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The Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit

In order to encourage parents into work the government has introduced The Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit.

You may be entitled to The Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit if:

  • you are a lone parent working at least 16 hours per week, or
  • you and your partner work at least 24 hours per week (with one of you working at least 16 hours a week), or
  • one parent works and the other is disabled, or
  • one parent works 16 hours per week and the other parent is a carer in receipt of Carers Allowance 

and you use a registered childminder, pre-school, nursery or out of school club or a nanny or other provider on the Voluntary Childcare Register (VCR).

In order to receive The Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit you must make a claim.

How much will I receive?

Depending on your income in the previous tax year (6th April - 5th April), or current year if you ask to use this, you may be able to claim up to 70% of your qualifying childcare costs up to a maximum childcare cost of £175 per week for one child and £300 per week for two or more children. This means the childcare element is worth up to an extra:

  • £122.50 a week (£175 x 70% ) for families with one child, or
  • £210.00 a week (£300 x 70%) for families with two or more children.  

You must tell the Tax Credit Helpline (0845 300 3900) of any changes in your circumstances such as:

  • you stop using childcare;
  • you change your childcare provider;
  • your childcare costs change e.g. your child starts school and only needs after school care or your child becomes eligible for Free Entitlement.

How will I receive The Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit?

HM Revenue and Customs will pay The Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit directly into a parent’s named bank account either weekly or every fourth week. If you do not have a bank or building society account you could open a Post Office card account which can be used to receive benefits and tax credits.

How do I explain I only have childcare costs in school holidays?

Since April 2010 The Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit has been simplified and made more responsive.  This allows parents with short term childcare needs to receive payments when they need them, such as in the school holidays, rather than getting a smaller, average payment over the course of the year.

How do I apply?

In order to make an application you will need to provide your income details for the last full financial year, your National Insurance number and the expected costs of childcare. For an application form:

  • phone the Tax Credit Helpline on 0845 300 3900 (textphone 0845 300 3909). Lines are open from 8am - 8pm (Monday - Friday) and 8am - 4pm (Saturday).  

If you need help completing your Tax Credit form you can phone the Tax Credit Helpline or visit your local Inland Revenue Enquiry Centre.

If you are already receiving Child Tax Credit you will need to make an additional application for The Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit.

Some parents may gain by having their Tax Credit entitlement calculated on their income in the current tax year (as opposed to the last complete tax year). You must ask by phone or letter if you would like this calculation.

Family Finance Estimates

The Family Information Service (FIS) is able to give estimates of Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit over the phone.

To do this we use a web based facility. Personal information (details of income, age etc.) is needed to give an estimate. Although we ask for callers’ names and contact details to record enquiries, no information that could identify an individual is entered on the website.  Please contact the LoCall Helpline on 08457 585072 for more information. 

Useful Links

HM Revenue & Customs:


Cached: Tuesday 23 July 2019 5:12:02 am
Last updated: Friday 14 February 2014
Published: Thursday 5 July 2012