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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Eligibility - residency and immigration: Residence, presence and right to reside - residence (Info)

Ordinary residence isn’t defined in legislation but its established meaning is that

  • the customer is ordinarily residing in the United Kingdom (UK) (apart from temporary or occasional absences)

and

  • the customer’s residence here has been adopted voluntarily for settled purposes as part of the regular order of their life for the time being.

To decide whether the customer has their settled home in the UK, you must consider all the relevant facts. Refer to and later in this guidance.

A customer can be ordinarily resident in more than one country. If a customer stated they have a home in another country this doesn’t mean they can’t be ordinarily resident in the UK.

A customer who lives in the UK year after year should be treated as being ordinarily resident here.

Note: A customer who is in the UK as a result of their deportation, expulsion or other removal by compulsion of law from another country should automatically be treated as ordinarily residing in the UK.

The requirement to be ordinarily resident in the UK doesn’t apply to Crown Servants or their partners posted overseas.

People coming to the UK

You must consider whether a customer coming to the UK is ordinarily resident here. You need to decide whether they have come to live here as part of the regular order of their life for the time being.

Examples of the factors that may be relevant to this decision are provided in the following list. Normally, no single factor on its own will determine if a customer is ordinarily resident. You must make your decision according to all the circumstances of the particular case.

  • If the customer has come to the UK for recreational or temporary purposes, such as a holiday, this is likely to show they aren’t ordinarily resident.
  • The customer intending to leave the UK, other than for temporary absences of limited duration, in the next two or three years may indicate that they aren’t here for a settled purpose and not ordinarily resident.
  • If the visit to the UK forms part of a regular and significant pattern or such a pattern is likely to emerge, this may indicate that the customer is ordinarily resident. The more frequent and longer the visits the more likely the customer is to be ordinarily resident.
  • The customer’s family coming to live in the UK may indicate that they have a settled intention to remain in the UK and are therefore ordinarily resident.
  • The customer having a settled home in the UK such as bought or leased accommodation may indicate that the customer is ordinarily resident. If not, this doesn’t mean that the customer isn’t ordinarily resident as there may be other reasons for this, such as lack of means.
  • The longer the customer has lived in the UK, the stronger the indication that they’re ordinarily resident. If a customer has already lived here for three years or more, it should normally be accepted that they are ordinarily resident. If they have lived here less than that, it doesn’t mean they aren’t ordinarily resident. A person can become ordinarily resident from the first day they arrive in the UK.

People leaving the UK

In some circumstances, a customer will no longer be classed as being ordinarily resident in the UK, you must consider whether a customer leaving the UK has ceased to be ordinarily resident. You need to decide whether they have, for the time being, ceased to live here as part of the regular order of their life.

Examples of the factors that may be relevant to this decision are provided in the following list. Normally, no single factor on its own will determine if a customer is ordinarily resident. You must make your decision according to all the circumstances of the particular case.

  • The customer returning to the UK may indicate that ordinary residence continues during periods abroad. The sooner, more frequent or longer the return visits, the stronger the indication. The customer not intending to return indicates they have ceased to be ordinarily resident.
  • The customer returning to visit family who have remained at the customer’s home in the UK or holidays spent at such a retained home in the UK may indicate continued ordinary residence. Visits connected to the absence abroad (for example, being sent to the UK for training by an overseas employer) are less likely to indicate ordinary residence.
  • The customer’s family going abroad as well may indicate that the customer and their family are no longer ordinarily resident, particularly if they don’t maintain a home in the UK. The customer’s family remaining in the UK could indicate that the customer is ordinarily resident in the UK.
  • The customer retaining a home in the UK during their period of absence may indicate continuing ordinary residence during the period of absence. If not, the customer is less likely to remain ordinarily resident.
  • The customer retaining a home in the UK that is available for their use when they return indicates that ordinary residence may continue. If not available for their use - for example, it’s let on a long lease - then it’s less likely that the customer will remain ordinarily resident.
  • The customer returning to the UK at the end of the period abroad indicates that ordinary residence continues. The customer not returning may indicate that the customer ceases to be ordinarily resident, particularly if they don’t retain a home in the UK during their absence.
  • The longer the customer has lived in the UK, the stronger the indication that they will be ordinarily resident.

Note: If a customer’s circumstances change during the year meaning they’re no longer ordinarily resident and present in the UK, it doesn’t mean that the original decision was incorrect.

For example: customer A is awarded tax credits and, at the time they applied, they intended to remain in the UK. Six months later, they permanently leave the UK so their entitlement to tax credits ends. As long as the facts meant they were considered to be ordinarily resident at the time the original decision was made, the customer is still entitled to tax credits for the six months they’ve already been paid.