Skip to main content
  1. 1. Overview
  2. 2. 2-year-olds (15 hours)
  3. 3. 3 and 4-year-olds (15 hours)
  4. 4. 3 to 4-year-olds (30 hours)
  5. 5. Tax-free childcare

Tax-free childcare

Tax-free childcare is available to parents in the UK who are working and have a child who is age 11 or under (or a disabled child age 16 or under). Families can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each child to help with the costs of childcare. If a child is disabled, families can get up to £1,000 every 3 months (up to £4,000 a year).

The parent (and their partner) must meet employment and income requirements, and the person applying will need to meet an immigration requirement.

Employment and income requirements

The parent (and their partner) needs to be working in order to qualify for tax-free childcare. 

A family may also qualify if a parent is in receipt of certain disability or carers benefits and their partner is working.

Each parent must expect to earn the equivalent of the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week over a period of 3 months. The amounts vary according to the worker's age. 

A family will not qualify for tax-free childcare if one parent has an expected ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000 in the current tax year. 

The employment and income requirements are covered in more detail in the government guidance about tax-free childcare.

Immigration requirement

The parent who applies will need to meet a residence requirement based on their immigration status. 

The residence requirement will be met when a parent has one of the following:

  • British or Irish citizenship
  • Settled or pre-settled status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • A pending EU Settlement Scheme application
  • Immigration permission that allows access to public funds, such as indefinite leave to remain or refugee leave

The parent applying (and their partner if they have one) must have a National Insurance number. 

A parent who has leave to remain with a 'No Recourse to Public Funds' (NRPF) condition cannot apply for tax-free childcare, although can be included in an application made by a partner who meets the residence requirement. Tax-free childcare is not a 'public fund' for immigration purposes. 

If a parent is applying with their partner, the person who is applying must meet the residence requirement and both will need to satisfy the requirements relating to employment and income. For example, if one parent is a British citizen and their partner has leave to remain with NRPF, the British parent can make the application.

In a sole parent household, the family will be unable to access tax-free childcare if the parent has leave to remain with NRPF.

If the parent and their partner both have leave to remain with NRPF, the family will be unable to access tax-free childcare.

More information and how to apply 

Families can refer to the government information about tax-free childcare and information about how to apply for childcare.