Claim a top-up refund or compensation for Childcare Service issues

Check if you can get a top-up refund or compensation if you’ve been unable to access Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours free childcare due to technical issues.


Tax-Free Childcare top-up refund


If you’ve been affected by technical issues in your Childcare Account for either Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours free childcare, HMRC will try and fix your problem as quickly as possible.

If we cannot, you may be able to claim:

  • a refund of the Tax-Free Childcare top-up by completing this form
  • compensation for 30 hours free childcare by writing to us

Tax-Free Childcare top-up refund

If you’ve paid for childcare without receiving your government top up, we’ll refund the payment due, if:

  • you’ve been unable to complete your application for Tax-Free Childcare
  • you’re unable to access your childcare account

We’ll also consider refunding any reasonable costs directly caused by:

  • the service not working as it should
  • our mistakes
  • any unreasonable delay, within our control

Complete this form, then print and post it to HMRC. You can also email HMRC to ask for this form in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Before you start

If you’re using an older browser, for example, Internet Explorer 8, you’ll need to update it or use a different browser. Find out more about browsers.

If you’re still experiencing technical difficulties you can contact the Childcare Service Helpline.

You’ll need to fill in the form fully before you can print it. You cannot save a partly completed form.

30 hours free childcare compensation

You may be able to claim compensation if you applied or reconfirmed before the relevant term start date for 30 hours free childcare (1 September, 1 January or 1 April), but technical issues meant you:

  • received your 30 hours eligibility code on or after the relevant term start date for 30 hours free childcare
  • were unable to take up a 30 hours free childcare place
  • have paid out for childcare that would have been free

The term start dates for 30 hours free childcare are separate to school term start dates.

How to claim

If you think you’re eligible for compensation for 30 hours free childcare, you need to write to us at:

Childcare Service
HM Revenue and Customs

Your letter must include:

  • your full name
  • your address, including postcode
  • details of what happened that stopped you getting 30 hours free childcare - this includes any evidence that shows you applied ahead of the relevant deadline
  • evidence of any payments you made for childcare, such as copies of bank statements or receipts

You should also include details of the bank or building society where you want any compensation to be paid, including the:

  • name of the bank or building society
  • account holder’s name
  • account number
  • sort code
  • building society roll number (if applicable)

You’ll get a decision within 28 working days.

If you’re due a refund, and you get Universal Credit or tax credits, you’ll need to report a change of circumstances, including the amount paid back to you to:

Published 21 August 2017
Last updated 14 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. 'Claiming 30 hours free childcare compensation' section has been updated to clarify term dates and the 'How to claim' section updated if you receive a refund and get Universal Credit or tax credits.

  2. We have added a section telling people how to claim compensation for 30 hours free childcare where a technical issue has caused problems accessing the service.

  3. An updated form to claim Childcare Service 'top-up' refund has been added and a Helpline telephone number.

  4. Removed information about the Nanny Tax service being available soon, as the Nanny Tax service is live.

  5. The page and form have been updated to advise customers that they'll soon be able to pay tax and National Insurance payments for nannies using their childcare account.

  6. The content has been updated to clarify the compensation claim process.

  7. First published.