Revenue Note for Guidance

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Revenue Note for Guidance




Income Tax


This Chapter deals primarily with the tax treatment of Civil Partners and the various assessment options available to them. These options are —

  • joint assessment (also known as aggregation),
  • separate assessment, and
  • separate treatment.

In the absence of an election to the contrary, civil partners are deemed to have elected for joint assessment. Under joint assessment, one of the civil partners is chargeable to tax, not alone on his/her own total income, but also on the total income of his/her civil partner. The civil partner who is chargeable to tax on the income of both civil partners is known as the “nominated civil partner”.

Under separate assessment (section 1031H), each civil partner is assessed on his/her own income with tax credits and reliefs divided between the civil partners in accordance with section 1031I. Separate assessment is also known as “separate assessment within joint assessment” as the unused tax credits, reliefs and rate bands of one civil partner may be transferred to the other civil partner (that is, the aggregate of the tax payable by each civil partner under separate assessment cannot exceed the tax payable had the civil partners elected to be jointly assessed).

Under separate treatment (section 1031B), each civil partner is treated for tax purposes as if they had not entered into a civil partnership. The main difference between separate treatment and separate assessment is that, under separate treatment, one spouse’s unused tax credits, reliefs and rate bands cannot be transferred to the other civil partner.

Where civil partners register a civil partnership within a year of assessment, relief is provided by way of repayment of tax and divided between each civil partner (section 1031E). The Chapter goes on to provide for repayment of tax to couples jointly assessed (section 1031F) and for tax due on one civil partner where the nominated civil partner does not pay any or enough tax (section 1031G).

Finally, the Chapter deals with maintenance payments for separated civil partners (section 1031J), for the adaptation of certain provisions to allow for the joint assessment of separated and certain divorced civil partners.

1031A Interpretation (Chapter 1)


This section is an interpretation provision and defines certain references that are used throughout the Chapter.


(1) The “inspector” is any inspector who the individual giving a notice under this Chapter may reasonably consider is the inspector to whom the notice should be sent or any inspector who indicates readiness to accept the notice;

nominated civil partner” means the civil partner in a civil partnership who is nominated for the purposes of this Chapter in accordance with section 1031D;

other civil partner” means the civil partner in a civil partnership who is not the nominated civil partner.

(2) A civil partner is regarded as living with his or her civil partner for income tax purposes unless they are living separately in such circumstances that the separation is likely to be permanent.

(3)(a) The other civil partner’s income includes any income (including income deemed to be that civil partner’s income), which would be included in computing his or her total income.

(3)(b) References to an individual who has elected to be assessed in a particular way include references to a person who is deemed to have elected to be assessed in such a way. Similarly, references to a nominated civil partner being assessed on the joint income of the civil partners include references to the civil partners being separately assessed.

(4) Any notice concerning the taxation of civil partners may be served by post.

Relevant Date: Finance Act 2020