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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

Decision Making: Joint or Single claims, Considerations when deciding if two people should be treated as a couple: Living in the same household

The claimant may say that they live with someone but that does not necessarily mean that the two people are living together as husband and wife (LTAHAW) or as civil partners (LTACP).

There may be several reasons why two people share accommodation, including:

  • one or both of them has a disability or ill health and they may need care and support
  • the claimant provides accommodation for a friend, relative, tenant or lodger
  • the claimant is a tenant or lodger in accommodation provided by someone else.
  • two people formerly regarded as a couple continue living in the same house until they reach a financial agreement. During periods when property prices or rents are high, the property market is sluggish, or negative equity is common, former partners may be compelled by economic necessity to share the same premises for some time after the relationship has ended - see TCTM09350 

The relevant factors to consider when determining whether two people are LTAHAW or LTACP include:

  • how and why the two people came to be living together?
  • is rent received or paid? Is the claimant a landlord, tenant or lodger?
  • what kind of accommodation they share? Which rooms and facilities are shared?
  • if there is no formal rent agreement how are costs shared? How would exceptional expenditure be met?
  • are there any periods of absence from each other? Is so why and how often?
  • are there any other reasons for them living in the same house?

Other factors to consider are detailed in TCTM09340 

For information regarding absences from the home and temporary absences from the UK see TCTM09370.

Example - single claim, two friends living together

Two people decide to move in together and share the cost of rent, utility bills and food. They share household chores, socialise and take holidays together. They were and remain good friends but that is the extent of their relationship so each can make a single claim to tax credits.

If at any point the nature of their friendship changes and they start living together as though they are married or civil partners they will need to make a joint claim, as outlined in TCTM09341 

Note: this indicator should not be used in isolation as all factors should be considered as outlined in TCTM09341.