Yes – the issue of income shifting was formally clarified in respect of shareholders who are married or in civil partnerships.
Specifically, following a HMRC court case against a company called Arctic Systems Limited, the House of Lords agreed with HMRC that the shareholdings in the company had been set up to minimise the tax paid by Mr. and Mrs. Jones (Directors).
Because the gift by Mr. Jones had been made to his wife and the gift was of an ordinary share, an exemption applied.
This exemption only applies to married couples and civil partnerships, and says that if you make a gift to your spouse/civil partner of a share (which comprises more than just income) and it is an outright gift, you should not be taxed on the income arising from that gift (i.e.dividends).
For the gift to be seen as an outright gift the dividend should be paid into the bank account of each shareholder not into a joint bank account.