Claim compensation for Childcare service issues

Check if you can get compensation if you’ve been unable to access Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours free childcare due to technical issues.


Tax-Free Childcare top-up compensation


If you’ve experienced technical issues in your childcare account it could have affected either:

  • Tax-Free Childcare
  • 30 hours free childcare

You may be able to:

  • claim compensation for Tax-Free Childcare top-up by completing this form
  • get compensation for 30 hours free childcare by writing to us

Use the online form to claim Tax-Free Childcare top-up compensation

If you’ve paid for childcare without getting your government top up, we’ll refund the payment due if you’ve been unable to:

  • complete your application for Tax-Free Childcare
  • access your childcare account

We’ll also consider refunding any reasonable costs directly caused by:

  • the service not working as it should
  • our mistakes
  • any unreasonable delay, within our control

Complete this form, then print and post it to HMRC.

Before you start

If you’re using an older browser, for example, Internet Explorer 8, you’ll need to update it or use a different browser. Find out more about browsers.

If you’re still experiencing technical difficulties you can contact the Childcare service helpline.

You’ll need to fill in the form fully before you can print it. You cannot save a partly completed form.

Claim 30 hours free childcare compensation by post

Check that you applied before the deadline

You may be able to claim compensation if you can prove that you applied or reconfirmed before a term start date. Terms start dates are set by the 30 hours free childcare scheme and are:

  • 1 September
  • 1 January
  • 1 April

Find out more about when to apply for 30 hours free childcare.

Check if you’re eligible to apply for compensation

To be entitled to compensation you must have paid out for childcare that would have been free.

To claim you must meet certain conditions. You can only claim if you’ve:

  • experienced technical issues with the Childcare online service which prevented you from applying or reconfirming
  • received your code late due to standard processing times
  • successfully appealed a decision

How to claim compensation by post

To claim write to us at:

Childcare Service
HM Revenue and Customs

You must send us your:

  • full name
  • National Insurance number
  • address and postcode

You must also send:

  • details of what happened that stopped you getting 30 hours free childcare — this includes any proof that shows you applied ahead of the relevant term start date
  • proof of any payments you made for childcare, such as copies of bank statements or receipts

You should also include details of the account where you want any compensation to be paid, including the:

  • name of the bank or building society
  • account holder’s name
  • account number
  • sort code
  • building society roll number (if applicable)

You may get a decision within 28 working days.

What to do after you get compensation

If you’re due compensation, and you get Universal Credit or tax credits, you’ll need to report a change of circumstances, including the amount paid back to you to:

Published 21 August 2017
Last updated 25 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. 'Claiming 30 hours free childcare compensation' section has been updated to clarify term dates and conditions for claiming.

  2. Welsh translation added.

  3. 'Claiming 30 hours free childcare compensation' section has been updated to clarify term dates and the 'How to claim' section updated if you receive a refund and get Universal Credit or tax credits.

  4. We have added a section telling people how to claim compensation for 30 hours free childcare where a technical issue has caused problems accessing the service.

  5. An updated form to claim Childcare Service 'top-up' refund has been added and a Helpline telephone number.

  6. Removed information about the Nanny Tax service being available soon, as the Nanny Tax service is live.

  7. The page and form have been updated to advise customers that they'll soon be able to pay tax and National Insurance payments for nannies using their childcare account.

  8. The content has been updated to clarify the compensation claim process.

  9. First published.