Tax-Free Childcare: How does Tax-Free Childcare work?

TFC is a Government scheme which provides some help towards the costs of childcare by 'topping-up' the amount saved by the claimant. TFC is available across the UK.

The claimant has a childcare account, which is usually an on-line account although there is an offline option for those who are unable to use the online service (via the childcare helpline).

The claimant pays money into the childcare account and the government adds money (called a top-up) to the account. The claimant then uses the childcare account to pay their childcare costs. The claimant's childcare provider must also be registered with TFC so that they can accept payments from the scheme and the claimant's main reason for using the childcare has to be to enable them to work.

The following sections provide more detail about how tax-free childcare works:

How much is tax-free childcare
Qualifying childcare costs
Entitlement periods
Changes of circumstances
Making a claim
Managing a childcare account

Last reviewed/updated 10 January 2020