Undisclosed Partners: Same-Sex Couples - Incorrect Claims
From 5 December 2005 same-sex couples must make tax credit claims as a couple. You will therefore encounter the same compliance risks as shown at CCM15020. Where an incorrect claim has been made because the customer failed to disclose they were living as a same-sex couple the claim will be terminated from the date they became a couple or 5 December 2005 if later.
Where an incorrect claim has been made the customer is liable to a penalty under S31(1)(a) if the claim was made fraudulently or negligently. CCM10040 provides more details of such penalties. The customer may say they were not aware that they had to tell us they were a member of a couple because they did not think we recognised same-sex couples. You and your manager will have to decide whether you think it was reasonable for the customer to have reached this conclusion but you should bear in mind that a newsletter went to all customers in the Summer of 2005 explaining about the changes from December 2005. Also, future claim packs have referred to same-sex couples. However, if you accept the customer behaved reasonably then there is no neglect and if there is no neglect there is no penalty.
For general advice regarding examinations and enquiries for same-sex couples see CCM15320.