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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

Decision Making, Joint or Single claims: Former partners living at the same address

Two people formerly regarded as a couple may sometimes continue to live at the same address for financial reasons. This may be because:

  • one of them is unable to buy or rent suitable accommodation
  • the property cannot be sold, or there would be a significant penalty to pay if they redeemed any mortgage.

Where a person is still living at the same address as their ex-partner consideration should be made as to which aspects of their financial or domestic circumstances have changed.

For couples who are not married or civil partners:

  • this is to establish if they are still living together as a if they were a married couple (LTAMC) or civil partners (LTACP)

For married couples or civil partners (who have not yet legally separated):

  • this is to establish if they are separated in circumstances likely to be permanent.

For couples who are legally separated consideration must still be made to decide whether they are LTAMC or LTACP.

Example - married couple, separated

A married couple whose relationship has broken down continue to live in the same house as they are currently unable to sell it and neither can afford to rent or buy other accommodation. In the meantime they live separate lives, no longer socialise together and their friends do not consider them to be a couple. They continue to jointly pay some household bills but pay for their own food and other personal items. They haven’t yet started divorce proceedings but do not intend to resume living together as a couple. Despite living in the same house, they should no longer claim jointly from when they became separated in circumstances likely to be permanent. 

Example - living together, separated

A couple who are LTACP decide to separate, but one cannot afford to move out and the other refuses to because she owns the property. They no longer socialise together, cook/clean or undertake chores for each other, although occasionally one may do the others’ laundry with hers to save costs. Each has her own bedroom/living room and stores toiletries/food separately but they share bathroom/kitchen facilities. The property owner continues to pay the mortgage and gets monies towards this and other household bills from her ex partner. Although they still share the same address, they should stop claiming jointly from the date they were no longer LTACP.