On this page you will find information relating to Independent Taxation in Guernsey and how these changes might affect you. We will keep this page updated but if you require further information, please contact us.
What is Independent Taxation?
Independent Taxation was proposed in 2020 and comes into force in 2023. It will change how a married person/civil partner manages their tax affairs; every individual is recognised by law as having responsibility for their own tax affairs, including completing their own tax returns and paying any tax due.
The new arrangements reflect the social insurance position, where contributions are already managed and paid by the individual. This will make managing your payment obligations, to the Revenue Service, more straightforward in the future.
Approximately 12,000 people will become new customers in their own right, and the Revenue Service has been developing technology making it easier for customers to deal with their affairs online.
Independent Taxation timeline
The timeline below shows the important dates for the introduction of Independent Taxation. This timeline is also available in the downloads section of this page.
- New individual Tax Reference Numbers issued to Islanders who currently share their spouse's Tax Reference Number
These islanders will need to check and confirm their details are correct and contact the Revenue Service if they are not.
- Coding Notices sent out in the post
Everyone who receives their Coding Notice will need to check that the details on their Coding Notice are correct so that they are taxed correctly in the next year. For more information, go to our Understanding your coding notice page.
- Islanders start being taxed independently
When married couples submit their 2022 Personal Tax Return in 2023, this will be the last time that it will be completed jointly.
- New tax return for individuals made available
When married couples submit their 2023 Personal Tax Return in 2024, this will be the first time that it will be completed individually.
How will independent taxation affect me?
You will be affected if you are married or in a civil partnership. If you are a single person independent taxation will not impact you.
If you are living in Guernsey and are married or in a civil partnership, the male or older spouse (the Lead Taxpayer) is responsible for the tax affairs of you both, for all years up to and including the calendar year 2022. This means that as a couple you share a Tax Reference Number, you submit a joint return, and you are assessed jointly (although some couples, who have elected to be separately assessed, already submit their own tax returns).
From 2023, your spouse will be given a new Tax Reference Number and you will be assessed independently, and each be responsible for your own tax affairs. If you receive a new Tax Reference Number, (issued to customers who are not the Lead Taxpayer), please check your details are correct as provided on the letter you receive with your new Tax Reference Number. If anything is wrong, please let us know. It is important to be aware that you will still need to submit a joint return for 2022, unless you have requested separate assessments.
If you get a new Tax Reference Number, you may be asked to enter this to access your MyGov account.
If you are the lead taxpayer and have given authority to your spouse or another individual/accountant to act on your behalf, this authority will continue to apply, unless it is withdrawn by you. You can do this by completing a Form of Authority. The Authority will only apply to your affairs.
Should your spouse want anyone to deal on their behalf, a new Form of Authority will be needed.
If they are unable to sign an FOA because of their ongoing medical condition, and you have not got a guardianship order or power of attorney (for financial affairs) in place, we will accept you are dealing with their affairs if you provide a medical certificate confirming that your spouse is unable to deal with their own affairs/sign their name physically.
If you already have a guardianship order or a power of attorney (for financial affairs) in place, we will need to see it, so we can update our records.
Can I opt out of Independent Taxation?
No, when Independent Taxation comes into effect in 2023 it will cover all Islanders. You will no longer be able to be jointly assessed with your spouse.
You will need to complete a Tax Return as an individual in 2024 when the 2023 Return is made available. However, you can choose to have someone else submit your Personal Tax Return on your behalf by completing a Form of Authority.
If you're married, you can elect to share your unused Personal Allowance with your spouse. More information on how you can do this will be made available when we issue 2023 Coding Notices in November 2022.
I've received a Coding Notice. What do I need to do?
It is your responsibility to check your Coding Notice is correct. You should check your name, address, employment details, and that your allowances, deductions and other income (that is not taxed at source), shown on the Coding Notice, reflect your expected circumstances for 2023. If you need to make a change to any of these, please contact us.
You should also read through the 2023 Budget information that has been provided with the Coding Notice for 2023, as you may need to contact us if you're impacted by these changes. For example you need to tell us if your income is likely to be over £90,000 or if you claim for mortgage interest against income from your rental property. These changes are not made automatically, you will need to tell us.
If you are married or in a civil partnership
If you are married or in a civil partnership, you can transfer any unused allowances that you have to your spouse. This includes your Personal, Dependent Relative, Infirm persons or Charge of Children allowances (but does not include mortgage interest paid). It is only your 'unused' allowances that can be transferred, so if you transfer allowances that you do need, your spouse will receive a bill when they get their assessment. Should you transfer allowances, and then later think you need them back, please let us know.
