The Inheritance Tax Act 1984, s. 18(1) refers to ‘the transferor's spouse or civil partner’, but no definition of the word is given. As a general rule it may be assumed that ‘spouse’ or ‘civil partner’ means ‘the other party to a marriage or civil partnership existing at the time when the transfer of value takes place’. (HMRC give their view (at IHTM 11032) that it applies to transfers between people who are lawfully married to each other at the time of the transfer or registered as civil partners of each other at the time of transfer. The following are applications of this working definition.

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