You have to complete a return each year, unless you have been told by the Director that you don't need to do one, and your circumstances haven't changed since then.
A change in circumstances would include things such as getting married or separating from your spouse, buying a property, starting to receive bank interest or leaving the island.
The return is made available at the beginning of each year for the previous calendar year, for example the calendar year 2019 return was made available in January 2020. The return should usually be completed and sent to us before the 30 November. The deadline for filing the calendar year 2019 return has been extended until 31 March 2021.
If a return is not submitted by this deadline, it is late and a penalty would be due.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why have I received a penalty?
- Returns must be submitted by 31 March 2021 for the the calendar year 2019.
- If the return isn't submitted, or it's received after 31 March, penalties will be imposed automatically.
I thought my return was submitted prior to the filing deadline but I have received a penalty. What should I do?
- Please contact us as soon as possible. We will ask you to provide proof that the return has been submitted.
- If you completed a paper return and this was taken to the Corporate Customer Service Counter at Edward T Wheadon House, we will ask you to provide a copy of the receipt as proof of delivery, and to confirm the income tax reference number on the return.
- If you completed your return online, we will ask you to provide the submission number which was emailed to you. If you didn't get an email, then it's likely that your return wasn't actually submitted. You can check this by logging on to your account. If the watermark on your return shows 'draft' then it hasn't been sent in and you will be able to see it under 'saved forms'. Please submit it as soon as possible, as you will be getting further penalties applied for each day the return is outstanding.
- If you are having difficulties viewing the return or using our online services, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your query, making sure you quote your income tax reference number.
I didn't receive my income tax return in the post, so thought I didn't need to submit one. Do I still need to pay the penalty?
- We don't send paper returns out anymore, instead we put a notice in 'La Gazette Officielle', letting everyone know that they need to submit a return.
- If you haven't sent in your return by 31 March then the penalty is imposed automatically and, unless your income is below the personal allowance, the penalty will need to be paid in full. If your income is below the personal allowance, the penalty will be restricted to £50, but only once your return is received and your assessment has been issued.
Where do I go to get an income tax return?
I've left Guernsey but I have still received an order imposing a penalty
- There are a number of reasons why this may have happened, the most common is that people leave Guernsey but don't tell us, or they don't give us details of their income up until the date they left.
- If you have left the Island please complete a Leaving Guernsey Form, if you haven't already done so, and let us have it as soon as possible. This form asks for details of your income from 1 January up until the date of your departure, and also for information on your departure date and forwarding address. If you are still getting income from Guernsey after the date you leave, for example you receive rent for a property you own in Guernsey, or a pension from your employer, you will need to complete a return for the year, as you will need to declare your Guernsey income for the full year. See our guide to leaving Guernsey for more information.
I didn't complete a return as I earned below the personal allowance, but a penalty has been imposed - does this penalty still apply to me?
- Yes. Unless you have been advised by the Director, in writing, that you no longer need to complete a return, you need to do one each year, whatever the level of your income is.
- If, when your return is submitted and your assessment issued, it's clear that your income was below the personal allowance, the late filing penalty won't exceed £50.00. The penalties that have been imposed will be reduced.
I've got married (or entered into a civil partnership) and submitted a return jointly with my spouse, but I've had a penalty imposed?
- You each need to submit your own return for the year that you got married or entered into a civil partnership. So if you have sent in a joint return for this year, a penalty may have been imposed at your single reference number. You will need to let us have both your tax reference number and the number for your spouse where your details have been submitted and we will have a look at the penalty imposed, removing it if necessary.
I didn't receive any notification that a penalty was to be imposed at my account?
- As the deadline for submitting your 2019 return is extended to 31 March 2021, no reminders will be issued. We did actively communicate this change out to our customers, starting in September 2020. Please see the media release for more information.
How is the penalty calculated?
- If the return is not received by the filing deadline, currently an initial penalty of £200.00 is imposed (the maximum that can be imposed initially is £300), followed by further daily penalties of £10.00 (maximum £50) per day until the return is received.
- If your return is received within 10 days of the initial penalty being imposed, no further daily penalties will be charged, however if your form comes in on day 15, then you will be charged a further £150. Your penalty won't exceed £1,000.
Can I appeal against the penalty?
- Yes, if you have a good reason for submitting a return late, but the reasons are limited, please see below.
- You can appeal against a penalty on the grounds that the penalty isn't payable, as the return was submitted on or before the deadline, or that there are proper grounds for the Guernsey Tax Tribunal to cancel or reduce the penalty charged.
- Please remember that you must still deliver your return as soon as you can.
- You can appeal by completing a Penalty Appeal form. The appeal needs to be submitted within 30 days of the date of the Order imposing the penalty.
- Below are some examples which the Director may agree are reasonable ground of appeal. In these circumstances the penalty may be reduced or completely removed from your account, if the reason prevented you from submitting your completed return on time:
- · life-threatening illness (for example, a heart attack) or the onset of a disability or a serious mental health condition that prevents you from dealing with your tax affairs and engaging an adviser to do so on your behalf;
- the death of an immediate family member (for these purposes meaning spouse, common law spouse, child or parent) shortly before a tax return deadline;
- unexpected or unforeseeable postal delays (e.g. a postal strike); or
- important documents lost, for example through theft, fire or flood, that cannot be replaced in time to meet the submission deadline;
- The following are not accepted as being a reasonable excuse for sending in a late return:
- you were unaware of the need to submit a return;
- you relied on another person to send your return and they didn't;
- you delivered your return in person to us, but didn't obtain a receipt as proof of delivery;
- you didn't believe that you were required to submit a return, because tax is deducted from your income under the ETI scheme;
- you didn't receive a reminder for your tax return or the penalty order;
- you didn't receive correspondence, because you hadn't told us you had changed your address;
- you didn't submit the return due to being on holiday or being busy at work
- you submitted the return but failed to enter your personal details in Section 1 and therefore the return could not be identified as yours.
If I appeal against the penalty, will it be suspended pending the outcome of my appeal?
- No. You will need to submit your return (or a receipt/unique submission number) alongside your appeal to stop further daily penalties from being imposed.
Someone I know has received a penalty, can I appeal on their behalf?
- Yes, but before the appeal can be processed, the person would need to sign a Form of Authority to allow us to discuss their income tax affairs with you.
I have received a letter from you saying that the grounds of my appeal are "unreasonable", can I take this further?
- If the Director doesn't consider your grounds of appeal to be "reasonable" and an agreement can't be reached, you can proceed to the Guernsey Tax Tribunal. This is an independent body set up to hear appeals which cannot otherwise be resolved. The Director will forward your case to them and they will be in contact with you to arrange the hearing.
- If you want to be represented by another individual at the appeal hearing, the Tribunal may object if that person is not an accountant or advocate. Therefore, we do advise that you contact the Clerk of the Guernsey Tax Tribunal in advance of the hearing on 01481 227000 or email email@example.com.