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Shared care for Working for Families Tax credits

Shared care means that you share the care of a child or children with someone else, for example an ex-spouse or ex-partner.

Shared care criteria

You may qualify for Working for Families Tax Credits if you have:

  • a shared care arrangement and
  • it is intended to be in place for four months or more and
  • the child is in your care, on average, at least one third of the time (Over a year this is at least 122 days a year or five days every fortnight.)

Example - Calculating shared care

Paul is a teacher. He has care of his daughter Nina during the school holidays and every second weekend. If Paul meets all the other criteria he will be entitled to Working for Families Tax Credits. He worked it out like this: 12 weeks of school holidays = 84 days, and every second weekend = 40 days, in total 124 days.

If you think you qualify for shared care

If you think you qualify for shared care, you need to let us know the number of days per fortnight you have the child in your care.

You may be asked to provide further information, for example:

  • a signed letter by the other carer of the child(ren) agreeing to the shared care arrangement
  • what the normal care arrangements are during the school term, including the days of the week and the usual drop-off and pick-up times
  • what the care arrangements are for school holidays and public holidays
  • how decisions are made about the child's(ren) daily care and activities, for example
    • Who plans the child/children's leisure activities
    • Who takes them to school/preschool
    • Who makes the decisions about their education and healthcare
    • Who pays for their expenses
  • the date the arrangement started, and if now ceased, the date it ended.

You could also attach any of the above information to the IR836 Shared Care Details form.

To support your application or change in shared care, you could send in any of the following evidence:

  • Information from a third party who knows about your shared care arrangement for example your child's(ren) school or preschool or your family doctor.
  • Court documents such as a Parenting order or Agreement.
  • Any other documentation which may support your application.

How to contact us about shared care


If you qualify for shared care, you can update your family and income details directly with our My family details and income online service.

Secure mail

You can also email us. Send us a message explaining the details of your shared care arrangement using our Secure mail service.


Call us on 0800 227 773 to provide the information.

Next steps