Form 17 Income Tax declaration of beneficial interest in joint property and income

The Form 17 Income Tax Declaration Form is used by married and civil partnership couples who want to declare unequal shares in a jointly owned property held as tenants in common. Without this form, HMRC assumes that any income generated from the jointly owned property, such as rent, is shared equally (50/50). In cases where you own an unequal share of the beneficial interest in the property, you must complete a Form 17 and have a signed and witnessed Deed of Trust (read our detailed article on Deed of Trusts).

There is however a concern when using a Form 17 as some accountants are advising their clients to use the form to declare a differing share of the property income compared to the couples' beneficial interest. If you have been advised of this then you must read on as you cannot pay tax on income in different shares compared to your beneficial interest in a property.

When should you complete a Form 17?

You should fill in a Form 17 if you:

  • are married or civil partnership couple;
  • own your property as tenants in common; and
  • own the property in unequal shares.

Warning: You cannot own a beneficial interest in a property and declare a different share of income using a Form 17. Your jointly owned property income should be declared in your tax return in the same share as your registered beneficial interest.

We can help support you with:

  • Changing title ownership from joint tenants to tenants in common
  • Drafting a deed of trust
  • Registering the deed of trust at the Land Registry

Call 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply) or email

Fixed Fee, No Sale No Fee and Unbeatable Value Solicitors.


When should you not complete a Form 17?

You should not fill in a Form 17 when:

  • you are not beneficially entitled to the property income
  • it is partnership income
  • it is income from commercial letting of furnished holiday accommodation
  • it is income from shares in a close company
  • it is income which for tax purposes is treated as income of a third party, even if the income arises from property held in your joint names
  • it is property held in your joint names
  • property held as beneficial joint tenants where you are both jointly entitled to the whole of the property and income
  • property that is not held in unequal shares (you cannot choose to have the income taxed on an unequal basis because you think it would be to your advantage).

  • Can you use a Form 17 to declare a different income share compared to your beneficial share?

    No, and you must be very careful if you are given advice by an accountant or another professional to do so.

    Form 17 is used by HMRC to confirm where married or civil couples own a joint property together in unequal shares.

    HMRC would normally tax you equally on the jointly owned property income regardless of your actual beneficial ownership unless you complete a Form 17. By completing the form you confirm if you own the property in unequal shares and as such want to be taxed on your beneficial ownership share, not 50:50. You’ll note you have to have a Deed of Trust in place as well as completing this form.

    Form 17 states:
    If you live together with your spouse or civil partner, we normally treat income from property held in your joint names as if it belonged to you in equal shares and tax each of you on half of the income, regardless of actual ownership. Please complete this form if you want to be taxed on your actual shares (known as `actual basis'). You will also need to provide evidence that your beneficial interests in the property are unequal, for example a declaration or deed.

    When to fill in this form

    • You can use this form to declare a beneficial interest if you hold property jointly, and
    • you actually own the property in unequal shares, and
    • you are entitled to the income arising in proportion to those shares, and
    • you want to be taxed on that basis.

    Prior to executing the form you are required to confirm;

    We declare:
    • that we own this property beneficially in the proportions stated below; and
    • that we own any income arising from this property on the same basis.

    Remember to provide evidence with this form that your beneficial interests in the property are unequal, for example a declaration or deed. Remember also that you cannot use this form if in fact you are entitled to the income in different proportions to your beneficial interest in the property.

    You'll note from the above that Form 17 states that the income earned from the property is declared in the same shares as the beneficial interest. You cannot benefit from income form a jointly owned property in a different share to your beneficial interest.

    For example:
    Jane and David are married and jointly own a property which they own as tenants in common. Jane owns 80% of the property and David owns 20%. They will need to have a deed of trust to confirm their legal rights to the property and complete a form 17 to declare their income in the property in their unequal share of 80% / 20%. Jane wouldn't be able to have a beneficial interest of 80% and then benefit from the income therein at a different rate.

    FAQS about Form 17

    Why would you want to share the property in unequal shares?

    In the example above, it could be more tax beneficial for Jane to give David more of her property income, especially if David hasn't used all of his personal allowance for the current financial year. What Jane can't do is use a Form 17 to declare a differing share of the income on her tax return compared to her beneficial interest.

    Why do you need a Deed of Trust as well as a Form 17?

    Form 17 is a declaration for tax purposes only to the HMRC; it doesn't cover all the legal aspects such as how to sell the property if either party wants to or who is liable for the mortgage repayments. A deed of trust is a legal document that protects the interest of joint owners who own a property astenants in common.

    We can draft you a Deed of Trust for £180 INC VAT (read more about Deed of Trusts)

    Can you use a Form 17 when you own the property as Joint Tenants?

    No. If you own the property as joint tenants then you have agreed that you own the property jointly 100%. This means that if either one of you were to die, then the other would still be the 100% owner of the property. This means that any income from a joint property held as joint tenants is owned 100% between you so you split it equally. Read more about buying as Joint Tenants.

    What should I do if I have received joint property income in different shares compared to my beneficial interest?

    You should speak to your accountant immediately and provide a link to this article. Your accountant should look to notify HMRC of the issue and make an adjustment in the current year's tax return for you.


    Related News Articles

    Basic Deed of Trust
    Beneficial Ownership vs Legal Ownership
    Tenants In Common Definition

    Log in to your FREE online Conveyancing Process

    Complete your to-do lists, save your progress, watch our videos and follow our tips to lead you through from instructing your solicitor to when you finally move in. Our simple, easy to use process has already helped over 2,857 people move home in 2017 and it is FREE to use.