Tax-Free Childcare: for parents

This information is for parents and carers, if you are a childcare provider please see Tax-Free Childcare Explained: for providers.

Tax-Free Childcare is a new Government scheme to help working families with a child/children under 12 years olds with their childcare costs. If eligible, you open an online childcare account (which is used to pay a registered childcare provider directly).

Information Icon
  • Parents have an online account – just like a bank account – which they can use to pay childcare professionals. 
  • For every £8 you pay into your account, the Government will add £2. 
  • You could get a Government contribution of up to £2,000 per child, per year or £4,000 for disabled children 
  • Parents are able to track how much they’ve paid in and how much they’ve spent for each child. The top-up will be added into the account on the same day, and the total amount will be available to pay for childcare.


Question Mark Icon

Parents could be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare if they:

  • Don’t receive childcare vouchers, tax credits or Universal Credit
  • Have children who are under 12, or under 17 for disabled children



Understanding the childcare service: a guide for parents (eligibility and application)

Using your childcare account

Clock icon

You can now find out more and check your eligibility for Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) (and all other government schemes) via the Childcare Choices website. Childcare Choices allows you to:

  • check your eligibility for each of the childcare schemes
  • find out more about each scheme
  • sign up for a scheme (or show you where to sign up)
  • register for email alerts
  • find out what you need to do next

*If you are eligible for Tax-Free Childcare, you can start depositing funds into your account to receive the government top-up and arrange payments to your registered childcare providers.


The website allows you to select how much you earn, followed by whether or not you live with a partner. You will then be presented with your options highlighted in yellow (schemes you do not qualify for will be greyed out). Under each available option, you will see: “Is it for me?”. Selecting this will display further details and direct you to the relevant place such as online registration, calculators, email alerts, or GOV.UK pages. 

Take me to Childcare Choices