Married couples in Greece will now have the option to submit their tax declarations separately and receive separate tax clearance documents, following a ruling by the country’s Council of State (CoS).

Up until the CoS’s decision, it was only legal for couples who had separated, or in the case that one of the two had declared bankruptcy, to lodge separate submissions.

“There is no reason, or any obvious reason of public interest at that, to justify the compulsory submission of a common income tax statement by both spouses,” ruled the second section of Greece’s highest administrative court.

The decision came as a response to a case put forward by a Greek taxpayer who requested he be able to submit a separate tax return of his income to his spouse from the tax year 2016 on wards.

The ruling in the taxpayer’s favour now extends to all taxpayers in Greece. Those wishing to submit a separate statement to their spouse have the right to do so, but will be required to inform tax authorities in advance.

As a result, one spouse will not be responsible for the others tax dues. For example in the case that one spouse has due taxes of €1000, and the other is owed a rebate of the same amount, they will not offset against the other. Rather, the rebate will be paid out, and the tax dues in three portions, reports Kathimerini.

The CoS’s ruling was in part an attempt to stop people applying for divorce in a bid to avoid or pay less tax, of which cases have increased in the past 12 months.