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What is Tax-Free Childcare?
Tax-Free Childcare is a UK-wide scheme to help working parents pay for registered childcare. Tax-Free Childcare can help towards the costs of childcare for children up to the 1st September following their 11th birthday (or 1st September following their 16th birthday for disabled children). There is no limit on the number of children that can be included.
How much can I receive?
For every £8.00 you pay into your Tax-Free Childcare Account, the government will pay in an extra £2.00 towards your childcare costs. This will happen up to the value of £2000 per child, per year (or £4000 for children who are disabled).
What kinds of childcare can I get help with?
Tax-Free Childcare will only help with the costs of some types of registered or (in some parts of the UK) approved childcare. This includes:
* Registered childminder
* Out of hours club on school premises run by the school or Local Authority
* A domiciliary worker or nurse from a registered agency who cares for the child or children in your own home
Other types of registered and approved childcare can also count. Your childminder or childcare provider should be able to tell you whether or not they are approved or registered.
You cannot claim for the costs of childcare in your home if the childcare provider is a relative of the child, even if that relative is a registered childcare provider.
What if I claim other benefits already?
If you qualify for Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit then you will generally be better off claiming help with childcare costs via your existing benefits, rather than Tax-Free Childcare.
You cannot receive Tax-Free Childcare and Universal Credit/Tax Credits at the same time.
How do I apply for Tax-Free Childcare?
It is important that you check your entitlements to benefits before applying for Tax-Free Childcare.
If you apply for and are awarded Tax-Free Childcare your entire Universal Credit or Tax Credit award will be STOPPED. This means all of your Universal Credit, including amounts for you, your children and your housing, not just the childcare element.
Similarly, if you are claiming tax credits, your Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit awards will be terminated, not just your childcare element.
You will be able to switch back if claiming Tax-Free Childcare was not the right choice for you or your circumstances later change. The application for Tax-Free Childcare is the same form as the 30 Hours Free Childcare via Childcare Choices.
However, there is a point within this application when you will reach tick boxes and this is where you will choose either Tax-Free Childcare, 30 Hours Childcare OR BOTH.
If you choose ONLY Tax-Free Childcare, your Parent Journey will be as follows:
TAX-FREE CHILDCARE PARENT JOURNEY
If you choose BOTH, you will need to refer to the above as well as the Parent Journey 30 Hours for guidance.