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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

Decision Making, Joint or Single claims, Couples where only one partner is in the UK: Cross border and migrant workers

Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 of the Council of 15 October 1968 on Freedom of Movement for Workers within the Community

Council Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 (to 30 April 2010) or Council Regulation (EC) 883/04 (from 1 May 2010) on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community

For tax credit purposes:

  • a cross border worker is a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) Member State or Switzerland who lives in one Member State of the EEA or Switzerland and works in another. Such persons are sometimes referred to as “frontier” workers.
  • a migrant worker is a national of an EEA Member State or Switzerland who lives and works in the UK.

WTC and CTC are affected differently by European (EU) law, and this can change how couples claim tax credits because CTC is exportable to the other Member States whereas WTC is not. This means that someone with a partner may be classed as part of a couple for CTC purposes but not for WTC, so this can result in a joint claim for CTC and a single claim for WTC. How the individual tax credits are treated by EU law is explained in more detail below.


Article 7 of Council Regulation 1612/68 provides that a national of any EEA Member State or Switzerland may not, in another EEA Member State or Switzerland, be treated differently from a worker who is a national of that state. In particular the worker who has moved member states should receive the same social and tax advantages as the worker who is the national of the host member state.

WTC is classed as a United Kingdom (UK) social advantage which can be claimed by a person working in the UK.

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CTC is a family benefit within EU law. Regulation 1408/71 (before 1 May 2010) and Regulation 883/04 (on or after 1 May 2010) provide that a national of one Member State or Switzerland working in another Member state is entitled to family benefits from the host Member State or Switzerland as if his family were living with him in the host country.