Single Person Child Carer Credit
If you care for a child on your own, you may be able to claim a tax credit called the Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC). Tax credits reduce the amount of tax that you have to pay.
The SPCCC is given to the person who lives with the child for the whole or greater part of the year (more than 6 months) – called the primary claimant.
If you are a primary claimant, you can give up your entitlement to the credit to another person, called a secondary claimant, if the child lives with them for more than 100 days in a year and they meet all the other qualifying conditions.
You cannot claim the SPCCC if you are:
- Jointly assessed for tax as a married person or civil partner or
- Married or in a civil partnership (unless separated) or
If you are cohabiting, you cannot claim the SPCCC for the year in which you stop living together.
You cannot claim the SPCCC for the year in which you become widowed or a surviving civil partner (the year of bereavement).
You can claim the SPCCC in subsequent years if you qualify.
The primary claimant is the person with whom a qualifying child (see below) lives for more than 6 months of the year.
If both parents have equal custody (by court order), entitlement to the credit is decided by which parent gets Child Benefit from the Department of Social Protection. A child who is living away from home while attending college is considered a qualifying child if they are still maintained by the claimant and return home outside of term-time.
A primary claimant can give up the SPCCC to a secondary claimant. A secondary claimant must meet exactly the same conditions except for the condition that the child lives with him or her for the greater part of the year.
The secondary claimant does not need to have legal custody of the qualifying child but must prove that the child lives with them for at least 100 days in the year. A day can be counted if the child stays with them for most of that day. So, for example, if a child stays with them from Saturday morning until Sunday evening, this can be counted as 2 days.
A qualifying child is a child who is either:
- Born in the tax year
- Aged under 18 at the start of the tax year
- Aged over 18 at the start of the tax year but in full-time education or
- Eligible for the Incapacitated Child Tax Credit
The child may be:
- Your own child.
- An adopted child.
- Any child you support and maintain at your own expense. This means having day-to-day responsibility for the upbringing of the child and responsibility for their charge and care. However, foster children children do not qualify for SPCCC.
Surrendering your entitlement
If you are the primary claimant and you do not want to claim the credit, you can surrender (give up) your entitlement to the credit. This surrender will remain in place until you withdraw it. You will then have the credit restored to you at the beginning of the following tax year. (For example, if you withdraw your surrender on 15 May 2024, the SPCCC will be restored for the tax years from 2025 onwards).
Can both parents claim a Single Person Child Carer Credit?
Only one credit for any qualifying child is available to the primary claimant. If you have more than one qualifying child, you can only get one Single Person Child Carer Credit for those children.
However, if you have more than one qualifying child and you surrender your entitlement to the SPCCC, then 2 or more secondary claimants can claim the credit if they each care for a qualified child for more than 100 days in a year.
For example, Jack has 2 children, Susan and Joan, and is a qualifying primary claimant. Susan lives with her mother Mary for more than 100 days in a year and Joan lives with her mother Denise for more than 100 days in a year. If Jack surrenders his entitlement to the SPCCC, Mary and Denise can each claim a SPCCC if they meet the other requirements.
The Single Person Child Carer Credit is €1,750 in 2024 (€1,650 in 2023).
If you get the SPCCC, you are also entitled to an increase of €4,000 in the standard rate tax band.
How to apply
If you pay tax under the self-assessment system, you claim the SPCCC through Revenue Online Service (ROS) on your Income Tax Return (Form 11).
You cannot surrender the SPCCC to a secondary claimant online. You must use Form SPCC1 (pdf).
If the primary claimant has given up their claim, you can claim SPCCC as a secondary claimant by completing Form SPCC2 (pdf).
If you believe you qualify as the primary claimant but the credit has been granted automatically to another person, you should complete Form SPCC1 (pdf) and submit it to your Revenue office. You should also include any relevant evidence in support of your claim that the child lives with you for the whole or greater part of the year. The decision on who is the primary claimant will be made on the facts in the case. If there is a dispute you can appeal Revenue's determination to the Appeal Commissioners.
Remember that, for a secondary claimant to make a claim, in all cases the primary claimant must have surrendered their entitlement to the credit. There is no obligation on the primary claimant to give up the SPCCC.
Further information for people parenting alone
There are additional tax credits for widowed parents.