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Tax-free childcare

You can use tax-free childcare to pay for:

  • childminders, nurseries and nannies
  • after school clubs and play schemes

Your childcare provider must be signed up to the scheme before you can pay them and benefit from Tax-Free Childcare.

You can use your account to pay your childcare provider.

You can pay your provider with money from your account once the money is shown as ‘cleared funds’. Payments should show in your provider’s account within 24 hours, depending on their bank.

Eligibility for 15 or 30 hours free childcare

As part of your application, you’ll find out if you’re eligible for Tax-Free Childcare. If you live in England, you’ll also find out if you’re eligible for 15 or 30 hours free childcare. You may find out straight away, but it can take up to 7 days.

If you are employed or self-employed

You’ll need your details (and your partner’s, if you have one), including your:

  • National Insurance number
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), if you’re self-employed

You’ll also need:

  • the UK birth certificate reference number (if you have one) of any children you’re applying for
  • the date you started or are due to start work (this can be approximate if more than 3 months ago)

If you are a director

You’ll need to show you meet the minimum income requirements to be eligible. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will try to check this using your PAYE records.

If you do not submit regular PAYE information, you may have to provide evidence to show you are working and expect to meet the minimum income requirements for the next 3 months.

This could be:

  • wage slips
  • bank statements
  • a statement from your accountant
  • copies of invoices

If you’re not paid regularly (for example, once a year) you may need to send other evidence to show you’ll meet the minimum income requirements, such as:

  • annual wage slips
  • yearend payroll
  • a letter from your tax agent or adviser confirming your salary has been paid and taxed

You’ll need to do this the first time you apply, and every time you reconfirm your eligibility.

Last updated 21 March 2024