Tax-Free Childcare is a government scheme to help working parents with childcare costs.
For every £8 you pay in, the government will pay in an extra £2. You can get up to £2000 per child per year towards their childcare costs, or £4000 for disabled children, which is separate from funded entitlements.
The offer is available for children up to the age of 12, or 17 for children who are disabled.
Am I eligible?
To qualify, both you and your partner (if you have one) will have to be in work and each expecting to earn at least £120 a week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage) and not more than £100,000 each year.
If you are your partner are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you are unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible.
The unique code included in their invitation letter (invitations where sent out in September / October 2017)
The bank account details for the account they wish to receive payments into
Their Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number - or their National Insurance number, if they don't have a UTR
In order to sign up, childcare providers must first be registered or approved, with a regulating body.
Registering with a regulator can take up to 12 weeks, so if you are a childcare provider and haven't registered yet, you should act now.
Parents will soon be able to search for childcare providers who have signed up using an online tool. Payments will be made directly from a parent's online account and will automatically include the government's contribution, arriving in one simple transaction for providers.
Changes to the payment reference number for providers
Payment transactions now appear on a provider's bank statement as 'National Savings A'. It should also have the child's:
childcare reference number - this is made up of 4 letters and 5 numbers. The letters are the child's first initial and first 3 letters of their name, eg AJON12345
Tax-Free Childcare account number - this is 13 digits long, begins with 1100 and should have the letters TFC, eg TFC 110012345678
If you are a childcare provider and the payment information is displaying differently and you are unable to identify a parent's payment, plese call the Childcare Service Helpline on 0300 123 4097.