Islanders who think they shouldn’t have to pay back co-funded payroll money, or perhaps are being asked to repay too much, can now formally appeal.
A ‘Co-Funded Payroll Scheme Appeals Process’ has been launched by the Chief Minister, fulfilling a pledge in her Government’s plan to achieve various tasks within its first 100 days in office.
The Government says the process will give claimants the opportunity to challenge repayment requirements and could result in repayment amounts being reassessed and more time given to pay money back.
It adds that the process will also consider the time period over which repayments must be made. Calculations can be reviewed and new evidence can be considered, such as revised tax declarations or evidence that prior periods do not provide a consistent comparison.
A total of £141m was paid to local employers and self-employed people as part of the Co-funded Payroll Scheme between its launch at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and its closure at the end of January 2022.
Following an audit, the Government found that £7.4m had been overpaid, which it would attempt to recover. As of April, £4.6m had been recovered.
Reasons for over-payment include self-employed islanders using their turnover to claim for co-funded payroll money instead of their annual income. However, many people argue that they their original claim was accurate; hence, the appeals process promised by the new Council of Ministers.
Pictured: The Co-Funded Payroll Scheme was announced by then Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham in March 2022.
Chief Minister Kristina Moore said: “As part of our 100-day plan, the Treasury Minister and I are incredibly pleased to be launching this appeals process. This will ensure that businesses have been given fair treatment, through a transparent process, and are able to make any repayments within a more compassionate timeframe.
“I am all too aware that people have been worried about these repayment requirements for several months. The process we have established has been designed to bring a swift resolution to appeals while minimising the impact on business owner’s time.
“We are aware that many businesses are still recovering from the impact of covid and are currently dealing with various global challenges. We are committed to supporting them where we can and enabling a thriving local business environment.”
The appeals process is open now and will close at the end of November. It will be overseen by a group of ministers and run by a team of civil servants, who are part of a group chaired by Jersey Business, which is an arms-length, taxpayer-funded organisation that provides free advice and support to businesses.
Deputy Moore launched her 100-day plan shortly after being elected Chief Minister. As well as launch an appeals process, her 18 commitments include conducting a review of the Our Hospital project, opening constituency offices for States Members, creating a Cabinet Office, introducing limits on the number of houses that can be built over 3000 sq ft and putting plans in place to build a Cultural Centre for the island.
There are ten days of the 100 days remaining, with the period coming to a close next Thursday, the day the hospital review is due to be published.
For more information on the appeals process, click here.
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