Jersey married couple tax return laws 'are archaic'

Income tax return form
Image caption Deputy Geoff Southern wants the law to be changed so married couples fill out separate tax return forms

A Jersey deputy wants married men and women to fill out separate tax return forms.

Deputy Geoff Southern said the current system where a wife's income was included on their husband's tax return was "archaic and unacceptable".

He is asking the Treasury Minister to change the law in time for the next budget in 2013.

But the minister said married couples can currently opt to fill in separate tax returns.

Senator Philip Ozouf said: "This option to be assessed separately has been available since 2003."

'Antiquated' law

He said 400 married couples, out of a total of about 20,000 couples, had taken up the option to be assessed separately.

Deputy Southern said: "The modernisation of our laws to make them fit for the 21st Century and to reflect society's values must surely be taken as a whole, including our antiquated income tax law, to eliminate the potential for discrimination."

Mr Ozouf said he would be reviewing Jersey's personal tax system.

He said: "This is a significant project which will run for a number of years and includes the introduction of online, current year and more simplified assessments.

"I anticipate proposing some changes in the 2013 budget.

"I will also look at the introduction of independent taxation although the additional costs of producing an extra 20,000 returns each year will need to be factored in."

Meanwhile, this year's tax return form includes a new box which a woman's husband can sign to give her permission to access their tax information.

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