Dad and baby

Can I get free childcare? How does Tax-Free childcare work? What are funded hours? Parents—it’s time to reclaim the £2.37bn

In the last 4 years, there’s been a £2.37bn underspend on Tax-Free Childcare. Lots of parents don’t even know they are entitled to it. But it’s also because parents don’t have time to work out the complexities. You might be missing out on saving thousands of pounds every year!

We’ve created a quiz to help you find an answer faster, before you start going through the hoops on Fill it out below to work out what savings you could be entitled to—from free childcare hours to tax savings.


Parents can get so stressed figuring out childcare options, and what funding and financial support they might be entitled to. The image shows three children sitting at a table in the classic 'see no, hear no, speak no' pose.


Figuring out childcare and the associated benefits can be insanely stressful

Who can use the Tax-Free Childcare and funded hours quiz?

Any parents over the age of 23 living or working in England can use this quiz. If you have more than 1 child, you can do the quiz separately for them. The quiz often asks questions as though you’re a couple, but it works for single parents too. (It’s just a short-cut to avoid extra questions and save you time.)

The quiz is just a quick way to give you an idea of what funding you could get. You should go to to confirm your eligibility and apply. And if you are looking for a childcare provider that offers funded hours and Tax-Free Childcare in your area, our Home Nurseries could be the answer!


What if I’m having trouble finding childcare in my area?

Whether you qualify for additional help or not, lots of parents have a hard time finding childcare in the first place.

Koru Kids have different childcare services to suit different family needs:


      • And we have Home Nurseries for children under 5—Ofsted-registered childcare providers that offer funded hours and Tax-Free Childcare.

    We’re on a mission to help more families solve the childcare puzzle—we’d love to help you too!

    How does Tax-Free Childcare work?

    If you earn above £142 per week, and less than £100,000 per year, it’s very likely you can access Tax-Free Childcare for children 11 and under. It’s a ‘top up’, which means the government covers 20% of your childcare costs—up to £2000 per year. For every £8 you pay, they pay in £2, until you reach the limit. If your child has registered disabilities and is under 16, you could get up to £4000 a year.

    You can only use this to pay for approved childcare (see below). Your childcare provider should be able to support you in setting this up. If you use a Koru Kids Home Nursery, we will help you do this.

    Parents can feel real relief when they realise they can help save on childcare costs with their dream provider. Many childminders and nurseries accept funded hours and Tax-Free Childcare. The image shows a dad with their small child sitting on their shoulders, both smiling.


    Koru Kids Home Nurseries are approved providers for funded hours and Tax-Free Childcare. Phew!

    What are funded hours?

    Funded hours means the government helps pay for the full hour of childcare. 15 free hours of childcare per week are available to all children aged 3–4 in England. This becomes 30 free hours per week if your income is above £142 per week, and under £100,000 per year.

    Some people are entitled to 15 funded hours per week for their 2-year-old. To qualify for this your income has to be below a certain bracket, and you have to receive certain benefits.

    Usually, you can only access funded hours during term time. But if you don’t need 30 hours per week, some providers will allow you to use fewer hours across more weeks of the year. Just talk to the provider you have in mind. Some providers will still require payment for things like nappies or food.

    Can I get Tax-Free Childcare and funded hours at the same time?

    Yes. You can get both if your child is aged 3–4 and you meet the income requirements. Just remember that there are no funded hours for children of school age, or under the age of 2.

    Can I get Tax-Free Childcare and tax credits at the same time?

    No. You can only claim one or the other. This means most people who qualify for 15 funded hours for 2-year-olds wouldn’t be able to access Tax-Free Childcare. But in this situation, you’ll probably qualify for Child tax credit or Universal credit.

    What’s an ‘approved childcare provider’?

    Michelle, a childminder in Dagenham East


    Michelle’s home nursery in Dagenham accepts Tax-Free Childcare and funded hours

    Is the provider Ofsted-registered? If it’s a nursery or childminder, they have to be. But most nannies are not. And not all nurseries or childminders are set up for funded hours and Tax-Free childcare. If you have a childcare provider in mind, call them and ask. They will know if they provide funded hours and Tax-Free Childcare, and most do. Other approved providers can be schools with nurseries, and home care workers.

    At Koru Kids, we support our Early Educators to set up their home nurseries to provide funded hours and Tax-Free Childcare for children under 5. Looking for an approved childcare provider near you? Reach out to us. We’d love to help.

    What about childcare vouchers?

    The childcare voucher scheme is no longer running. If you already use it, you can continue to for now. Bear in mind that if you are using vouchers it might affect other benefits or support, so the quiz above might not apply to you.

    A little child holds a sparkler in the dark night, dressed in a thick coat. She looks down at the sparkler.


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