Tax free childcare

being launched early 2017

Ten things to know about the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

Tax-Free Childcare will be available to around 2 million households to help with the cost of childcare, enabling more parents to go out to work, if they want to, to provide greater security for their families.

1. You’ll be able to open an online account

You’ll be able to open an online account, which you can pay into to cover the cost of childcare with Harlequin. This will be done through the government website, GOV.UK.

You’ll be able to apply for all your children at the same time, when your youngest child becomes eligible. All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017.

2. For every 80p you or someone else pays in, the government will top up an extra 20p

This is equivalent of the tax most people pay - 20% - which gives the scheme its name, ‘tax-free’. The government will top up the account with 20% of childcare costs up to a total of £10,000 - the equivalent of up to £2,000 support per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children).

3. The scheme will be available for childrenup to the age of 12

It will also be available for children with disabilities up to the age of 17.

4. To qualify, parents will have to be in work, and each earning at least £115 a week and not more than £100,000 each per year

The scheme is designed to be flexible for parents if, for example, they want to get back to work after the birth of a child or work part-time.

5. Any eligible working family can use the Tax-Free Childcare scheme

Tax-Free Childcare doesn’t rely on employers offering the scheme, unlike the current scheme Employer-Supported Childcare. Any working family can use Tax-Free Childcare, provided they meet the eligibility requirements.

6. The scheme will be available for parents who are self-employed

Self-employed parents will be able to get support with childcare costs in Tax-Free Childcare. To support newly self-employed parents, the government is introducing a ‘start-up’ period. During this, self-employed parents won’t have to earn the minimum income level.

The scheme will be available to parents on paid sick leave and paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

7. If you currently receive Employer-Supported Childcare then you can continue to do so

You do not have to switch to Tax-Free Childcare if you do not wish to. Employer-Supported Childcare will continue to run. The current scheme will remain open to new entrants until April 2018. Parents already registered by this date will be able to continue using it for as long as their employer offers it.

However, Tax-Free Childcare will be open to more than twice as many parents as Employer-Supported Childcare.

Employers’ workplace nurseries won’t be affected by the introduction of Tax-Free Childcare.

8. Parents and others can pay money into their childcare account as and when they like

This gives you the flexibility to pay in more in some months, and less at other times. This means you can build up a balance in your account to use at times when you need more childcare than usual, for example, over the summer holidays.

It’s also not just the parents who can pay into the account - if grandparents, other family members or employers want to pay in, then they can.

9. The process will be as simple as possible for parents

The process will be as easy as possible for you. For example, you’ll re-confirm your circumstances every 3 months using a simple online process; and there will be a simple log-in service where parents can view accounts for all of their children at once.

10. You’ll be able to withdraw money from the account if you want to

If your circumstances change or you no longer want to pay into the account, then you’ll be able to withdraw the money you have built up. If you do, the government will withdraw its corresponding contribution.

More information will be available ahead of the scheme being introduced so parents making childcare decisions are able to consider all their options.

For more information, please go to

Click here to go to the page to register for further information on tax free childcare.

Apply now for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare!

You can apply for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare now if your youngest child will be under 4 on 31 August, or you have a disabled child under 17.

To apply go to:

You will be asked if you have been invited to apply. Please select 'no', and enter the date of birth of your youngest child.

Once you’ve applied for Tax-Free Childcare, you can log back into your account using the same link.

About Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare is to help working parents with the cost of childcare for children under the age of 12 (or under 17 if disabled).

This means that for every £80 that you pay into your childcare account, the government will pay in £20, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children). You can then use this to pay for registered childcare.

About 30 hours free childcare

30 hours free childcare is for working parents of 3 and 4 year old in England.

If you have a child aged 3 or 4 years old, and are eligible, you’ll receive a code. You can then take this to your provider to arrange your place before the launch of 30 hours free childcare in September.

You can find out more and check if you're eligible at:

Thank you for your interest in the childcare service.

Yours faithfully,

Sarah Radford
Childcare Service, HM Government

You can identify genuine contact from HMRC on GOV.UK by searching: 'Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails'.

How to contact us

If you have any queries or need help applying, please contact the childcare service helpline on 0300 123 4097. It is available between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm on Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday

Harlequin Ofsted reports

to view the reports click on the links below


In February 2013 we were inspected and awarded "outstanding" in every category.
Click the link to read the report: registration number EY333465

Tunbridge Wells

In February 2015 we were inspected as a new setting at our new purpose built clubhouse in Southborough, Tunbridge Wells. In May 2016 we were inspected, and judged 'Good' in every category.

Click the link to read the report: registration number EY486142

West Borough

WBS was inspected in November 2014 as a new setting.

Click the link to see conditions of registration: Ofsted Registration EY484111

Forest Pre-School

The Tunbridge Wells Forest Pre-School was registered in July 2016 as a new setting. In November 2018, we were inspected as a new setting, and judged 'Good' in every category.

Click the link to read the report : Ofsted Registration EY501163


Staplehurst was registered in June 2018 as a new setting.

Click the link to see the conditions of registration: Ofsted Registration EY561059

Ofsted website

Coxheath Ofsted report
TA Ofsted report

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