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Category: States Assembly

Minister Maintains Position on Mandatory Independent Taxation

Apr 28, 2023

Today, the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel (the Panel) held a Quarterly Public Hearing to question the Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Ian Gorst.

The Panel voiced concerns raised by some members of the public around the issue of mandatory independent taxation. The Minister and his Assistant Minister, Deputy Elaine Millar, maintained the position that from 2022 anyone arriving in Jersey or anyone who marries or becomes a civil partner will be independently taxed, as opposed to being taxed as a couple. Couples will be able to optionally move to Independent Taxation for the years 2023 and 2024 if they so wish, but by 2025 it will be compulsory for all married couples and civil partners to be independently taxed. Both the Minister and Assistant Minister strongly expressed the need to move away from a ‘historic unfairness’ in an ‘archaic’ system of taxation where women are seen as their ‘husband’s chattel’. When pressed on concern from some members of the public as to the compulsory nature of this change, the Panel heard: 

-    A compensatory allowance will continue for 10 years for those who are disadvantaged by the changes, with a review after 8 years as to further plans. 

-    Revenue Jersey will be supported to enhance customer service through the changes, with support services also being offered in face-to-face drop-in sessions with tax advisors at Parish Halls.

-    A full communications campaign over the course of 2023 and 2024 will be running to alert those members of the public who are unaware of the changes.

The Panel also heard that:

-    A new community costs bonus will be open for applications in the autumn. The Assistant Minister outlined possible changes to the bonus calculation. She explained that under the current system there are issues in bonus distributions, taking the example that a household of one person receives a similar bonus to a household of four people. To date, there have been 3,826 claims for community cost bonus, which is lower than the estimated 7,000 but more than four times the 2021 figure of 900.

-    There is ongoing work to negotiate reduced GP costs with private surgeries, although the Assistant Minister said, ‘it is taking longer than I would have liked’.

Deputy Sam Mézec, Chair of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, said: “We thank the Minister, Assistant Minister and their Officers for their responses to our questions. The Panel received many comments from the public regarding the issue of compulsory independent taxation. Whilst we recognise the need to move with the times, we hope the Minister will take Islanders’ concerns into consideration and provide adequate support through the change process for those concerned. We will continue to closely monitor the Minister’s decisions in relation to the cost-of-living crisis and encourage him to come to the Panel with regular updates as and when any further decisions are made in this regard.’ 

A full recording of the public hearing can be watched here

States Assembly Press Notice

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