2. Eligibility

Usually, you’ll qualify for tax credits to help with childcare if:

  • you qualify for Working Tax Credit
  • you’re responsible for the child
  • the childcare you pay for is registered or approved
  • you work the right number of hours for childcare tax credits

You can get these tax credits until the Saturday after 1 September following your child’s 15th birthday (16th if they’re disabled).

Registered or approved care

The childcare must be registered or approved (the carer can confirm this). Childcare can include care provided at home, in school or another place by a childminder, playscheme, nursery or club etc.

Foster carers

Foster carers need to be registered or approved unless the care is outside the child’s home and the child is:

  • in Wales and aged 8 to 16
  • in Northern Ireland and aged 12 to 16

You can’t claim for caring for your own foster child.

Childcare at schools

The care must be outside of school hours and on the school’s premises - unless your child is under 5 and in England.

Childcare from relatives or partners

You can’t claim for childcare provided by your partner.

You can claim for childcare provided by a relative if they’re a registered childminder and they care for your child outside your home.

In Wales and Northern Ireland, you can claim for childcare provided by a relative who’s approved under a home childcare providers scheme. However, you can only claim if they care for your child outside your home and they care for at least one other child that isn’t related to you.

Hours you work

You must work at least 16 hours a week. You might still qualify if you’re on leave from work, eg maternity leave or sick leave.

Couples usually have to work at least 16 hours a week each. Only one of you has to work these hours if the other is:

  • entitled to Carer’s Allowance
  • in hospital or prison
  • getting certain benefits or credits for disability or illness - eg Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or a disability premium for Housing Benefit

Use the tax credit calculator to check if you qualify.