Taxation of cohabiting couples

Introduction

If you are living with another adult and in an intimate and committed relationship with them, but you are not married or in a civil partnership, then you are cohabiting. Cohabiting couples (cohabitants) do not have the same legal rights and obligations as married couples or civil partners. You can learn more about this in our documents on cohabiting couples.

The tax system in Ireland does not treat cohabiting couples the same as married couples or civil partners. Instead, Revenue assess cohabiting couples as single individuals.

Tax and the breakdown of cohabiting relationships

If your cohabiting relationship ends, you may be entitled to tax relief:

  • If a financially dependent former cohabitant is granted court-ordered maintenance payments, the partner who is paying the maintenance payments may receive tax relief.
  • If you separate from a previous cohabitant, a court may order them to transfer property to you. If this is the case, you will not have to pay Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) or Stamp Duty.
  • If you transfer an asset under a court order to a person that you cohabited with previously, you will not have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) or Stamp Duty on the transfer.

How to qualify for tax reliefs

To be a qualifying cohabitant for these reliefs you must have been:

  • A cohabitant for at least 5 years or
  • A cohabitant for 2 years if you have had a child with your partner

Further information

The rights and tax liabilities of cohabiting couples were established in the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010. The Act came into effect on 1 January 2011.

You can learn more about apply for tax reliefs for cohabiting couples and how to apply for them on revenue.ie.

Page edited: 16 January 2020