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  • Commerce and Employment release public consultation on Sunday Trading

    Friday 21 November 2014

    The Commerce and Employment Department is today launching a public consultation on the regulation of Sunday trading. The consultation period runs until the end of January 2015.

    The consultation document explains the background to the current review, the controls that exist in the current legislation, and gives information on some of the options for restricting shop opening on Sundays.

    The Department is seeking the views of the public, retailers, parishes, and interested groups to inform its review of this subject and to help it form proposals for a future approach to trading on Sundays.

    At this stage, the Department is not looking at the fine detail of possible future regulation of Sunday trading, rather, the intention of this consultation and questionnaire is to obtain a picture of the broad public opinion on this topic.

    Commerce and Employment Minister, Deputy Kevin Stewart, said:

    "Sunday trading is a topic which generates strong feelings, with views ranging from total freedom to trade on the one hand and a closure of all or most shops on the other.

    This survey is seeking to obtain the views of a wide range of islanders; the first time this has been done.

    I really hope that as many people as possible will take the time to consider the consultation paper and complete the questionnaire. The more people who do, the better the picture the Department will have of public opinion as it develops proposals to be taken to the States towards the end of next year.

    We have made it as easy as possible for people to access the information and complete the questionnaire with a version that can be completed on-line and a downloadable version that can be printed out and completed.  These are both accessible via the States of Guernsey Website.  In addition printed copies can be picked up from several States offices and all the Douzaine Rooms around the Island."

    The document is available online under the Public Consultations section of this site and may be responded to on Survey Monkey

    www.surveymonkey.com/s/sundaytradingconsultation.

    It is also available to collect in printed form from :

    a.       The ten parish Douzaine rooms/Constables offices

    b.      Raymond Falla House

    c.       Sir Charles Frossard House

    d.      Beau Sejour

    e.      The Guernsey Information Centre, North Plantation

    f.        The Guille-Allès Library

     

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  • Tax Return Deadline Nears

    Friday 14 November 2014

    The deadline for 2013 tax returns is 30 November 2014. Submit yours now to avoid a £100 late filing penalty.

    The 30th November 2014 deadline for submitting 2013 personal tax returns is fast approaching, after which an automatic initial penalty of £100 will be imposed, followed by a continuing penalty of £10 for each day that the return remains outstanding.  Whilst over 80% of individuals have already filed their personal tax return, the Director of Income Tax would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that they may complete their return online and would invite those who have yet to submit their 2013 tax return to now do so using this facility.

    Rob Gray, Director of Income Tax, said:

    "If individuals submit their 2013 return online by 30 November 2014, they will be entered into a free draw (subject to terms and conditions) for a chance to win one of three cash prizes of £2,500, £1,500 or £1,000. Please go to https://eforms.gov.gg to register and join over 13,800 other customers who are already filing their returns online.

    A "pre-population" facility benefits those who file their returns online, by automatically entering some text (such as bank account details) in returns filed online in following years, avoiding part of the chore of completing a paper tax return".

    Anyone who does not wish to take advantage of the benefits of filing online, can download and print a paper return from the Income Tax Office website at www.gov.gg/forms. Paper returns are also available to collect from the Income Tax Office and a number of points around the island, which include, the Citizen's Advice Bureau, the Guille-Alles Library, the States Office in Alderney and the Administration Office in Herm. Details of further collection points can also be found at www.gov.gg/personaltaxreturns.

    Income Tax Office Improvement Programme (ITOIP) Update

    The Minister of the Treasury and Resources Department, Deputy Gavin St Pier, said:

    "In March 2014, I announced the launch of an improvement programme for the Income Tax Office. The core objectives of this programme are to provide a customer focused Income Tax service which meets the needs of Guernsey and Alderney, delivering substantial improvements in performance. The intention is to take a different approach to working, to enable appropriate levels of service to be delivered, including through understanding and listening to the needs of islanders.

    The first stage of this programme is to ensure that the arrears of work at the Income Tax Office are reduced to a manageable level before the end of this year. An initial step to help achieve this was the allocation of additional resources to the Income Tax Office, on a temporary basis, to ensure that this target may be met and enable other officers to progress other initiatives which aim to provide a longer term solution."

