The suggested changes would see all taxpayers settle their bills on a current-year-earnings basis. Under the system that is in place, around two-thirds pay according to their previous year’s earnings.
Letters have been sent to thousands of households to inform them of the proposed switch. However, a number of people have expressed distress that messages were addressed to deceased family members – referring to them as ‘the late [name]’.
Writing on Twitter, Deputy Montfort Tadier said: ‘One of my constituents has been left puzzled and hurt by a government letter addressed to her recently deceased father. It starts off “Dear The Late [First Name]”. The correspondence is paradoxically impersonal and overfamiliar – insensitive in this case too.’
Under Treasury Minister Susie Pinel’s proposals, those who pay their tax on a prior-year basis would have their 2019 liability frozen until 2023 and would probably be asked to pay it back over a five-to-ten-year period.
Deputy Pinel said: ‘This week, the government has written to Islanders to tell them about proposed changes to the tax system. I understand from speaking with members of the public that some letters have been addressed to deceased Islanders, and that letters have been addressed using Islanders’ first names, rather than first name and last names, as is standard.
‘When we send out letters to Islanders we rely on a database of information to ensure that letters are sent to the correct people. In this instance, the names and addresses that were taken from the database were not sufficiently cross-checked. This meant that some letters were sent to deceased Islanders, and letters were addressed to Islanders by their first names. I’d like firstly to apologise unreservedly to Islanders who were distressed by receiving letters addressed to their deceased relatives, and to also apologise to Islanders who were upset by the use of their first names, as I would be myself.’
Earlier this year, the Treasury Department had to apologise after around 100 children were sent tax returns by mistake.