30 Hours and Tax Free Childcare: What's the difference?

30 Hours and Tax-Free Childcare are two new ways of paying for childcare (introduced in Buckinghamshire between 2017 and 2018). They can be used together if you are eligible for both, or separately if not.

Below is an overview of the differences between the two schemes and eligibility criteria. Click the headings for more details.

30 Hours Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare

Ages covered: 3 and 4-year-olds 

30 Hours refers to 30 hours of funded childcare for each of the 38 weeks of the academic year. Parents can choose to stretch this offer to 45, 47, or 51 weeks of the year to meet their childcare needs (taking fewer hours per week but for more weeks)

 

Ages covered: Children under 12 

Tax-Free Childcare is an online account where for every £8 parents pay into these accounts, the Government will add £2 to help pay for childcare. Parents could get a Government contribution of up to £2,000 per child, per year, or £4,000 for disabled children

 

Eligibility: earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage (£112.80 a week or £5,800 a year if aged 21 to 24 and £120 a week (or £6,000 a year) if you're over 25)

 

Eligibility: earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage (£112.80 a week or £5,800 a year if aged 21 to 24 and £120 a week (or £6,000 a year) if you're over 25)

 

30 Hours can be used at participating Nurseries and nursery classes, Playgroups and pre-school, Childminders, and Children's Centres

 

Tax-Free Childcare can be used at: Registered childminders, nurseries and nannies, Registered after-school clubs and play schemes, Registered schools, Home care workers working for a registered home care agency

 

   

  

Check your eligibility for 30 Hours Childcare and Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) via the Childcare Choices website. 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 or email alerts.

The Childcare Choices website allows you to:

  • check your eligibility for each of the childcare schemes

  • find out more about each scheme

  • sign up or register for email alerts (if not available yet)

  • find out what you need to do next and where to go 

Take me to childcarechoices.gov.uk