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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

Eligibility - residency and immigration: Residence, presence and right to reside - general (Info)

To be eligible for tax credits, each customer included in the claim must be aged 16 or over and be treated as being in the United Kingdom (UK).

To be treated as being in the UK, a person must be

  • actually present in the UK during the period of the claim. Use guidance in TCM0128100
  • ordinarily resident in the UK. Use guidance in TCM0128120

and, for Child Tax Credit (CTC)

  • have a right to reside in the UK. Use guidance in TCM0128140.

Note: There are some exceptions to these criteria. These are included in TCM0128040. For details of the rules about temporary absences, follow the guidance in TCM0320420.

Note: Couples or civil partners should make a joint claim unless they have separated and intend the separation to be permanent.

Note: The Marriage (same sex couples) Act 2013 extended marriage to same sex couples.  See TCTM06100 for the definition of a couple.

If one partner is living and/or working outside the UK, then the person remaining in the UK should make a single-person claim. There are three exceptions when a joint claim must still be made

  • where either customer or both customers are living in the EEA and are responsible for any children
  • where they are Crown Servants posted overseas
  • where their absence from the UK is only temporary. For more information, use TCM0320420.

For example: customer 1 of a couple moves to Singapore to work. The absence isn’t temporary and none of the exemptions from residence requirements apply. Customer 2 remains in the UK with the children. In this case, customer 2 should submit a tax credits claim in their own right.

If one partner in a couple ceases to be in the UK, the entitlement of the couple will end and

  • the other partner will have to make a claim as an individual (unless the partner who is no longer in the UK is still eligible for tax credits).

If a member of a couple who has previously been abroad returns to the UK

  • the couple will need to make a new claim as a couple.

For a child or young person to be included in a tax credits claim, the child must normally live with the customer, and the customer must be responsible for them.