Tax-Free Childcare provider information

Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) is a government scheme to help working families with their childcare costs. It replaced childcare vouchers for new applicants from 4 October 2018.

Eligible families can open an online childcare account to pay you directly. The government will then add to their childcare account to help towards costs and save money.

You must be an approved childcare provider to receive Tax-Free Childcare.

To register can take up to 12 weeks.

If you are an approved childcare provider, you should have already received a letter from the UK Government inviting you to apply.

Before applying online you will need your:

  • user ID and your childcare setting postcode (as held by the regulator)
  • details of your bank account
  • 10 digit unique taxpayer reference (UTR)
  • your childcare setting postcode (as held by HMRC)
  • or, your National Insurance Number if you are a nanny/employed childcare provider.

If you do not know your user ID or UTR you can:

  • call the Childcare Service Helpline on 0300 123 4097
  • check any emails or letters from HMRC, for example, your tax statement or payment reminder, or by logging onto your personal tax account.

If you are a childcare provider run by a maintained school, you need to provide the following local authority UTR and postcode when signing up:

  • UTR - 6358141375
  • Postcode - ME14 1XE

Apply for Tax-Free Childcare scheme

You will only be able to receive TFC payments if you have signed up to the scheme.

Once a parent has set up their childcare account and deposited funds, they can start making payments to you.

Payments work just as they do through an online bank account (BACS), where each payment is accompanied by a reference number per child.

This entry should also contain the child’s:

  • childcare reference number, made up of 4 letters and 5 numbers. The letters are the first initial and the first 3 letters of the child’s surname, for example, AKIN12345
  • Tax-Free Childcare account number. This will be 13 digits long and start with 1100, and should contain the letters TFC, for example, TFC 1100012345678.

You will need to know the child's TFC number to identify specific payments.

Parents will need to reconfirm their circumstances every 3 months using the online process.

Find out more about the parent process for applying.

This is only one method of parents or carers paying their bill. There is no need to change how you bill parents or carers, and you can still accept payments from other sources.