What is qualifying childcare?

Updated on 8 October 2020


Your vouchers can only be used to pay for childcare from a registered or approved provider – childcare providers are given a letter or certificate confirming they are registered or approved. The rules for claiming childcare vouchers changed from 4 October 2018 – see our Who can claim vouchers? page for more information.

Image of a girl with a speech bubble with the words qualifying childcare
(c) Shutterstock / Odua

There are special rules if your child is looked after by a relative. A relative includes a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister whether by blood, half blood, marriage, civil partnership or affinity (for example, a partner).

If a relative is a registered childminder and looks after the child away from the child’s home, the childcare will qualify. If the care is provided in the child’s home, even if the relative is a registered childminder, it is excluded and you cannot claim childcare vouchers.

If your relative is an approved childcare provider in Northern Ireland or Wales, the childcare can be qualifying if it is provided away from the child’s home and the relative also cares for at least one other non-related child. Childcare provided by foster carers, foster parents and kinship carers is generally excluded.

For more information on what qualifying childcare is, see HMRC's guidance.

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