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The University of Southampton
Human Resources

Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare was introduced by the Government in 2017 to help working parents with the cost of childcare. Tax-Free Childcare is available to working parents including the self-employed. To be eligible, parents (and their partners if they have one) must earn at least the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage, have an eligible child (under 12 or 17 if disabled) and earn under £100,000 each per year.

Eligible parents are able to apply and open a childcare account online. For every £8 families pay in, the government will pay in £2, up to a maximum government contribution of £500 every 3 months equating to £2,000 per child per year, or £4,000 for disabled children. Parents can use this to pay for regulated childcare.

Further information and a calculator, to help parents understand what government help they might be entitled to, can be found on the Childcare Choices website.

Please visit the following websites for more information.

Get Tax-Free Childcare: step by step

Check what help you could get with childcare costs

Childcare Choices - Find out what help you can get with childcare costs

Find out more about Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare for parents

If you have any queries regarding Tax-Free Childcare or childcare vouchers please contact Geraldine Witt via

Further information

As a family you can only be in one scheme - childcare vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare (TFC).

If you are currently a member of the childcare vouchers scheme, you can switch from childcare vouchers to TFC at any time.  Once you register for TFC and officially cancel your childcare vouchers by completing a Childcare Account Notice (CAN), you can’t switch back to childcare vouchers later on.  The University's childcare voucher scheme will remain open to parents currently in the scheme following the scheme closure in October 2018, but it is closed to new members.

Applying for TFC - Checklist

For existing childcare voucher scheme members - Cancelling your childcare voucher order

Important Note: Any balance left in your online childcare voucher account after you’ve cancelled your childcare voucher order can still be used to pay childcare providers until that balance has been exhausted. Childcare vouchers can be used to pay for holiday clubs and activity camps, as well as before- and after-school clubs for children up to the age of 15.

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