UK couples could be forced to declare how they split chores to get child benefits
Middle-class families in the UK could be forced to declare how they divide the daily chores so tax officials can decide whether they should get child benefit.
If one partner earns more than 50,000 pounds, taxmen will be able to quiz unmarried couples over whether they are in fact co-habiting.
More than one million letters are being sent out by HM Revenue and Customs to warn families that they could lose their child benefit from January 7.
According to the Daily Mail, the changes come after George Osborne announced controversial moves to slash child benefit for all families where one member earns more than 60,000 pounds.
It could mean that a family with three children where one parent earns over 60,000 pounds could lose up to 2,449 pounds a year.
Households with one worker on 50,000 to 60,000 pounds will also see payments reduced.
According to the report, Revenue and Customs staff will be able to ask couples who claim the benefit, but are unmarried who does the cooking and cleaning and school run if they believe one partner is claiming benefit while living with a high-earner.
A manual issued by HMRC suggests that officials should ask couples who claim the benefit, but are unmarried 'on what basis they split household chores'.
Claimants could be grilled over the phone about the 'stability' of their relationship.
Staff will probe whether a couple 'tends to spend their leisure time together' and if they plan to marry.
An extra 50,000 parents will be expected to fill out self-assessment tax returns thanks to the child benefit changes.
However, HMRC will also encourage those who live in a household which is definitely going to lose the child benefit to simply opt out of receiving it.
"Nobody affected by the new charge needs to complete a tax return until January 2014, so HMRC will only contact people after that date, if further information is required," a spokesman for HMRC said.
"Nobody should worry about a call from HMRC where they have correctly told us about their circumstances," the spokesman added.
The government expects most people to be honest when they fill out their tax forms.