Tax-Free Childcare: Responsibility for the child
The claimant must, at the date of declaration, be responsible for the relevant child as part of the eligibility conditions. In this section, we explain who is a relevant child and what responisbility means for TFC.
- Who is a relevant child?
- Being responsible for a child or young person
- Exceptions to the responsibility rules
- Children looked after by the Local Authority
Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) top-ups are paid per child. The claimant needs to be responsible for the child at the date of declaration. In this case, a relevant child simply means the child who the claimant is trying to open a childcare account for or a child who they already had an account on.
TFC can only be claimed for children who qualify, which means:
- Until the last day of the week in which the 1 September falls following the child's 11th birthday
- If the child is disabled, until the last day of the week in which the 1 September falls following the child's 16th birthday
We explain more about qualifying children in our 'qualifying children' section.
The basic test is that a person is responsible for a child if that child normally lives with the claimant.
A claimant will not be classed as responsible for a child during any period when the child is:
- Continuously absent from the person's household for a period which exceeds, or is expected to exceed, 6 months
- A prisoner
- Looked after by a Local Authority
- Placed for adoption (under certain legislation) by an adoption agency in the home of a person proposing to adopt the child
The regulations use the same meaning as that used in Section 22 Children Act 1989, Section 17(6) Children (Scotland) Act 1995, or Article 25 Childen (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.
A child isn't classed as looked after by the Local Authority for TFC purposes:
- During any period which is part of a planned short term break, or one of a series of such breaks, for the purpose of providing respite for the person who the child normally lives with
- During any period where the child is placed with, or continues to live with, the child's parent or a person who has parental responsibility for a child
A person has parental responsibility for a child here if they are NOT a foster parent and they have parental responsibility given under the Children Act 1989 (in England and Wales), under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (in Scotland), or the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (in Northern Ireland).
Last reviewed/updated 1 July 2022