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Plan for civil rights and wrongs

The introduction of equal treatment on all matters tax through full recognition being granted to civil partnerships creates a series of planning issues on which professional advice will need to be sought.

Before anyone runs off to formalise their union, they will need to remember that where they currently enjoy capital gains tax exemption on their principal residence, this will be lost on their being party to a civil partnership.

The major benefits that are made available to a same-sex couple include the same treatment as married couples on IHT, CGT and income tax.

Although it has not been spelt out, there are, of course, implications when a civil partnership is term-inated. Pension schemes will need to review their rules and practices for people who enter into a civil partnership and would be wise to consider the implications if one of these partnerships fails.

In short, the couple will now have the opportunity to move assets between each other on death or before without triggering any tax issues. This all takes effect from December 5, 2005, the same date that the Civil Partnerships Act (CPA) takes effect.

Time does not permit me to fully digest the CPA in detail but one must ponder if it only requires that people in a civil partnership are of the same sex.

Does this open up the potential for a partnership between a father and his son as a major opportunity in IHT planning?

It could also allow two platonic friends to link up following the death of their partners and take the benefit of this change.

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