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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Property held jointly by married couples or civil partners: Form 17 rule - evidence

Where married couples or civil partners elect not to be taxed 50/50, the normal rules of beneficial ownership apply. The starting point is that the jointly held property is presumed to be held as joint tenants (TSEM9230). As TSEM9230 says, there are various ways this presumption can be displaced by evidence to the contrary - for example, a valid declaration of trust in equal or unequal shares. However, if the shares are equal there would be no possibility of a joint declaration on form 17 for tax purposes, so only a declaration in respect of unequal shares would be correct.

The couple should submit evidence of beneficial ownership (by reference to the examples in TSEM9230) along with the form 17 declaration. This applies to all types of property. Form 17 declarations are made for tax purposes. They are, in effect, joint requests by the co-owners that their beneficial interests in the property and income already existing at the date of the declaration should be recognised for tax purposes. A form 17 declaration is to be distinguished from a declaration of trust (see TSEM9520).