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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Ownership and income tax: legal background: joint ownership - presumption of joint tenancy

Where property is held in the joint names of ‘A and B’, it is presumed to be held beneficially as joint tenants, as described in TSEM9210.

This presumption can be displaced by evidence to the contrary, such as:

  1. A declaration of trust of equal or unequal shares. For example, if there is a valid declaration that the property is held 25% for A and 75% for B.
  2. In the case of real property, there is a restriction in the Land Registry title called a ‘Form A restriction’.  This restiction is recorded in these terms; “No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate (except a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the court”.  This restriction usually means that there is a tenancy in common instead (TSEM9220).
  3. Notice of severance of the joint tenancy by one of the joint owners.
  4. An act of severance- such as the bankruptcy of one of the owners or one owner taking out a loan secured on the property.
  5. Evidence of a resulting or constructive trust - see TSEM9610-9620.

If there is such evidence, the ownership is as described in TSEM9220 instead of as in TSEM9210.