Jersey's Home Affairs Minister dismisses calls for optional independent taxation

Under current plans, married couples and civil partners in Jersey will be forced to complete separate tax returns from 2025. Credit: ITV Channel

Jersey's Home Affairs Minister is urging States Members to reject a backbencher's bid to make independent taxation optional.

Deputy Helen Miles, along with the rest of the Council of Ministers, wants to make it compulsory for married couples and civil partners to complete separate tax returns from 2025.

Deputy Miles told ITV News: "We have to bear in mind that we're in 2023, not 1823. As a married woman, I am still my husband's chattel. I still need his permission to discuss tax affairs and in 2023, that is not an acceptable situation."

Deputy Helen Miles says Jersey needs to move with the times by making it compulsory for married couples to complete separate tax returns. Credit: Helen Miles

On the other side of the debate, Deputy Lyndon Farnham is asking the States to make independent taxation optional.

He explained: "Until recently, a married woman's income was always treated as the husband's income; the filing of the annual tax return was the husband's duty', the tax liability was in the husband's name only; and a married woman, when trying to access tax information, would be denied that access unless her husband provided express permission.

"These anachronisms can rightly be confined to history whilst maintaining the choice for islanders to elect to remain subject to joint taxation returns.

Deputy Lyndon Farnham wants independent taxation to be optional, putting him at odds with the Council of Ministers. Credit: ITV Channel

"Islanders who have contacted me from the older generation of our community don't understand the rationale of forcing this on them when the joint tax return has been working exceptionally well for married couples since the Income Tax Law was introduced in 1928."

Deputy Farnham's proposition is being debated in the States on Tuesday 4 July.

More information about the current tax changes and how they will affect couples can be found here.

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