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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Property held jointly by married couples or civil partners: Form 17 rule - action on receipt of form 17

Stamp the form with the date of receipt in the official use box as soon as it is received. That is because the declaration is valid only if we receive it within 60 days of the couple signing it.

Preliminary checks

  • signatures and dates - check that the couple have both signed and dated the declaration; if not send it back with a letter asking them both to do so
  • time limit -check that the declaration is within the time limit (see TSEM9862). If it is, enter the date the form was received in the ‘Date received’ space in the official use box on the form. That confirms that the time limit has been met. If not, do not complete the ‘Date received’ box. Send a letter explaining that the declaration is not valid, and send a fresh form 17 inviting the couple to make another declaration if they wish
  • percentages - check for each item of property separately, that the percentage share that a spouse or civil partner has claimed in the income box for that item is the same as the percentage share he or she has claimed in the property box for that item. If they are not, write to the couple telling them that the declaration cannot be accepted for that item and explain why.

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Evidence checks

  • Check that the couple have submitted adequate evidence of their claim that the property is held jointly in unequal shares. If they have not, you may need to ask them to provide further evidence, or consider referring the case to HMRC Trusts & Estates Technical Edinburgh.