Error means lawyers pay zero parish rates
ADVOCATES with offices in St Peter Port paid zero parish owner’s rates this year.
Senior constable Dennis Le Moignan said that the Cadastre were ‘entirely’ to blame for the error but a Policy & Resources spokesman said the Cadastre has no influence over the charges.
In October, it was recommended that law firms would pay the same amount of tax on real property for their offices as those for regulated finance industries.
It was anticipated to amount to a 200% increase, creating an extra £400,000 in income overall.
A new category for advocates offices was made but it appeared no further details were included on the system.
The omission meant that due to an automatic recalculation, the missing £12,467 owed by all the advocates offices for a single year was taken from ordinary rate payers in the parish.
This amounted to an average of 45p over-payment on each homeowner’s rates bill for this year.
The offices in question were issued with an owner’s rates bill of ‘nil’. It was only when an individual advocate noticed the error and notified the constables that they were made aware of the changes.
It was decided at a special parish meeting that the refund of around 45p for each parishioner would be made by means of a credit to the homeowner in the following year.
This will mean, however, that any homeowners who were overcharged this year who plan to move out of the parish in the coming year would not receive a refund personally. It would instead be handed down to the next resident of their St Peter Port property.
It was noted that no expenditure would be forfeited by means of the issue of a letter to parishioners, neither would the refund be granted in cash but as an automatic credit.
However, it was agreed that there could have been a cost incurred on calling the meeting on 12 July to discuss the matter as well as legal advice. Constable Le Moignan said during the meeting that they would be seeking recompense from the Cadastre for the inconvenience caused.
A spokesman for Policy & Resources said the system was updated automatically and that the Cadastre has no influence over the charges applied by the parish.
‘The parish software system (used by all parishes) is automatically updated in real time by the Cadastre system when any change is made, whether relating to ownership or property reference.
‘Therefore property reference B6.3 would have been shown against the relevant owners in the parish system by the end of January 2018. It should be noted that the States Cadastre has no authority or influence on the charges to be applied by the parishes,’ the spokesperson said.