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Why long term Co-Habiting Couples should be married in Ireland

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the number of couples co-habiting has been on the increase. Of the 1.22 million families in Ireland (Census 2016), over 152,000 couples are counted as cohabiting which is an increase of 6% since 2011. The number of cohabiting couples with children in rental accommodation increased by 37.6% to almost 40,000 families.

From the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 a cohabiting couple is defined as one of two adults, who can either be of the same or opposite sex, who live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and who are not related to each other.

There is a misconception that the Civil Partnership & Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 gave co-habiting couples the same tax advantages as those available to married couples or Registered Civil Partners, but it didn’t. The Act did give co-habiting couples the right to claim from a deceased partner’s estate but did not allow them to enjoy the same tax advantages that married couples enjoy and therefore any transfers of assets may be subject to Capital Gains Tax and Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT). The Threshold which applies to them is Group C, i.e. €16,250.