Childcare can be one of the biggest monthly outgoings for a family so it’s important to claim every financial entitlement available to you. Each year thousands of families miss out on £1000s toward the cost of childcare – make sure you’re not one of them.

You may be able to claim:

  • child tax credit – you don’t need to be working
  • working tax credit – you may be able to claim extra to help cover the costs of approved childcare

You can apply for working tax credit even if you’re on leave or about to start a new job.

Check what help you could get with childcare costs.

Child tax credit

You may be able to claim child tax credit if you’re responsible for children, either:

  • aged 16 or under (you can claim up until 31 August after their 16th birthday)
  • under 20 and in eligible education or training

You don’t need to be working to claim child tax credit – find out more on Gov.UK.

Child tax credit won’t affect your child benefit.

Working tax credit

You could get working tax credit if either of the following apply:

  • You’re aged from 16 to 24 and have a child or a qualifying disability
  • You’re 25 or over, with or without children

You must:

  • Work a certain number of hours a week
  • Get paid for the work you do (or expect to)
  • Have an income below a certain level

You can find more information on working tax credit here.

You can’t claim tax credits and universal credit at the same time.

Working tax credit (childcare element)

This is extra money for working families to help pay for registered childcare.

You can get help to pay for childcare if it’s provided by a:

  • Registered childminder, play scheme, nursery or club
  • Childminder with an Ofsted-registered childminding agency
  • Registered school
  • Home care worker working for a registered home care agency

This is known as ‘approved childcare’.

You can claim tax credits to help with your childcare costs if you’re eligible. Use this tool to work out what childcare costs you should claim. You can make your claim seven days before you start paying for childcare.

If you already claim tax credits for childcare costs and your costs have changed, you can also use this tool to work out if you need to report the change to the Tax Credit Office. Changes can be reported online or by telephone on 0345 300 3900.

You can’t claim tax credits and universal credit at the same time.

Am I entitled to any additional funding to help pay my childcare costs?

Depending on your income and family situation, you could be eligible for additional support to help pay your childcare costs. View the help with childcare costs page to find out more or go to the Childcare Choices website. You can also use the childcare calculator to find out what help you could be entitled to and to help you decide what options suit your family best.