with your childcare, including from a childcare voucher or salary sacrifice scheme

You may also be eligible if you have a partner and one of you gets any of the following benefits:

  • Carers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Benefit