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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Undisclosed Partners: Reasons for Failure To Report A Partner

Customers may offer a range of reasons or excuses for their failure to report the existence of a partner. These may include:

  • she/he does not stay here all of the time. See CCM15073
  • she/he lives at another address but uses my address as a post box. See CCM15075
  • I thought she/he could stay 3 nights a week without it affecting my entitlement
  • she/he does not give me any money, or payments are not regular. See CCM15090
  • she/he is not the mother/father of my child(ren)
  • she/he is a lodger. See CCM15070
  • she/he is just a friend
  • it is hard being a single parent
  • the Government does not pay people like me enough
  • the rules on income are not fair
  • we do not have a sexual relationship. See CCM15120

The 3 nights rule is a popular misconception. No such legal loophole exists. If a suspected partner spends 3 nights with the customer on a regular basis, she/he may be a member of an established couple. Also, the children’s parentage is not, in isolation, reliable evidence.

You will need to explain to the customer the criteria which we use to determine whether they are living together as husband and wife, living together as civil partners or living together as a same sex couple, see CCM15040. You will then need to establish the facts by considering all the evidence from all legally available sources, including the customer.

Note: The Marriage (same sex couples) Act 2013 extended marriage to same sex couples. See TCTM06100 for the definition of a couple.