Jersey to drop husbands’ consent over wives’ tax

Next week will see Jersey’s States Assembly debate changes to the archaic law on married women’s taxation, with a view to ending the current arrangement whereby wives need their husband’s consent to file their own tax return

At present only one person in a couple can deal with tax affairs in Jersey, and this has to be the husband in a heterosexual marriage. Before 2003 married women could not be assessed separately.

Jersey has been debating the issue since 2018 and has only just reached an agreement on next steps. 

Since then income tax forms and now online filing arrangements have included a box husbands could tick to give their wives permission to deal with their own tax affairs.

However, if a married woman has not opted for separate assessment and that box is not ticked, then the husband is obligated to file on behalf of both of them.

Outlining the proposal, which will be debated on 4 February. Susie Pinel, minster for Treasury and resources in Jersey, said: ‘Married women can only discuss their tax with Revenue Jersey if their husband has notified Revenue Jersey.

‘If the States Assembly agrees – and I hope they will – I will bring forward legislation so married women finally have access to their own tax affairs.

‘This is the first step to full independent taxation and it is long overdue.’

Under Pinel’s proposals, from 1 January 2021, both spouses and civil partners will be able to contact Revenue Jersey to discuss a couple’s tax affairs and update their tax information.

In 2022 a couple will still receive a joint return, but they will both have rights to sign it, will share responsibility for completing and lodging it accurately and on time, and will also have joint liability for the payment of all personal income tax.

From 2023 – for tax year of assessment 2022 onwards – independent taxation is expected to be introduced in Jersey with transitional rules for couples already married or in civil partnerships.

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