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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Decision Making, Joint or Single claims, Couples where only one partner is in the UK: Temporary absences from the UK

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.

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

Therefore if a couple have a joint claim for tax credits and one member of the couple is temporarily absent from the UK for more than eight weeks the joint claim should end and the remaining claimant in the UK should submit a new single claim. Where the partner returns to the UK after eight weeks the new single claim will end and a new joint claim should be made. If the same circumstances were repeated the whole process should start again.

The eight weeks of temporary absence may be extended to twelve weeks in certain circumstances, see TCTM02040 for further details. So, there may be circumstances where one member of a couple is temporarily absent from the UK for up to 12 weeks and still retain a joint award for tax credits.

Example - joint claim, usually living with a partner

A couple who LTACP where one of them works as a long distance lorry driver spending several days at a time driving on the Continent. She normally returns home when not working but occasionally has a few days layover while waiting for another load to bring back. They should continue to make a joint claim unless her absence from the UK goes beyond 8 weeks.

Different rules apply to Crown Servants who are posted overseas and their partners, see TCTM02050. Generally those posted overseas are treated as remaining in the UK during their posting.