You can apply for tax credits as a single person, or as a couple (known as a ‘joint claim’) if you’re both 16 or over and living in the UK.
Usually, you must make a joint claim if:
- you’re married or in a civil partnership (and not permanently or legally separated)
- you live with your partner as though you’re married or in a civil partnership
- you’re temporarily living away from one another, for example looking after a relative or working away from home
You might also need to make a joint claim if you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership, but:
- sometimes live in the same house
- have a joint financial agreement
- have dependent children
If you or your partner live abroad
Usually, you must apply for tax credits as a single person if you live in the UK and your partner lives abroad.
You must make a joint claim for tax credits if either:
your partner is working abroad for the UK government (it does not matter if you live in the UK or abroad)
you and your partner both live the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and one of you works in the UK
If you’re claiming Child Tax Credit you must also make a joint claim if you live in the UK but your partner lives in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.
If you’re not sure
Call HM Revenue and Customs to find out if you should make a joint claim.
You must pay back any tax credits you’re not entitled to if you do not make the right sort of application.