Can I get Tax Free Childcare?
Eligibility depends on the parents’/guardians’ situation, the child/children and the childcare costs involves.
You are usually eligible for a Tax-free Childcare account if all of the following apply.
You and your partner (if you have one ):
- Are 16 years old or more
- Live and work in the UK (Special rules apply if you live or work in another country)
- Do not receive tax credits or Universal Credit or childcare vouchers. (Child Benefit, child maintenance payments and free childcare for 2-4 year olds are unaffected)
- Are working - employed or self-employed. If you are part of a couple, both of you must be working
- Earn at least £115.20 a week each on average unless
- You’re under 21 or an apprentice: you must expect to earn the equivalent of 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage rate that applies to you
- You’re self-employed and recently started a new business and are still in your ‘start-up’ period (usually the first year you start trading as a self-employed person).
- Do not expect to earn more than £100,000 each in the current tax year.
You can also apply if you are on leave (sick leave, ordinary or additional maternity, paternity, adoption leave or getting Maternity Allowance, shared parental leave, annual leave) or about to start a new job.
Illness, disability or caring responsibilities
You are eligible for a childcare account if you or your partner is in work and the other gets any of the following benefits:
Incapacity Benefit or long-term Incapacity Benefit
Severe Disablement Allowance
Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
National Insurance credits because of incapacity or limited capability for work
If you don’t have a partner
If you don’t have a partner, you can still apply to open a Tax-free Childcare account. However, if you are jointly responsible for a child you need to agree who should apply because only one person can open a Tax-free Childcare account for a child.
Eligibility: The child
Usually lives with you even if you are not their parent (but you are not their foster carer)
Is under 12 years old (up to the September following the child’s 11th birthday) if they don’t have disabilities, or
Is under 17 years (up to the September following the child’s 16th birthday) and:
Receives Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, or
He or she has been certified as severely sight impaired or blind by a consultant ophthalmologist
You can apply for Tax-free Childcare for an adopted child once a court has made an adoption order.
You can’t get Tax-free Childcare for:
Your foster child/children
Children who are living away from your home for six months or more
Children who are in a secure children’s home/training centre or a young offenders’ institution
Children who are being looked after by a local authority (even if they are living in your home), unless this is for short-term respite care.
You can only use this account to pay childcare costs to help you work. The childcare must be from an approved childcare provider.
Reconfirming your eligibility
You will have to reconfirm your eligibility for these payments every three months.
Updated August 2016