    Rob Gray, Director of Income Tax, said:

    "To achieve the first milestone of this journey, a different approach is required, as simply increasing staffing levels is not an option. Historically, we have raised any enquiries on tax returns before issuing assessments. Feedback that we have received shows that islanders want assessments to be issued as soon as possible so that they have an idea of where they may stand financially. We have listened to this and will be issuing assessments, in most cases, using the information that taxpayers provide on their personal tax returns. Queries will normally be raised after the assessment has been issued, and any amendments made once the customer has responded.This is similar to how self-assessment regimes operate in some other jurisdictions, such as the UK and Canada.

    This emphasizes the need for Islanders to ensure that their tax returns are complete and accurate when they are submitted, but also that details of wages and salaries provided by employers, is complete and accurate, which is why the Treasury and Resources Department put a proposal to the States in September to introduce a penalty for employers who repeatedly submit incorrect or incomplete information under the E T I Scheme."

    Following enhancements to the automatic assessing of returns filed online, including changes to allow the Income Tax Office to process paper returns through the automatic assessing facility, over 29,500 (which equates to 76%) of the tax returns received this year have already been assessed. Continued improvements in reducing how long it takes to deal with correspondence and returns are ongoing.

    ENDS

     

     

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  • GOAC contributes to the DEC West Africa Ebola Appeal

    Friday 07 November 2014

    The Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission (the Commission) has agreed to make a donation of £50,000 to the Disaster Emergency Committee (the DEC) West African Ebola Appeal.

    The decision to support the DEC appeal from the States of Guernsey annual budget of £200,000 for Disaster Emergency Relief reflects the Commission's recognition of the urgent and pressing need to provide money to support aid to the people of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea struggling to bring the Ebola virus outbreak under control and so enable normal daily life to be re-established in these countries.  The Commission is very mindful that prior to the Ebola virus outbreak these countries were already listed amongst the poorest countries in the World but were, following years of civil and political conflict, starting to rebuild their economies and infrastructure with the support of targeted development aid.

    The Commission shares the views of all those involved in bringing this crisis under control that there is a real risk of the progress that has been made being lost if the Ebola virus outbreak is not brought under control as quickly as possible.  This is why it has agreed to make a second donation to those agencies responding to the West Africa Ebola Crisis.  In September 2014, the Commission made an exceptional award of £40,000 to the Save the Children Fund for their work combating the Ebola virus in Liberia.

    The Commission is also of the opinion that every effort should be made by developed countries to ensure that Ebola is eradicated as quickly as it possibly can be and in this respect, Guernsey is playing its part in the global fight against this terrible disease. 

    The Commission's donation of £50,000 will be distributed by the DEC amongst its thirteen member charities to support the relief work they are variously undertaking in the region.

    Deputy Mike O'Hara, the Commission's Chairman, said,

    "In agreeing to make a donation of £50,000 to the DEC Fund appeal, the Commissioners were very conscious of the impact this disease is having on the people of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. 

    We can only start to imagine the impact that the fear of contracting the disease, the loss of loved ones to the disease and the disruption to daily lives is having on the people of Sierra Leone, Lberia and Guinea.

    I am sure Islanders will wholeheartedly agree with the Commission's decision to make this donation in order to assist those agencies working in these regions to bring the outbreak of this terrible disease under control.

    The DEC appeal has already raised over £13 million and I hope that Islanders to give generously to either the DEC appeal or through one of the appeals that the various humanitarian agencies with a base in Guernsey are currently running"

    Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of DEC, said

    "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Guernsey for their incredibly generous donation of £50,000. This appeal is completely unprecedented and that is a sign of just how serious the situation in West Africa has become. We have been overwhelmed by the compassion shown for those affected in West Africa, so thank you to all those who made this donation possible."

     

    Notes for Editors:

    The Commission receives an annual budget of £200,000 from the States of Guernsey towards Disaster Emergency Relief.

    About the DEC

    The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.

    For further information please see:

    http://www.dec.org.uk/appeals/ebola-crisis-appeal

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