If you’re a working parent or carer, you can get up to £500 every three months (up to £2,000 a year per child) to help with the costs of childcare. If your child has a disability, you can get up to £1,000 every three months (up to £4,000 a year per child).

You can use it to pay for childcare including:

Childminders

Day nurseries and playgroups

Before school clubs, after school clubs and holiday clubs.

These childcare providers must be registered with Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW). Check with your provider to see if they’re signed up.

How it works:

You set up an online childcare account for your child. For every £8 you pay into this account, the government will pay in £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 a year (or £4,000 if your child has a disability). You can then use the money to pay your childcare provider.

You need to reconfirm your eligibility for Tax-Free Childcare every three months.

You’ll get a text reminder and it’s easy to do through your online childcare account.

Am I eligible?

To get Tax-Free Childcare, you need to be working at least 16 hours a week, earning at least the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage. This includes being:

self-employed

on maternity or parental leave

on sick leave or annual leave.

Your child is eligible until the September after their 11th birthday, or until their 17th birthday if they have a disability. Each parent or carer can earn up to £100,000 per year and still be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare. Your eligibility doesn’t depend on how much tax you pay, so it won’t affect your income tax liability or any other tax, like VAT.

You can’t claim Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit. You can claim tax-free childcare for the additional funding you pay on top of the Childcare Offer.

To find out how much you could get towards your childcare costs and check whether you’re eligible, visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

How do I apply for Tax-Free Childcare?

You can apply for Tax-Free Childcare via Childcare Choices.

You, and your partner if you have one, will need your:

National Insurance number(s)

Details of one or more of the following – your UK Passport, tax credits, P60 or a recent payslip.

In most cases, you’ll be told straight away if your application is successful. In some cases, HMRC may need to do some additional checks to confirm whether you’re eligible, so it’s important to apply in good time. If you’re found not to be eligible, you will be told why.

I don’t have access to the internet. How do I apply?

If you need assistance or do not have access to the internet, you can call the childcare service helpline on 0300 123 4097 and apply over the phone.

I applied for Tax-Free Childcare and am ineligible. What other help can I get with my childcare costs?

Childcare Choices has a Childcare Calculator where you can learn more about which government offers might be best for you, whether you are likely to be eligible and how to apply.