I don't think it's such an unusual meaning. Not many concepts arePeterSaxton said:"Absence" then has a very unusual meaning. I don't think you can
change what a word means simply because you don't like what the use of
the word requires.
always applied in a black and white fashion, they admit to shades of
gray. In this case HMRC (or possibly even Parliament itself) chose
to define absence for tax purposes as involving a physical absence
which is only predominant rather than complete.
Presumably because they are happy for taxpayers to return for anyWhy didn't HMRC simply refer to start and end of a period of
employment abroad if they are happy for taxpayers to return for
reason, not just for holidays, and also because they are happy for
employment to be the reason for beginning the absence but not
necessarily for sustaining its entire duration. But mostly because
they didn't want to have to repeat a long phrase throughout their
documents; they needed a single word to describe the "period of
being abroad", and "absence" seemed closest at hand.
OK, in the absence (heh!) of any additional information, "absent allIf I say I have been absent from London all week and somebody says
that they have seen me in London that week what would anybody think if
I said there's nothing wrong with being in London so I was still
week" would normally be taken to imply a 0% presence. But take out
the word "all" and that's no longer the case.
If you said you were "absent that week", it would only mean that your
presence during that week was less than 100%. Context might add an
implication that presence was very much less than 100%, perhaps even
much less than 50%, but we don't know. You'd need to provide more
detail if it were necessary to dispel the vagueness.
In the HMRC case, they *have* provided more detail, by defining that
they take "absence for a whole tax year" to mean that you are more
absent than present, to the tune of your presence not exceeding 182
days in any one tax year, and averaging no more than 91 days per tax
year over the whole (potentially multi-year) period of absence.