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States Assembly to debate personal tax reforms

03 February 2020

On 4 February 2020, the Minister for Treasury and Resources will present her Proposition on personal tax reform for debate which, if approved by the States Assembly, will see spouses and civil partners share equal rights and responsibilities for their tax affairs for the first time.

The Proposition intends that from 1 January 2021 both spouses and civil partners will be able to contact Revenue Jersey to discuss the couple’s tax affairs and update their tax information on an ongoing basis.

This means that in 2022 (for the 2021 tax year of assessment), the couple:
  • will still receive a joint return, but will both have right to sign it
  • will have equal right to access and manage their tax affairs with Revenue Jersey 
  • will have joint responsibility for paying income tax from that time.

Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Susie Pinel, said: “I am proud to be leading this important work and to present my Proposition for the first stage of personal tax reform.

“This proposition will finally give equal rights to both spouses and civil partners under Jersey’s tax law. It will remove the archaic presumption in the current law that a wife’s income is deemed to belong to her husband. 

“To be clear, my Proposition has no negative financial impact on any couple. It simply brings to an end an outdated system that treats married women and younger spouses in same-sex relationships unfairly.

“A very small number of commentators have raised concerns over part three of the Proposition, which makes a couple jointly liable for the payment of any outstanding taxes that they may owe. But with equal rights come equal responsibilities and we will ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place in the event of financial hardship.

“I would also like to clarify some of the confusion created between my Proposition and the accompanying report, which contained further information on future details surrounding independent taxation.

“The report into independent taxation highlighted the potential financial impact that it may have on around 8,000 lower-income married couples and civil partnerships, which I have made clear is not acceptable. This is one of the reasons why we are not yet ready to move to independent taxation and why I am not presenting this as an option today.

“I remain completely committed to delivering independent taxation and plan to present a further Proposition for debate in 2021. In the meantime, my officers and I will carry out a consultation and review to ensure that we fully understand any potential financial impacts that independent taxation may create and can put in place suitable measures to mitigate them, to ensure that no family is left in financial hardship as a result.”

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