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To claim tax credits you normally have to live in the UK. However, you may still qualify if you go abroad temporarily, such as for a holiday or medical treatment. If you expect to go abroad for more than eight or twelve weeks, this could affect your tax credits entitlement.
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As long as you don't expect to be away for more than 52 weeks from the time you leave, you'll keep getting tax credits for:
If you stay abroad longer than eight or twelve weeks, your tax credits will usually stop at the end of the eight or twelve week period. If you return within the eight or twelve week period, your tax credits will usually just carry on.
If you do need to stay abroad for longer than eight or twelve weeks, you must let the Tax Credit Office know within one month. You can do this by contacting the Tax Credit Helpline. You may still qualify for tax credits if you keep links with the UK. For example:
You must let the Tax Credit Office know within a month if you’re going abroad for periods of up to a year. If you don't, you could be paid too much money (an overpayment), which you may have to pay back. You may also be charged a penalty of up to £300.
You can report changes by calling the Tax Credit Helpline.
You may still be treated as if you’re in the UK for the first eight or twelve weeks that you're abroad. This depends on the reason you’re going, as explained in the very first section above. But you must not expect to be abroad for more than 52 weeks at the time you leave.
If you've made a joint claim your payments will usually carry on for that period of time.
Your tax credits claim will usually come to an end, but you may still qualify for tax credits if you keep links with the UK. For example:
If you're expecting to go away for a year or more, or permanently, you need to let the Tax Credit Office know before you leave. You can do this by calling the Tax Credit Helpline.
You will normally stop being entitled to tax credits from the date you leave the UK, unless you still have links with the UK. For example:
When you work for the UK Government, for example, as a civil servant or a member of the armed forces you're a Crown servant. If you have to work abroad you may be able to claim tax credits, just as if you were living in the UK.
If you're a seafarer or an offshore worker you'll be able to keep on claiming tax credits if you're outside the UK. But each period that you work outside the UK must be eight weeks or less.
You'll be treated as being in the UK as long as you're inside the UK's territorial waters - 12 miles out from the low water mark.
If you're working outside this limit, your tax credits will not be affected unless you're away from home for more than eight weeks.
Ahmed works on a fishing boat that's always outside UK waters. He works four weeks on, four weeks off, and never expects to be away for more than 52 weeks when he goes outside UK waters. Because his working periods outside the UK are less than eight weeks, he can keep on claiming tax credits.