Tax-Free Childcare has opened to parents whose youngest child is under nine, or who turns nine today.

HMRC says the scheme will open to all remaining eligible families with children under 12 on 14th February.

Parents, including the self-employed, can apply online for Tax-Free Childcare by visiting Childcare Choices. Parents can also access the government’s childcare calculator through Childcare Choices, which helps parents to choose which government childcare support is best for them.

Tax-free childcare is a system whereby parents pay upfront into an online childcare account and claim back up to 20% of the cost from the Government. The roll-out has been delayed since the system was first launched last April for children under six. Initially the government said it would be rolled out to under 12s in 2017.

The government says more than 170,000 now have a Tax-Free Childcare account.