Tax Credits Rules for Childcare Costs

Newsletter issue - February 08.

If you claim the working tax credit you can include in your claim the amount you spend on registered or approved childcare. This is subject to both of the adults who make the tax credit claim working enough hours to qualify, which is normally 16 hours per week. The tax credits your family receives will refund you up to 80% of your childcare costs, to a maximum of £140 per week for one £240 per week for two or more children.

You can only claim for childcare you pay for up to 1 September following your child's 15th birthday, or 16th birthday if your child is disabled. When this date passes, or you stop paying for childcare for another reason, you must tell the Tax Credits Office as soon as possible.

You must also tell the Tax Credits Office whenever your average childcare costs go up or down by more than £10 per week. To work out the average you need to estimate the total amount you will spend on childcare for the whole of the year and divide by 52 to get a weekly total.

Remember it is only the fees paid to registered or approved childcare providers that you can claim for. If you start using a childcare provider who is not registered or approved, or they lose their registration then those costs cannot be claimed for.