To transfer unused allowances between spouses, either spouse can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01481 225700.
If you are cohabiting and you have children
If you are cohabiting and you have a child/children, you may transfer any unused Personal Allowance to your partner. It is only your 'unused' Personal Allowance that can be transferred, so if you transfer allowances that you do need, your partner will receive a bill when they get their assessment. Should you transfer allowances, and then later think you need them back, please let us know.
- You can transfer all or part of the personal allowance, if you don't think you'll need it all. However, you won't be able to do this until you receive your coding notice in November.
- If you already have the charge of a child or dependent relative allowance in your coding notice, these can also be transferred if you won't use them all, but you can't transfer any allowances for mortgage interest or personal pension payments made.
- You can only transfer allowances that you don't need, so if you have already transferred part of your allowances, your circumstances change and you need them back, you will need to update your coding notice again.
- If you have transferred allowances, that you do need, by mistake, and don't inform the Revenue Service this will result in a tax bill for your spouse. So please be careful when deciding what allowances you transfer.
- I haven't received a Coding Notice. How can I transfer my allowances to my spouse?
- If your spouse is employed or receiving a pension which has tax deducted at source, then either one of you can contact the Revenue Service to arrange for unused allowances to be transferred between you. If you haven't received a Coding Notice, as you don't have income where tax is deducted at source, you will need to provide an estimate of your income to be received in 2023. We can then determine the amount of your unused allowances that are available to be transferred to your spouse's coding notice.
- Please email us the information to email@example.com or phone us on 01481 225700.
- My spouse isn't employed and their income is less than their allowances. Can I have their unused allowances in my Coding Notice?
- If your spouse's income is less that the allowances they are entitled to, you can have their unused allowances in your Coding Notice. Either one of you can ask for this to be done; we will just need to have details of the income they expect to receive in 2023, and then we can work out the allowances that can be transferred to you.
- Please email us the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01481 225700.
Change of circumstances
- Arrived in Guernsey
- If you arrive in Guernsey in 2022 and you are already married or in a civil partnership at the time of registering, the male or older spouse (the Lead Taxpayer) will receive the joint Tax Reference Number for the 2022 calendar year (unless you request separate assessments). This will remain the Tax Reference Number for this individual for future years. The spouse will receive their own individual Tax Reference Number at a later date. This number will be theirs to use for their individual tax affairs from 2023.
- From 1 January 2023, you will be taxed as individuals and will be responsible for managing your own tax affairs. It's important to be aware that you will still need to submit a joint return for 2022, unless you have requested separate assessments. The 2022 return will be made available in the first part of 2023.
- If you arrive in Guernsey after 1 January 2023, and you are married or in a civil partnership, you will be taxed as individuals and will be responsible for managing your own tax affairs.
- Married or entered a civil partnership
- You need to tell us the date that your circumstances changed and provide us with your spouse's details. You are treated as individuals in the year in which you marry/entered a civil partnership, so you will both still need to complete your own tax returns for 2022 (it will not be a joint return).
- The introduction of independent taxation won't affect you, as you will continue to be treated as individuals. You can, however, transfer any allowances you don't need to your spouse for 2023. If you married in 2022, you will not need a new Tax Reference Number for 2023.
- Separated or divorced
- If you have received a new Tax Reference Number, but your circumstances have changed, it's important you tell us.
Information for accountants
- You may have clients who currently submit a joint tax return but from the calendar year 2023 they will be treated independently, unless they currently benefit from the Alderney or Open Market Tax Caps. If you have clients who are currently capped by the Alderney or Open Market cap, they will continue to be capped jointly until the end of the relevant period (i.e., 2025 for the Alderney cap, or the end of the four-year period for the Open Market Cap) If you wish to deal for the spouse of an existing client who will be issued with a new Tax Reference Number you will need to set up a new Form of Authority for that individual.
- You will not need a new Form of Authority for your existing client. This client will continue to be responsible for submitting a joint 2022 return and will continue to be responsible for any tax liabilities, penalties or outstanding tax returns at their tax reference. If you are no longer going to be acting for this client, please complete a Form of Authority withdrawal form.
- If you need to make any changes (such as withdrawals or new Forms of Authority), please email email@example.com including the relevant signed forms.