Thousands face fines for late tax returns

INCOME Tax has warned islanders responsible for 8,000 outstanding tax returns that they will be fined £100 if they do not submit the forms within 30 days of an impending reminder.

INCOME Tax has warned islanders responsible for 8,000 outstanding tax returns that they will be fined £100 if they do not submit the forms within 30 days of an impending reminder.

Confirmation of the penalty, which would go up by £10 each day after the initial late charge, came on the same day that Income Tax announced it had received more than 7,000 returns that it has still not assessed.

The continued backlog means the office will extend a trial closure of its telephone system on Thursdays and its public counter on Thursday afternoons.

‘Unfortunately, the backlog of work from last year, combined with resourcing difficulties following resignations and other staff movements, has had a knock-on effect this year,’ said director of Income Tax Rob Gray, pictured.

Comments for: "Thousands face fines for late tax returns"


By closure Thursday does that mean today or next Thursday - not very clear. Juts tried to call them and was just left on hold for 20 minutes before I gave up. No message to say that they are not answering phones/closed. Pretty bad really. Only want to check if I am up to date or not on all my returns!



Don`t you read the papers or watch the news?

The Tax Office phones have not been receiving calls for over a month now and if you listen carefully an explanation is given in the initial contact message.

It has been VERY well publicised.


I didnt know about this either. I don't watch local news or read the press, I don't understand why they feel that that is an ok medium to tell everyone. Did they send us letters? Pretty sure I didn't get one if they did. That's the only way to make sure that people get the message! Quite nieve to think that an article in the paper or 5 minutes on bbc guernsey tells the whole island! Jay

sarnia expat

But you presumably check in every now and then to TIG?


So, how does this work then we are late with our returns or payment we get fined. They have a backlog usual excuses for that how do we go about fining them for incompetence I wonder.


Having received one of the letters from Income Tax I am sure I am not alone in being extremely shocked by the threatening language used.

For those that have not seen it I thought it would be useful to quote the opening sentence:

"In my opinion, there are prima facie grounds for believing that you are liable to a penalty under section 190 of the Income Tax (Guernsey) Law, 1975("the Law")"

The letter goes on to further threaten escalating penalties if no action is taken.

I have no issue with the fact that returns are required and taxes paid when due, I just take exception to such a strongly worded letter!

Scared To Name

You are not the only person who has received such letters, i have received 3 letters stating i have not accurately declared my income - when my only source of income is employment!


sarnia expat

But all you have to do is put the figure you earned in the appropriate place, and send them a copy of your last pay slip. If you are self employed, you send your audited accounts. Simples.


I agree with you about the threatening language. Even more disgraceful when you have submitted your return some time ago as I have!

The Philster

I subnitted my return at the start of March online and luckily kept all the emails etc as well as the extra information they requested which I sent to them so was a bit surrised to also get one of these letters.

States of Guernsey Incompetent Tax Department living up to its name!!

sarnia expat

Why did you not send in your return at the beginning of this year, or is that too much to ask?


i have received that threatening letter too and i have been paying them what they asked me for every 6 months , so my return has'nt been sent in but thats no reason to threaten me with legal jargon which i don't understand and fines i and most others can't afford .anyway so if we are stiil late do we go to prison or get our houses taken away , all this bully boy tactics is awful and not the way to treat honest people trying to make a living .

what about our human rights they soon forget them when it suits .


Income Tax: "If your return is late we'll fine you"

Resident: "But you've got 7,000 returns that haven't yet been assessed"

Income Tax: "Yes... but... uhhh... we'll fine you!"


"Don't do as I do, do as I say", springs to mind.

So, Mr Gray, is your department going to pay £100, plus £10 per day thereafter, to taxpayers whose rebate is delayed due to your inability to deal with the returns you already have?

Alex Cross

Mr Gray needs to concede defeat and resign.

I appreciate tax is a very difficult area, but his department is a laughing stock in the island.

If you're under staffed then get hiring, too busy is not an excuse.


It's about time this department gets properly resourced but with that much backlog I doubt anyone has any time to train new staff.

Obviously offering a financial incentive hasn't helped reduce the number of outstanding returns!!

Just Saying

...‘Unfortunately, the backlog of work from last year, combined with resourcing difficulties following resignations and other staff movements, has had a knock-on effect this year,’ said director of Income Tax Rob Gray, pictured....

So a combination of things, therefore WHY are we picking up the bill for your inability to resource correctly and other things directly outside the control of the tax payer?

