Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what this means

HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Entitlement: residence rules - temporary absence from UK

Tax Credits (Residence) Regulations 2003, Reg. 4

Although the requirement to be in the United Kingdom implies physical presence here on a day-to-day basis, a person who is not physically present in the United Kingdom may nevertheless be treated as such for up to the first twelve weeks of temporary absence.

Regulation 4 of the Tax Credits (Residence) Regulations 2003 does not simply provide for entitlement to continue during certain periods of absence from the United Kingdom. Rather, it provides that people are to be treated as still being in the United Kingdom, which means there is nothing to prevent them making a new claim, or renewing an existing claim, during such periods.

Where a claimant is no longer present or treated as present, the change must be reported to HMRC within 1 month.

There are three key points to note:

  • the period of absence must be unlikely to exceed 52 weeks. If the absence is expected to last for longer than 52 weeks, the person ceases to be treated as being in the United Kingdom from the time they leave. The question of whether the absence is unlikely to exceed 52 weeks needs to be addressed only once, at the beginning of the absence (regulation 4(2);
  • the person must remain ordinarily resident throughout (unless specifically exempted from this requirement). If the claimant ceases to be ordinarily resident, they should no longer be treated as being in the United Kingdom;
  • in calculating how long the person has been absent, the start should be from the day after the last day they were physically present in the United Kingdom, even if they were only physically present here for a short period (including a day or part of a day).

Permitted periods of temporary absence

Tax Credits (Residence) Regulations 2003, Reg. 4

Regulation 4(1)(a)

People continue to be treated as being in the United Kingdom during the first eight weeks of any temporary absence.

Regulation 4(1)(b)

People continue to be treated as being in the United Kingdom during the first twelve weeks of any temporary absence where the absence, or its extension beyond eight weeks, is in connection with:

  • the treatment of the person’s illness or physical or mental disability;
  • the death or treatment of an illness or disability of the person’s partner or a child or qualifying young person for whom they are responsible; or
  • the death or treatment of an illness or disability of one of the person’s relatives, or the person’s partner’s relative.

For this extension to twelve weeks to apply, however, the absence, or its extension, must be in connection with the death or with the treatment of an illness or disability. It is not enough for the two things simply to coincide. For example:

  • where a person is on holiday and spends a few days of that holiday with a relative who happens to be receiving treatment, they are not entitled to the extension unless the reason they stayed away for more than eight weeks was because they were visiting their relative and the reason they visited the relative was because he or she was receiving treatment;
  • if someone always goes abroad to stay with their daughter for twelve weeks every year, they would not be entitled to the extension for a year in which the daughter just happened to be receiving treatment; and
  • if a person stays abroad while they are receiving treatment for some minor ailment, they would not be entitled to the extension if the illness or disability did not prevent them from travelling home and the treatment they were receiving would equally be available to them in the United Kingdom.

Meaning of relative

Tax Credits (Residence) Regulations 2003, Regulation 2(1)

Relative is defined as brother, sister, ancestor or other lineal descendant.