Changes - miscellaneous (A-F): Family changes (Info)
The award on the original claim will be finalised and you must check whether the customer(s) is/are living in a closed postcode area and whether exceptions to business rules apply. For how to check the postcode area and to determine whether exceptions apply, use TCM1000628.
If appropriate, invite the customer to make a fresh claim in the following cases
- the customer was a single customer when the original claim was made, but the customer gets married or starts living with someone as if they are married
- the customer was a single customer when the original claim was made, but on or after 5 December 2005 the customer forms a civil partnership with a same sex partner or reports that they are living with a same sex partner as if in a civil partnership.
Note: The Civil Partnership Act came into force on 5th December 2005. Two customers of the same sex cannot be treated as a couple for tax credit purposes before that date.
Note: The Marriage (same sex couples) Act 2013 extended marriage to same sex couples. See TCTM06100 for the definition of a couple.
- one customer in a joint claim dies
- the original claim was made by a couple, but the couple have now separated and no longer live together.
Follow the guidance in TCM0044080.
Note: if exceptions to business rules do not apply and the customer(s) lives in a postcode area which is due to close within 21 days, tell them they will need to make a claim before their postcode area closes. They should contact our helpline who will be able to help them with this.
The following cases are not to be treated as a relevant change of circumstances in the family
- two people of the same sex can not be treated as a couple for tax credits purposes before 5 December 2005. This applies even if one of them is a transsexual
- if you are notified by a single customer that they are living with a same sex partner before 5 December 2005, tell the customer that their partner must apply for tax credits in their own right, but they must make a joint claim from 5 December 2005. This is because we can not accept joint claims from same sex couples until 5 December 2005
- if you are notified of a correction, which makes two customers in the same family the same sex, you must contact the customer and find out more details if the tax credits award commenced before 5 December 2005. Where the customer advises you that they have always been two women or men and you have been given incorrect details, you must use Function AMEND APPLICATION (Correction option) and enter a Household End Date as the date of the claim. Check whether the customer(s) is living in a closed postcode area and whether exceptions to business rules apply. If appropriate you should then invite the customers to make a fresh claims for the period up to 4 December 2005 and tell them that they must make a further joint claim from 5 December 2005
Note: If the tax credits award commences on or after 5 December 2005, do not treat a gender correction as a family change, as there will be no change to entitlement.
Note: If you are notified of a gender change because the customer has been issued with a Gender Recognition certificate, follow the guidance in TCM0036140.
- If one or both members of a couple are under the age of 16, they cannot be treated as a couple. This is because anyone under the age of 16 is a child.
Further information regarding family changes are contained in the TCO notes and the award notices.
Family Break Up Notified Late
From 18 January 2010 there has been a change in policy for people who start living together or separate, and who report changes late.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will take into account what they would have been entitled to receive had they reported the change promptly.
This means that where the customer has taken more than 31 days to report a change in their household, they will usually be overpaid tax credits. For these customers we will refer their claim to the Notional Entitlement Team who will look at the period from when the household ended to the day before their new effective date of claim. This is called the Notional Entitlement period.
A calculation will then be done to
- work out how much the customer would have been entitled to if they had reported the change promptly
- off-set this amount against their old tax credits award to reduce their overpayment.