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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: Migrant workers, and how EU Law affects joint claims

The following examples show how a couple, where one partner lives and works in the United Kingdom (UK) whilst the other partner and children remain in another European Economic Area (EEA) Member State or Switzerland, should claim tax credits, either singly or jointly depending on different circumstances.

Migrant worker - only one partner working in UK

A German national comes to work in the UK, whilst his partner remains in Germany with their children. As the remaining partner is not working the UK become the competent state for any family benefits and provide the same social advantages in the same way we would for a cross border worker, we would treat them as a couple for CTC but not for WTC.


The worker can claim WTC as a UK social advantage under Regulation 1612/68 while he is working in the UK. Since his partner lives in Germany the UK law does not regard her as present in the UK and nothing in Regulation 1612/68 requires the UK to treat his partner and family as if they are in the UK.

The worker is therefore unable to make a joint WTC claim with his partner but can make a single WTC claim.


The worker can claim CTC as a UK family benefit under Regulation 1408/71 (before 1 May 2010) or Regulation 883/04 (on or after 1 May 2010). Those regulations require UK to treat the partner and children living in Germany as being in the UK. As both partners are treated as being in the UK they can make a joint claim for CTC

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Migrant Worker - One partner works in the UK, other starts work in the EEA

Using the same example as above, if the non-working partner starts work in Germany that country becomes responsible for paying any family benefits - due to this employment and the location of the children. The UK’s competency for paying any CTC ends and Germany becomes the ‘competent state’ to pay their equivalent of CTC and CHB. If Germany’s rates are lower than the UK’s rates we may ‘top up’ the amount to what the couple got from the UK to ensure they do not lose out. That amount of top up is calculated on the basis of a joint CTC claim. The single WTC claim will not be affected.