Tardy tax filers could raise around £1.3million in fines, as those responsible for the 5,400 returns which missed the deadline at the end of last month are now threatened with penalties of up to £250 each.
This is a slight reduction on last year which saw more than 6,000 late filers raising a total of £1.5million in fines for the Taxes Office.
As ever, the run up to the tax deadline saw the department taking extra measures to cope with the demand with hundreds of islanders flocking to the Customer and Local Services (CLS) hub on La Motte Street to submit their returns, ask for advice and request duplicate tax forms.
Pictured: Hundreds of islanders flocked to the La Motte Street tax hub in the run up to the deadline.
Two weeks before the deadline, almost 25,000 returns were still outstanding and just under 4,500 tax returns were filed on deadline day (31 May).
A total of 10,000 tax returns were not filed in time for the deadline, but this figure includes returns filed by tax agents who have two months longer to file their declarations.
A Government spokesperson confirmed to Express that the actual number of late returns made up about half of this figure. They said: “Around 5,400 tax returns were not filed by the deadline. Each late filer could receive a penalty of up to £250 - depending upon how much tax they owe.”
Comptroller of Taxes Richard Summersgill said that while many customers left their tax returns to the last minute this year, he expects to see islanders’ behaviour change when online filing is introduced in spring 2020.
Pictured: Comptroller of Taxes Richard Summersgill expects that last minute filing will decrease when islanders can file their returns online.
This is part of an overhaul of the tax system bringing the current legislation up to date by introducing online filing as well as removing “archaic” requirements for wives to seek their husband’s permission to discuss their own tax affairs.
Mr Summersgill explained the plans to extend the deadline for those filing online with the new system in the next tax year. He said: “From next year, many customers who choose to file online will have until 31 July to make their online return and will get their tax assessment almost instantly, which will give an incentive for customers to file before the deadline. The online process will also make submitting the tax return much easier for the majority of taxpayers.”
Pictured: Taxpayers will be able to file online by next spring.
As tax officers are in the midst of transferring customer data held on paper files into the new online system in preparation for this move, some taxpayers will have to wait longer than usual for their tax assessments this year.
Of this, the Comptroller said: “We apologise for the delays that moving to the new system will cause – this work is essential to make online filing possible by spring 2020.”
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