Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Can I get a tax credit?

Published:Tuesday | December 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I will be migrating to England shortly without my family and I will be working there legally. I have been informed that I will be able to still receive a tax credit even though my family will not be with me. Is this true?

- S. Y.

Dear SY,

It may be possible for persons to receive tax credits if they move to or leave the United Kingdom. If a person goes to the United Kingdom and has a partner who is not in the United Kingdom but is in their home country and does not have any children, he or she may get a working tax credit as a single person.

A person will need to let the tax credit office know within a month if their partner joins him or her in the United Kingdom, as that person's tax credits payment may change.

A person may also be able to get a child tax credit if the child lives abroad and he or she may also be able to get a child tax credit if that person has a child and:

1. He or she works in the United Kingdom; has a right to reside in the United Kingdom;

2. If he or she pays United Kingdom National Insurance contributions there;

3. If that person's child lives in a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or in Switzerland with that person's partner or someone else who depends on him or her to support them.

A person cannot usually claim for a child who lives outside the EEA or Switzerland. There is an exception if the person's partner is a Crown servant posted abroad. However, a person will need to let the tax credit office know within a month if his or her partner and child join him or her there. This is because the tax credit payments may change. It should be noted that if a person has children and their partner gets benefits paid by another EEA country or Switzerland, this may affect his or her tax credits. This is because some benefits are counted as income, for example, benefits paid because of unemployment, and others such as family benefits are not.

A person must have been living in the United Kingdom for three months before he or she is eligible to claim child tax credit and would be eligible if he or she had moved to the United Kingdom on or after July 1, 2014 and did not have a job. However, this does not apply if that person is a family member of someone who works or is self-employed; is Croatian and has a certificate to work, or is the family member of someone who has one; is a refugee; or has been granted discretionary leave to enter or stay in the United Kingdom and is eligible to get benefits. It also will not apply if he or she has been given leave to stay as a displaced person and he or she can get benefits; or has been given leave to stay and has applied for settlement as a victim of domestic violence; and if that person had been granted humanitarian protection.

Other situations where it would not apply would be where his or her job was made redundant in the United Kingdom, or his or her family member's was, and he or she is looking for a job or is in training; he or she was working in the United Kingdom before but temporarily is not able to work because of his or her health or an accident; or has been abroad for less than a year, but usually resides in the United Kingdom and was claiming child tax credits before moving; or has been abroad for less than a year but usually resides in the United Kingdom and had been in the United Kingdom for at least three months before moving; and/or paid Class 1 or Class 2 United Kingdom National Insurance contributions while he or she was working abroad, and had been paying these in the three-month period before returning to the United Kingdom.

• John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com.