Access childcare support through the childcare service

1. How it works

Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare are two separate government schemes, to help parents with the cost of childcare. You can apply for both through one online application – the childcare service.

To qualify for either scheme, parents must be working and each earning at least £120 a week (on average) and not more than £100,000 each a year.

Parents can use Tax-Free Childcare alongside the 15 and 30 hours free childcare schemes in England, or any free childcare hours provided by the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland governments.

Parents can't use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as they receive childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits. However, 30 hours free childcare can be received alongside these schemes.

When you apply, you'll be considered for both these services through the same application. You'll only be asked to decide which support you want if you're on tax credits or using a childcare voucher or salary sacrifice scheme. You should check what help you could get with childcare costs, using the childcare calculator. This will help you decide which support is best for you.