HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

CCM15040 - Undisclosed Partners: Couples who are Unmarried and Not Civil Partners

As well as couples who are married and civil partners Section 3(5A) defines a couple as:

  • a man and woman who are not married to each other but who are living together as husband and wife (LTAHAW).
  • two people of the same sex who are not civil partners of each other but are living together as if they were civil partners (LTACP) or a married couple (LTAASSC)

The legislation does not say what conditions must exist before we will conclude that a couple are LTAHAW. We have therefore adopted the approach used by the DWP. Using the same approach for same-sex couples means they are not treated any more or less favourably.

Since 1977 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP - formerly the Benefits Agency) has followed a standard approach to the question of whether a man and woman are living together based on a list of criteria to be considered both individually and as a whole. Working Families’ Tax Credit (WFTC) adopted the same criteria and this has continued for WTC and CTC. This approach ensures unmarried couples are not treated any more or less favourably than married couples.

Living together as husband and wife (LTAHAW) has its normal meaning in every day language, but the Courts and administrative practice have developed a number of criteria to help apply that meaning to every day situations. They are:-

  • living in the same household - CCM15070-CCM15075
  • stability of relationship - CCM15080
  • financial support - CCM15090
  • dependent children - CCM15100
  • public acknowledgement - CCM15110

Remember that these are only indicators to help you form a sustainable view of whether a couple are living together for the purposes of the tax credit claim. They are not intended as a crude checklist and you should not apply a blanket “four out of five ticked” type test. The weight and worth of each indicator will vary from relationship to relationship and you should arrive at your conclusions on the balance of evidence, based on the facts (see CCM15060). However, you need to be aware of the changing nature of relationships - see CCM15045.