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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Dispositions for the maintenance of the transferor’s family: meaning of a dependent relative

Under IHTA84/S11 (6), ‘dependent relative’ means in relation to any person

  • a relative of theirs, or of their spouse or civil partner, who is incapacitated by old age or infirmity (IHTM04179) from maintaining themselves, S11 (6)(a),
  • their mother or father or their spouse’s or civil partner’s mother or father, S11 (6)(b).

A step-parent of a transferor or spouse or civil partner qualifies as a relative. The term ‘spouse or civil partner’ does not include a former spouse who is divorced from the transferor or a person whose civil partnership with the transferer has been dissolved.

So a payment, which in all other respects satisfies the conditions for relief, made in favour of a sister, or step-father, of the transferor’s divorced wife does not qualify. But such a payment in favour of a separated, but not divorced, wife’s sister or step-father does qualify.

Although there is a clear difference in the class of recipients at sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of the definition, in that there is no requirement at (b) that the recipient must be incapable of maintaining themselves, whether that be due to old age or infirmity, or for financial reasons, remember that the provision must be reasonable for S11 to apply.