The continuing double taxation of Jersey old-age pensions has to stop

Letter to the Editor from Alan Holmes, St Peter.

(30844124)
(30844124)

WITH all the chaos caused by the Covid-19 virus and the vast sums of ‘giveaway’ monies now being expended by our government, I really felt the need to raise once again the subject of the deplorable double taxation of the Jersey old-age pension. The reason being that in these very difficult times Jersey pensioners are finding life very difficult (as pointed out by Ian Heath JEP 26 April) and I believe this is really where our government should be focusing – on the most vulnerable people in our society, Jersey pensioners.

This insidious double taxation (former Chief Minister Senator Terry Le Sueur confirmed this to be the case when in charge of Social Security) comes about by the simple fact that, during a person’s working life here in Jersey, they are taxed on their gross income. In other words, their income tax includes social security payments paid by them and their employer (or in many cases completely by them alone) and these social-security payments include an element which goes towards their Jersey old-age pension.

When, upon retirement, you start receiving your Jersey pension, you will not be taxed providing your yearly income total is below the allowed threshold, but, if, however, your pension and income from other sources go above the allowed threshold, the whole of your old-age pension is then included for taxation purposes, ie it is taxed a second time.

So here is an open question to the Treasury Minister on behalf of all pensioners in this island: ‘Please explain, in unambiguous words, just why those pensioners above the tax threshold are double taxed when they have already paid tax on their gross incomes?’

In my opinion (and every other right-minded pensioner I have spoken with) the old-age pension should be totally exempt from any future income to be assessed for taxation purposes, regardless of whether you are above or below the tax threshold for single people or couples, as tax has already been paid.

In today’s Covid-19 climate, the pensioners of this island need all the help they can get. To be double taxed, when many others, earning hundreds of thousands (plus pension contributions) only ever have to pay a maximum of 20% (and with a bit of clever accounting that 20% can be significantly reduced), is manifestly wrong. In fact, I would go further and say it is criminally wrong.

One has to ask this simple question: ‘Is our government so strapped for cash that they have to take essential monies from the aged of this island, and, if so, just what does that say about our government?’

I would ask everyone, but especially pensioners here in Jersey, to make your feelings known and to this end I have set up a gov.je petition ‘Stop the double taxation of the Jersey old-age pension’.

So please go online and sign – then this matter can then be sorted out once and for all.

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