Childcare Providers - Have you activated your Tax-Free Childcare account ?

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Childcare Choices

Over a million families in the UK are entitled to support with the cost of childcare from the government, but many are missing out because childcare providers in their area haven’t signed up to accept the various offers.

It is important that parents and carers are able to access the financial support they qualify for. It can reduce their costs, help them to stay in work, or help them work more hours.

Please see this step by step guide to make sure you have correct elements in place to make your services accessible to families who use government childcare support, boosting your business in the process.

How can you help ?

Make sure you have the correct elements in place for your services to be accessible to families using the different types of government childcare support.

Advertise the fact your services are available to parents who are using government childcare support, boosting your potential client base in the process.

Remind families using your services to search Childcare Choices (at  to check what government financial support they could be entitled to.

Steps to take

If you are a childcare provider or childminder, we ask that you take the following steps to make sure families can access government support when using your services:

1) Check that you are registered with the relevant regulatory service. This means: Making sure you are registered with your relevant Early Years Team within Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust whether you are a childcare provider or childminder.

This will enable parents to access Universal Credit support when using your services.

2) Check that you have activated your Tax-Free Childcare account (see below).

This will enable parents to access Tax-Free Childcare support when using your services.

Guide to activating your Tax-Free Childcare account

Once registered with a regulator in the UK, (Health and Social Care Trust in N Ireland) you can boost your business and help reduce cost for working families by activating your Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) account. Setting it up is free and only takes around ten minutes.

After the registration process with the regulator has been completed, you should receive an invitation letter containing your unique 11 digit user ID, along with instructions on how to sign-up online to TFC.

If you are already registered and haven’t received your invitation letter, you should contact the Childcare Service Helpline : 0300 123 4097

Activating your TFC account:

You’ll find everything you need on GOV.UK Tax-Free Childcare  'If you’re a childcare provider page'.

To sign up you’ll need your:

  • unique 11-digit user ID 
  • business bank account details, so you can receive payments 
  • business postcode (the one registered with your regulator)

Once you’ve signed up, you can:

  • Accept Tax-Free Childcare payments and get a childcare provider account which you can use to keep your details up to date
  • Manage payments online 24/7 (using your provider account)
  • Promote the financial benefits to your customers
  • Still accept payments from parents using childcare vouchers and other methods

Last Updated: 23/11/2023