Tax implications of relationship breakdown
Produced in partnership with David Salter, deputy High Court judge and Recorder
Tax implications of relationship breakdown

The following Family practice note Produced in partnership with David Salter, deputy High Court judge and Recorder provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Tax implications of relationship breakdown
  • Income tax
  • Inheritance tax
  • Stamp duty land tax
  • Capital gains tax

As there are no specific tax consequences to the relationship between unmarried couples or those who have not formed a civil partnership, so there are no special tax rules relating to their relationship breaking down. There is, however, a general rule for capital gains tax (CGT) that transactions not at arm's length must be recalculated as having been at market value—a transaction between an unmarried/non-civil partnership couple living together may well be treated as not having been at arm's length.

For married couples and civil partners, the main tax provisions relating to spouses/civil partners cease to apply when the relationship has broken down, rather than by reference to the date of any decree nisi or decree absolute/conditional civil partnership dissolution order or final dissolution order. For inheritance tax (IHT) purposes, the date of the decree absolute/final order is relevant.

Note that divorce, dissolution or separation does not invalidate any existing will or the intestacy provisions. However, if the will appoints a spouse as executor or trustee or makes a gift to that spouse, the will takes effect as if the spouse had died on the date of decree absolute/final order. Individuals are therefore strongly advised to make new wills following the breakdown of a marriage/civil partnership.

Income tax

  1. the tax reduction for married couples/civil partners born before 6 April 1935 is available in full for the year

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