On this page you will find information relating to independent taxation in Guernsey and how these changes might affect you.
What is Independent Taxation?
Independent taxation was introduced on 1 January 2023. Every individual is now recognised by law as having responsibility for their own tax affairs, including completing their own tax returns and paying any tax due.
Until 2022, for Guernsey married couples or those in a civil partnership, the male or older spouse (lead taxpayer) was responsible for the couple's tax affairs. This meant that as a couple they shared a tax reference number, submitted a joint return, and were assessed jointly (although some couples, who specifically elected to be separately assessed, submitted their own tax returns). A joint return is still required for the calendar year 2022 but this will be the last year that couples are assessed together.
From 2023 each individual is responsible for their own tax affairs regardless of their marital status. All customers have their own tax reference number and will need to complete their own tax returns for the calendar year 2023 onwards.
Independent taxation timeline
The timeline below shows the important dates for the introduction of independent taxation, including what has happened so far.
- New tax reference numbers were issued to islanders who previously shared their spouse's tax reference number. Coding notices for 2023 were issued in November 2022.
- From 1 January 2023, married couples/civil partners are taxed independently; however they still need to submit a joint return for the calendar year 2022. This will be the last time that it will be completed jointly. The return for 2022 was made available in March 2023 and must be completed and submitted by 29 February 2024 to avoid a penalty. Interim assessments have been issued to all customers with income that is not taxed at source to help them with their financial planning. (Income not taxed at source might include business income, rent, state pensions or investments such as bank interest.)
- Coding notices for 2024 were issued in November 2023.
- All islanders will be required to complete their own personal tax return, detailing income for the calendar year 2023, regardless of their marital status.
Can I opt out of independent taxation?
No, independent taxation applies to everyone. You will need to complete the 2023 personal tax return as an individual when it is made available in 2024. However, you can choose to have someone else deal with your tax affairs/submit your personal tax return on your behalf, should you wish to do so, by completing a form of authority.
Using a form of authority to delegate power over your tax affairs
You can get someone else to deal with your tax affairs, should you want to do so. It could be a tax professional, such as an accountant, or it could be a someone else, such as a trusted relative or friend. If you want someone else to deal with the Revenue Service for you, and you haven't already done so, you need to complete and submit a form of authority (see downloads).
If authority has already been given by the lead taxpayer, for a spouse or another individual to deal with the Revenue Service for them, this authority will continue to apply until it is withdrawn. The authority will only apply to the lead taxpayer's affairs from 1 January 2023; it will not apply to the tax affairs of the spouse or partner from that date. Should the spouse or partner want someone to deal with the Revenue Service on their behalf, a new form of authority (FOA) will be needed.
If an individual is unable to sign a form of authority because they have a medical condition which prevents them from doing so, and there is no guardianship order or power of attorney (for financial affairs) in place, you will need to provide the Revenue Service with a medical certificate confirming that the person is unable to deal with their own affairs/sign their name physically. We will then accept you are dealing with that person's tax affairs on their behalf.
If there is already a guardianship order or a power of attorney (for financial affairs) in place, we will need a copy so we can update our records.
I've received a coding notice for the first time. What do I need to do?
Your coding notice tells you and your employer or pension provider how much tax to take out at source. It will list your other income, if you have any, and the allowances to which you are entitled or have claimed.
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 the relevant year. Please visit our coding notice pages to learn more and to request changes to your coding notice.
You need to tell us if your income is likely to be over the limit for the withdrawal of allowances (£90,000 for 2023, potentially £80,000 for 2024) or if you claim mortgage interest against income from a rental property (as the relief granted is gradually being removed). These changes are not made automatically, you will need to tell us.
If you don't tell us anything is wrong, and you have too many allowances in your coding notice. This could mean you owe tax which would need to be paid within 30 days of date of issue.
Can I still share my allowances now we are independently taxed?
Yes, married couples or those in a civil partnership or cohabiting can still share unused allowances. Please see the tax rates and allowances page..
Recent arrivals in Guernsey
If you arrived in Guernsey in 2022 and you were already married or in a civil partnership at the time of registering with the Revenue Service, the male or older spouse (the lead taxpayer) will have received the joint tax reference number and they will be responsible for dealing with the tax affairs of you both for the calendar year 2022 only. This tax reference number will remain the number for them for future years.
The spouse will receive their own individual tax reference number for 2023, and they will be responsible for their own individual tax affairs for 2023 onwards.
If you arrived in Guernsey after 1 January 2023, you will be taxed as individuals and will be responsible for managing your own tax affairs and completing your own returns for the calendar year 2023 and onwards.
The 2023 return will be made available in 2024.
If you married or entered a civil partnership since 2022
If you married or entered into a civil partnership in 2022 or later, you need to tell us the date that this happened and provide us with your spouse's details. Since you are treated as individuals in the year in which you marry/enter a civil partnership you will both keep the tax reference numbers that you already have.
You will still need to complete your own tax returns for 2022 (it will not be a joint return).
In essence there is no change for you, you will continue to be assessed and deal with your own tax affairs as individuals.
Information for accountants
You may have clients who previously submitted a joint tax return, but for 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 were jointly capped by the Alderney tax cap for 2022, or the 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 has been 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.
Independent taxation and tax caps
The amount of tax an individual can pay is limited by the tax caps in place. These caps are based on the level of qualifying (i.e. income from outside of Guernsey) and/or non-qualifying (worldwide) income.
If you are married or in a civil partnership and were jointly assessed, you would have paid one cap amount based on the income of both you and your spouse for previous years. With the introduction of independent taxation from 2023, you will each be taxed on your own income, and each individual will be subject to the cap as required.
Grandfathering provisions have been put in place for both the Alderney and Open Market tax caps.
Alderney Tax Cap
If you and your spouse paid the Alderney tax cap in 2022, based on your joint income, then you will continue to be assessed jointly and subject to one cap until 2025 (when the Alderney cap ends), as long as you have sufficient income to be eligible for the tax cap. From 2026, or before if your income is no longer sufficient to pay the Alderney cap, you will be independently assessed, and each will be responsible for your own tax affairs.
Open Market Tax Cap
If you and your spouse met the conditions to qualify for the Open Market Tax Cap in 2022 or previous years, you will continue to be jointly assessed and liable to pay one cap until the end of the relevant four year period. Once the four year period has elapsed, you will be independently assessed and each will be responsible for your own tax affairs.