A month late and a £100 bill? what about the rebates that are issued MONTHS after they should be, where's the repayment for the tax payer due to you ineptness?


There is no excuse, people have known about this for ages, why warn them, just fine them.

Its funny that the same people who moan about the system are the same that cannot abide by it !


Someone feel free to correct me but I think the law is that you cannot fine people until you've warned them they are in breach of the deadline. That's possibly why the letter sounded officious to some folk - it had to satisfy certain legal conditions.


Very true PLP,

All the negative reaction is from people who flaunt the rules.

It`s YOUR responsibility to find out what the rules are.


I think that 8,000 is going to turn out to be grossly overstated.

Based on the fact that they're behind with processing returns I would put money on the fact that some will not have been logged as received, or some other error resulting in these threatening letters being sent when they shouldn't be.


I'm a bit sympathetic for them as their newly qualified tax staff often get poached away by the finance companies offering bigger salaries and better perks than the States...

But it's completely hypocritical of them to start harshly threatening the public with fines for being late with their returns when they're running so far behind on their assessments anyway and take so long to send back any money they owe people.


Funny how that when the changes were made with the tax office going online 2 years ago that I did mine as soon as I was able to and got my money back from them within 5 weeks.

If you chose not do what is advised then how can you moan about waiting.

If everyone followed the advise and did their returns online then the people who have no access to do them online would have theirs processed a lot quicker.


Double standards or what!

We are too busy to process the returns on time but if you have been too busy to do your return then we will fine you. Mine says £300 plus £50 per day!

Sounds like the bloody sherif of Nottingham

Disgusting behaviour bring back Ken Forman a nice tax man if ever you could gave one!


Lots of moaners on this topic, ok I didn't do my tax online till November but I was aware that I would be fined after that month so I just got down and sent mine through.

Ok I was late in the year but avoided being fined.

We are now in December and have all had 11 months to send the forms in so what is the problem.

They won't forget you so just do it, you know it makes sense.


John, no offence but I think the reason people are moaning is due to the fact that it's all very double standards and a case of do as we say not as we do.

Income tax for various reasons can't process our forms in a timely manner but despite this we are going to be fined if we don't hand them in on time.

So as various people have already said, what is the point of this time driven policy if they can't stick to it themselves.


Fining taxpayers for late returns is simply another desperate method invented by the states to try and screw more money out of us all to pay for all the civil servants they have needlessly employed who just love wasting our hard earned cash. Environment do exactly the same thing if you are late paying your TRP as I found out to my cost this year. So now it's not enough that hard working locals get shafted more and more each year to support a civil service that can't stop spending we now get fined as well!


I completed mine on-line in February.. they assessed me in March but over charged me by £1000,by failing to include all my mortgage interest and pension payment figures, following my initial letter and numerous phone calls to them since... I am still awaiting my revised statement...


Tried to do the online return back in June, the page was slow as molasses and unuseable.

Had to resort to filling in the paper return instead.

Maybe they should pay a decent wage and the experienced staff would return, if you pay peanuts expect monkeys and all that.

Alex Cross

I'm actually a big fan of the online submission, i have used it ever since it came online and i think it's great!

Although i must confess, having received dividends for the first time last year, i found the section for dividend income pretty poor. Luckily being able to attach supporting documentation is helpful in this regard.


This reminds me, wasn't there some kind of prize drawer you were entered into if you completed the return online within a certain time? Did anyone actually win it, don't recall hearing about it.


And did you know that if you leave the Island you have to complete a "left the island form". My daughter, who was a student for the last 3 years, and has technically left the Island last august to stay and work in London, also had a letter which was quite threatening. Income Tax office says that anyone who leaves the island needs to download a form and send it in to them. I have never heard of this, if this is the situation, then this needs to be publicised.


Good to see that your daughter was successful in obtaining employment during very difficult times in the UK

However,once she has gained valuable training and work experience in London does she intend to return to Guernsey in order to help fund three years worth of grants for the next generation of Uni students?

Alex Cross

Being fair, when the States are so determined to drive the young and skilled away from the island why the hell should she?

I'm thinking of leaving myself! Wake up ministers, Guernsey's the archetypal demographic time bomb!!



Is there a specific States policy to drive "the young and skilled" away? Just what are you referring to?


Our daughter was fully funded by us - the States didn't pay a penny, and we also paid for our son to attend a college in London without any cost to the tax payer. Hope that makes you feel better.

sarnia expat

Yes. When you leave the island you always have to do this; similarly when she leaves the UK having paid their tax there, she needs to do the same.


