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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Undisclosed Partners: Claims to Tax Credits

The Tax Credits Act 2002 specifies who is entitled to make a claim.

Before 5 December 2005 Section 3(3)(a) said a claim can be made jointly by a married couple or an unmarried couple

From 5 December 2005 Section 3(3)(a) says a claim can be made jointly by a couple.

Opposite-sex couples are either:

  • Married (and not separated by court order or separated in circumstances which mean the separation is likely to be permanent)
  • Unmarried but living together as husband and wife (LTAHAW).

Same-sex couples are either:

  • Civil partners (and not separated by court order or separated in circumstances which mean the separation is likely to be permanent)
  • Not civil partners but living together as civil partners (LTACP).

Section 3(3)(b) says a claim can be made by a person who is not entitled to claim under S3(3)(a).

S3(3)(b) therefore makes it clear that a member of a couple is not entitled to claim as a single person. However, S3(3)(b) does not include couples in certain prohibited relationships - see CCM15025.

Prior to the introduction of the Gender Recognition Act we did not recognise gender reassignment for tax credit purposes. The Gender Recognition Act received Royal Assent in July 2004 and Certificates confirming gender recognition can be issued from 4 April 2005. This might affect entitlement to tax credits - see CCM15250.

Tax credits are based on the income and circumstances of the household so there can be financial advantages for a customer stating they are single when they are in a couple. Primarily this will be because the partner’s income would not have been included but it might also be for other reasons. For example, if the partner is not working the customer cannot claim childcare costs. See CCM15020 for an overview of the compliance issues.