20,000 islanders still waiting for their 2018 tax assessments could face further delay well into the New Year as a “very short staffed” tax department struggles to overhaul a 35-year-old filing system.
It was previously thought that taxpayers would have their assessments back by Christmas at the latest, but now the Treasury Minister has announced it could be a longer wait as resources are apparently stretched so thin at Revenue Jersey.
This comes as the department tries to overhaul the old tax system which they hope will make the process more efficient for islanders, but many will be left waiting for their 2018 assessments by January 2020.
The announcement came in response to a question from Deputy Kevin Pamplin who asked the Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel for a progress update on online tax filing.
Pictured: Revenue Jersey is overhauling the tax system to allow for online filing.
In response to a written question, it emerged that at the beginning of this month, just over 20,000 employees are still awaiting their 2018 tax assessments and it's now hoped that this backlog will be processed by the end of January next year.
The Minister explained that online filing will be launched “on a date in January to coincide with islanders receiving their paper tax returns by post,” but she couldn’t be more specific about which date until the Office has completed “user testing” which is currently underway.
Speaking more specifically about assessed tax returns, Deputy Pinel said: “We are expecting all tax returns to have dealt with by the end of January 2020. Yes, people are concerned but if they have any concerns as to whether their circumstances are causing them hardship, they can apply to the tax office for assistance in that way.”
When asked by Deputy Rob Ward if the Taxes Office are planning to give one-to-one help for those wanting to learn how to file their tax returns online, the Minister said that they are running roadshows to educate islanders about this, but that the current resources in the Taxes Office wouldn’t allow for bespoke consultation.
Pictured: Many are still waiting for their tax assessments.
“There is difficulty with offering one-to-one services with what would be an ad-hoc basis because we are very short staffed or the Tax Department are very short staffed.”
However, the Minister assured Deputy Ward: “There will be as much help as we can possibly give.”
Answering a further question from Deputy Pamplin, the Treasury Minister said: “Yes the tax department are working extraordinarily hard… This is not the first time there’s been a delay in this, but when one is replacing a 35-year-old tax system it’s going to take time for the staff to get used to it and the customers to get used to it.”
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