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Tax Implications of Marriage

When you get married you must advise your local Revenue office of the date of your marriage and quote your own and your spouse's PPS Numbers.
In the year of marriage both partners continue to be treated as two single persons, if the tax you pay as two single persons in that year is greater than the tax which would be payable if you had been taxed as a married couple, a refund of the difference can be claimed. Any refund due is only from the date of marriage and will be calculated at the end of that tax year.

A refund of tax for the year of marriage would normally only arise where a couple are taxed at different tax rates and one spouse could benefit from the unused standard rate band or from some of the unused tax credits of the other spouse.

Years after Year of Marriage

In the subsequent years to the year of marriage the following options are available:

  • Joint Assessment/Aggregation
  • Separate Assessment
  • Assessment as a Single Person

You may choose the method of taxation which is best suited to your circumstances.

Joint Assessment

Joint Assessment is usually the most favourable basis of assessment for a married couple. It is automatically given by your local Revenue office once you have advised them of your marriage, but this doesn't prevent you from electing for either of the other options.

Under Joint Assessment, the tax credits and standard rate band can be allocated between spouses to suit their circumstances.
Where the Revenue office does not receive a request for the allocation of tax credits and reliefs in a particular way, it will normally give all the tax credits other than the other spouse's PAYE and expense tax credits to the assessable spouse.

The assessable spouse must complete the return of income for the couple and is chargeable to tax on the joint income of the couple.

Separate Assessment

Under Separate Assessment your tax affairs are independent of those of your spouse.
The following tax credits are divided equally between you:

  • Married Tax Credit
  • Age Tax Credit
  • Blind Person's Tax Credit
  • Incapacitated Child Tax Credit.

The balance of the tax credits are given to each of you in proportion to the cost borne by you. The PAYE tax credit and employment expenses, if any, are allocated to the appropriate spouse. Any tax credits, etc., other than the PAYE tax credit and employment expenses, which are unused by one spouse may be claimed by the other spouse.

The tax credits may not generally be adjusted until after the end of the tax year.

Assessment as a Single Person (Separate Treatment)
Under Assessment as a Single Person each spouse is treated as a single person for tax purposes.

Both spouses:

  • Are taxed on their own income
  • Receive tax credits and the standard rate band due to a single person
  • Pay their own tax
  • Complete their own Return of Income form and claim their own tax credits. One spouse cannot claim relief for payments made by the other and there is no right to transfer tax credits or standard rate band to each other