2. Tax credits

You could get extra tax credits to help pay for some of your childcare costs while you’re working.

You can get up to £122.50 extra per week for 1 child, or £210 extra for 2 or more children - it depends on how much you earn.

It won’t cover all of your childcare costs - use the tax credits childcare calculator to work out what childcare costs you can claim.

You could get help with your childcare costs with Universal Credit instead of tax credits. You can’t get Universal Credit and tax credits at the same time.


You’ll usually qualify for extra tax credits to help with childcare if:

You can get these tax credits if your child is under 16, or under 17 if they’re disabled.

You could get Child Tax Credit instead if you’re not working and you’re responsible for a child under 16, or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training.

Hours you work

You must work at least 16 hours per 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 per week each. Only one of you has to work these hours if the other:

  • is in hospital or prison
  • gets certain benefits, eg because of an illness, disability or they’re a carer

Use the tax credit calculator to check if you qualify.

Using approved childcare

Approved childcare can include care provided at home, in school or in another place by a childminder, playscheme, nursery or club.

Childcare at schools

The care must be outside of school hours and on the school’s premises - unless your child is under 5 and getting early years childcare.

Childcare provided by partners and relatives

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. 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.

Foster carers

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

There are special rules for foster carers in Wales and Northern Ireland - find out if you qualify.

How to claim

Get an application form by calling tax credits helpline - it’ll take up to 2 weeks to arrive. Keep a record of any payslips, benefits and childcare costs to support your claim.

Call the Tax Credit Helpline to update your claim if you’re already claiming tax credits - you don’t need a claim form.

You must renew your claim every year. You’ll get a reminder.