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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

Decision Making, Joint or Single claims: Absences from the home

Short-term absences from the home, whether occasional or regular, do not necessarily mean that two people should not be regarded as living together as a married couple (LTAMC) or as civil partners (LTACP). Absences could be due to:

  • work (for example an oil rig worker or long distance lorry driver)
  • being a hospital in-patient
  • a holiday
  • a visit to relatives
  • training or education
  • a custodial sentence of less than 52 weeks
  • a forces posting

This list is not exhaustive.

The common feature of the reasons for the absence from the home listed above is their temporary nature (for temporary absences from the UK - see below; for claims from couples where only one partner is in the UK - see TCTM09370).

There is no specific period of time after which a couple’s absence from one another ceases to be temporary, factors to be considered include:

  • the length of the absence
  • how much longer the absence is expected to last
  • to what extent the partners have maintained contact
  • the couple’s future intentions

An absence from the UK can only be regarded as temporary if, at its start, it is expected to last for no more than 52 weeks.