asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many working wives opt for separate income tax assessment; and what proportion this is of those eligible to do so.
[pursuant to his reply, 25 April 1985, c. 529]: About 170,000 married couples are expected to elect for separate taxation of wife's earnings in 1985–86. Although this is only about 1½ per cent. of the total of taxpaying married couples, in 1985–86 an election can only be beneficial if the couple's income is over £25,360 (with the wife's earnings at least £6,956). About 20,000, less than one fifth of 1 per cent. of married couples, elect for separate assessment, but this does not affect the total tax liability of the couple.