Sark tax review needed due to rising cost of services

A REVIEW of Sark’s tax base could open the door for the introduction of new levies.

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Chief Pleas agreed unanimously that an investigation should be carried out into all aspects of tax because of the growing cost of providing public services.

The aim is to find a fairer system, because it has been identified that the costs of health care and education can be a huge struggle for ordinary people.

Even healthy young adults are having to pay thousands of pounds a year for private health insurance.

Conseiller John Guille, the chairman of the Policy & Finance Committee, said that while tax was never a popular subject, the review was necessary.

‘We’ve set up a special committee to have a think about the tax regime. It’s born out of the way the world is going – there’s an expectation for better services, particularly medical and education provision.

‘It’s probably long overdue and tax has increased for the working man recently, but there’s probably a good number of people who could easily afford to contribute a bit more.

‘We’ve got an open remit, we’re going to look at everything, but it’s unlikely we’ll move to an income tax, because the economies of scale don’t make sense, and it probably won’t be a sales tax.

‘We’ll look at some form of nominal tax and it might be linked to whether you are normally resident on the island.’

Another committee is looking into the issue of ghost residents.

Sark currently has minimal taxes, with no income, capital gains, inheritance or sales tax.

Consequently there is no ‘state’ pension and very little welfare.

Government revenues are raised through a system of property tax and a personal tax on residents who have a property available to them for three months of the year.

The review will be the first investigation into tax since the early 2000s.

Over recent years global impacts have been felt in Sark, and while new residents have been welcomed, the island’s infrastructure has not evolved at the same pace to accommodate this growth.

The intention is that a new system could be in place in time for Sark’s next tax year, which starts on 1 January.

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