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Islanders are encouraged to file tax returns online

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A NEW online filing system for tax returns has been launched with the aim of providing a quicker and easier access system for Islanders.

Richard Summersgill

From this year, Jersey taxpayers will be able to submit their returns online using the government’s OneGov portal after downloading a smartphone app.

Those who wish to submit their returns in paper form will continue being able to do so, but an extended deadline of 31 July, rather than 31 May, will apply for online submissions to incentivise use.

Richard Summersgill, the Comptroller of Revenue, said that he hoped to see at least 10% of Islanders file their returns online this year.

‘We don’t have a specific target and we are not going to force people to do this but we would like to see a double-figures percentage do it,’ he said.

‘There might be a quicker take-up because, really, Jersey is behind the game on this. In the UK there was relatively small take-up at first but it went up a few per cent each year and now more than 90% are filed online.’

Mr Summersgill said that while the transition to online filing had caused delays to tax-return processing for 2018, increased use of the online system would speed up matters in the future.

He added that Islanders who submitted returns digitally could expect to see them processed and turned around more quickly, which would also generate savings in his department.

Treasury Minister Susie Pinel said: ‘This is a significant move towards the government modernising its services to be more accessible for Islanders.

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‘It is the first step in the journey towards a fully digital online service for personal income tax. However, completing your tax return online is an option and taxpayers can still complete a paper form if they would prefer.’

She added: ‘We recognise that while launching this service, we are still dealing with a significant backlog of 2018 tax return assessments, for which we continue to apologise.

‘However, we believe that launching this service now is the right thing to do. In fact, it will benefit our teams, as any forms completed online will reduce inputting and assessment time by our staff to process the return, meaning they can get through 2019 returns far more quickly.’

Islanders are due to start receiving their 2019 personal income tax return paper forms in the post this week and information on how to complete the form online, should they wish, has been included.

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Once an online form is filed an automatic confirmation of receipt will be issued and a PDF of the completed return sent to the taxpayer.

A digital errors form is also being planned, so that Islanders can request corrections to their online forms if they have already been submitted.

In the future Revenue Jersey hopes to integrate systems so that tax and social security are paid together.

More details can be found online at gov.je/mytaxreturn.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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