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If you have children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children) and are a working parent (including being self-employed), you may be eligible for up to £2,000 of tax-free childcare per child.

According to recent statistics, one and a half million families are able to apply, but only one in six families have signed up. The scheme has been running since April 2017 but has recently been labelled as confusing and inaccurately named.

For those paying for childcare, it can be worth £2,000 annually per child towards Ofsted (or equivalent) registered nurseries, childminders, nannies, after-school clubs and home care.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible, both parents must earn (on average) at least £131 per week and no one parent can earn £100,000 or more in a year.

If either parent is on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or are unable to work because of a disability of caring responsibility, they could still be eligible.

You can use tax-free childcare at the same time as either 15 hours free childcare or 30 hours free childcare.

How do I apply?

Apply for a childcare account online at the following link:

For every 80p you add to this account, the state will add 20p. You can put in up to £8,000 per child per year, so up to £2,000 (£4,000 if your child is disabled) will be added by the state. This account can be used to pay your childcare provider. 

For full details and calculators visit