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’. The following are applications of this working definition.


It makes no difference to the exemption that the spouses or civil partners are separated. So long as the marriage or civil partnership is in existence, the parties remain spouses or civil partners and transfers from one to the other are exempt.

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