Tax credits childcare support

Updated on 10 May 2021


There are two tax credits – child tax credit and working tax credit. You can claim one or both of them, depending on your household circumstances. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) deals with claims for tax credits.

Illustration of couple with a baby and coins
  • Working tax credit (or WTC) is paid to people who work and are on a low income – it does not matter whether you are an employee or self-employed. You do not need to have children to get WTC.
  • Child tax credit (or CTC) is paid to people who have children. It is paid in addition to child benefit and you do not have to be working to get it.

There are different qualifying conditions for working tax credit and child tax credit, but you only use one claim form. See our How do I claim tax credits? page for more information about claiming.

You can get help with childcare costs through working tax credit. This section explains more about the childcare element of working tax credit. Use the links below to find out more:

Universal credit (UC) is gradually replacing some benefits including working tax credit and child tax credit. Now that UC is available across the UK, HMRC state that most people can no longer make a brand new claim for tax credits and must claim UC (or pension credit) instead. If you are already claiming tax credits you will eventually be moved across to UC by HMRC/DWP – until that happens you will only be affected by UC if you choose to claim it, if you need to claim another benefit that UC has replaced (such as housing benefit) or your circumstances change which ends your tax credit claim and you cannot make a brand new claim for tax credits. There is a childcare element similar to the one in working tax credit within UC, for those who meet the qualifying rules. You can find out more about universal credit in our tax credits and state benefits section.

If you are already receiving tax credits, and start paying for childcare, you may qualify for the childcare element of working tax credit. You will not need to make a claim for UC in this situation, unless required to do so for some other reason.

There are some changes to tax credits during the COVID-19 pandemic that may affect working hours and childcare. You can find out more in our coronavirus guidance section.

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