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Posted Mon, 22 Jan 2024 15:09:11 GMT by
My husband and I separated in January 2023. He earns more than £50k (I do not ) and historically we have had to repay the child benefit which I claim (under my name) either in full or part (depending on his income). This has been done through his self assessment tax return as he is the higher tax payer and the only tax payer earning more than £50k. We are now separated and have been for a year. A divorce application was made in March 2023, but this is not yet finalised due to ongoing negotiations re. financial settlement / family home etc. In the mean time, we are both still living in the family home. We have, however, completely separated our finances (with the exception of some household bills e.g. council tax, utilities etc. which we pay 50/50) and our day to day lives. Am I right in thinking that as we are separated, my (soon to be ex) husband will no longer be required to pay back the child benefit which I claim. Is this effective from the date of separation (January 2023) even though we are both still living in the family home? And if so, does the amount to be paid back for 22-23 in the self assessment tax return need to be prorated (say 10 months out of 12) and from 23-24, no high income child benefit tax charge will be payable (as long as I continue to earn less than £50k). Note our separation is permanent and divorce application has been submitted, there is no chance of reconciliation, despite our current living arrangements (which I hope will come to an end soon).
Posted Fri, 26 Jan 2024 09:36:12 GMT by HMRC Admin 25
Hi ShirleyB22,
The Higher Income Benefit Charge would stop when you became permanently separated.
If you are sharing an address but are separated and maintaining separate households, you will be regarded as permanently separated.
Thank you. 
Posted Mon, 29 Jan 2024 10:17:16 GMT by
Could you explain what 'maintaining separate households' means? We are sharing an address and both contributing 50/50 to expenditure related to the household as, until the financial settlement is finalised and whilst the house is still jointly owned, and we are both living there, it is a joint responsibility. Whilst we are yet to reach a settlement over our marital assets, our day to day personal income / expenditure / finances are completely separate however (they were not previously) and we are definitely 'permanently separated' but I am still unclear if this meets the HMRC definition?
Posted Mon, 05 Feb 2024 12:58:20 GMT by HMRC Admin 19
Hi,

Please contact our Child Benefit team for advice on this.

Child Benefit: general enquiries

Thank you.

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