Yep I went away for years, came back to even more incompetence and rip off. Yes I can hear you saying well clear off again it may well come to that.

pb falla

Anyone who has dealt with R Gray will know what type of person he is, and if hes the person steering the goold old ship income tax all i can say is god bless her and all who sails on her

Another guernsey shambles of the highest order


The good old days.......

Couldn't agree more PB, bring back Ken Forman, a sensible local man rather than an ex Inland Revenue attack dog



Ooh look the word shambles... I do believe that elsewhere on these forums you have denied using this word...


I received a letter this week re this, I filled in my return on-line and had my assessment back in Feb. Looks like the Income Tax have even bigger problems then just a backlog.


Same here ... they are a joke

Herbert Roth

We completed ours months ago but had a query which we couldn't get a satisfactory answer to over the phone. I asked to come and see someone but was told that was not possible as they discourage people from doing this. I persisted and eventually got to see someone and we hammered out the answer in half an hour. It seems to me that the people at the Income Tax Department have forgotten what it means to be a Civil Servant - the clue is in the name!


Income Tax should be outsourced.


For a moment I thought that said Income Tax should be outlawed.

Now you're talking! ;-)


If you get a massive 'surcharge' for being tardy with your tax payment why not try the 'morality' argument? Why should you be punished for being a month late when they take six months just to scratch their bums, ignore phone calls and emails? Oh yes, thats right, tax people don't give a damn about morality unless they are trying to screw people for more than they are legally obliged to pay. Hypocrites!


So ... do the public get to know who won the prize draw that was set up to encourage us to send our assessments in on time ? or was that just a ploy ?


With all the talk of the States being short of cash why can the Income Tax Department be allowed to be so behind in processing Tax Returns thereby not having the coffers full to pay for much needed Public Services ie Health?! Surely if everyone's tax was assessed in a timely manner we would have more money in the public purse?

This is another example of not addressing a problem until it his been nearly impossible to resolve like at HSSD-are these people really too busy to see things going wrong?

PB Falla

Isnt it time the guernsey facebook and other social websites started A petition for the resignation of r gray

heads must roll and lets start at at the top

gray must go


Les Pets



I don't know, maybe he should have considered that before he sent his return in late?


Les Pets

As long as your dad sends in his return within 30 days of receiving the letter he won't get fined. As it sounds like he has now sent it in he should not get fined. If this is right you can both relax and enjoy Christmas x


Les Pets

Shame on you for not looking after him.


Unsurprisingly, I too have been sent the menacing letter, despite my return having been sent in time.

It's high time you resigned, Mr Gray. You are obviously incapable of running a bath, never mind a States Department.


I have put in my tax forms for 22 years and always got back the assessment the same year. This year I sent mine in May and still no assessment even after phoning them to chase them four weeks ago.

jan pieriewiet

If £100 is an incentive to get off your backside, good.


My 16 year old daughter who is in 6th form at Grammar School has had a threatening letter from Mr Gray.

One would laugh if it wasn't so tragic.

My 18 year old daughter has also received the same letter - she is actually waiting for her (confirmed) credit to be paid to her.

Guernsey - the banana republic but without the bananas.

Sarnia expat

Does she do part time/holiday work? I only ask becuase some sixteen year olds can earn a load of cash and sometimes the place they work for do not always declare e "correct" amount they pay.


When the crew start leaving a ship 'enmasse' it is usually because of an inconsiderate or inept Captain. All these problems seem to have occured since Mr Gray took over the helm. Could this be the main reason? If so? Get rid! Now!



It was sadly very predictable once he got the job.

Ken Forman never had any of these problems...

Cher Eugene

Rob Grey is an English import trained by the UK Inland Revenue. At times I wonder if he is still working for them.

pb falla

r gray is a disgrace and should be removed,i wonder how many staff left because of his attitude



Well if they do merge tax and social security departments lets just hope they get rid of him in the process.

Iron Maiden

Does anybody know if Ken is related to Neil another local who should have been elected.

Neil Forman

Iron Maiden

Sadly Uncle Ken retired, I don't think he would give that up.

I have also received a letter, I posted my forms in March but don't seem to be able to phone them and ask if they would like photocopies of the forms I sent. I will be visiting next week to personally hand them in.

Such a joke.


Ken Forman is a very caring person and was a great boss, every administrator had a very different way of working, and I worked for a few. But Ken is up there with the best, a man of the people. Happy New Year Ken.