Marriage and civil partnerships
Joint assessment is the option that benefits most couples. Under joint assessment you are chargeable to tax on your combined total income.
This is the option that is applied when you notify us that you are married or in a civil partnership. This does not prevent you from choosing the other options of separate assessment or separate treatment.
You can update your civil status and request joint assessment through ‘Manage My Record’ or ‘My Profile’ in myAccount. You can also upload any supporting documentation. Your spouse will be required to confirm the request by signing into myAccount and confirming the status update.
Assessable spouse or civil partner
The assessable spouse or nominated civil partner is responsible for filing tax returns and paying any tax due.
How to select an assessable spouse or nominated civil partner
You can decide which of you is to be the assessable person.
You can do this by either:
You must do this on or before 31 March in the year you want the selection to apply.
You do not have to make the selection. If no selection is made, the spouse or civil partner with the higher income automatically becomes the assessable spouse or nominated civil partner.
The assessable spouse or nominated civil partner does not change until you and your spouse or civil partner either select either:
- select the other spouse or civil partner
- select for Separate Assessment or Separate Treatment.
Allocating tax credits, reliefs and rate bands
Joint assessment allows you to allocate (transfer between you) most of your tax credits, reliefs and rate band with your spouse or civil partner.
The Tax Rates, Bands and Reliefs that apply to you depends on if one or both of you have an income.
You cannot transfer:
If you and your partner both have taxable income, use myAccount to allocate your tax credits and rate band however you wish. You will both receive updated Tax Credit Certificates (TCCs) showing the allocation of your credits and rate band.
If you do not allocate the tax credits and reliefs, they are all given to the assessable spouse.
You cannot claim both the Home Carer Tax Credit and the increased rate band.
You should claim whichever is more beneficial based on your own personal circumstances.
Joint assessment where one partner is self-employed
If either you or your partner are self-employed, joint assessment can still apply. You can decide if you wish to pay:
You can do this by how you allocate your credits and rate band. If you choose to pay most of your tax through PAYE, your credits can be transferred to the self-employed person.
The Employee Tax Credit and employment expenses cannot be transferred.
Any refunds due at the end of the year will be repaid to each person in proportion to the amount of tax each has paid.
Jennifer and Martin are married and jointly assessed. Jennifer is the assessable spouse.
In 2020 their total income is €72,000. Jennifer’s PAYE employment income of €45,000 and Martin's investment income of €27,000.
They claim two tax credits:
Jennifer and Martin's 2020 Tax Credits
|Married Person or Civil Partner Tax Credit
|Employee PAYE Tax Credit
In 2020, the standard rate cut off point for a married couple or civil partner is €44,300. If both are working this amount is increased by the lower of the following:
* The amount of the income of the spouse or civil partner with the smaller income.
The increase of the standard rate band is not transferable between spouses or partners.
This means that the first €44,300 of Jennifer’s €45,000 income will be taxed at 20%. The remainder of her income is taxed at the higher rate of 40%.
As Martin also has an income, the couple are entitled to an increased rate band. The first €26,300 of Martin’s €27,000 income will be taxed at 20%. The remainder of his income is taxed at the higher rate.
Jennifer and Martin's 2020 Income Tax liability
| ||Amount ||Tax|
|Income taxed at 20%
|Remainder taxed at 40%
|Jennifer's total Income tax
|Taxed at 20%
|Remainder taxed at 40%
|Matin's total Income tax
|Jennifer and Martin's Total Income Tax
|Deduct total credits
Next: Separate assessment