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24 May 2017

Cohabiting couples ‘may miss out on tax breaks’

Older Britons could miss out on valuable tax breaks and state pension rights due to a rise in the number cohabiting, an insurer has warned.

The number of people above the state pension age who are cohabiting has trebled since the turn of the century, according to Royal London.

In England and Wales alone, it said that more than 300,000 people aged over 65 are now living as part of an unmarried couple.

But  Helen Morrissey from Royal London has highlighted that many tax breaks and state pension advantages still only apply to married - rather than cohabiting - couples.

She said: " For example, the family of a cohabiting couple could face an extra £70,000 inheritance tax bill compared with the heirs of a married couple.

"Similarly, cohabiting couples are excluded from income tax breaks worth hundreds of pounds a year and from the rights to inherit a state pension when one partner dies."

Ms Morrissey said it might be time to consider whether an update of the UK's tax and benefits system is needed, in light of changing social trends.

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