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Income tax/social security merger will "make life easier"

Income tax/social security merger will

Wednesday 07 March 2018

Income tax/social security merger will "make life easier"

Wednesday 07 March 2018

A "single, fully integrated service" will replace the current system for collection of income tax and social security contributions.

Express has been told operating costs will be reduced and both tax payers and employers will be better off if the States of Deliberation agree to adopt the new system.

The new system has been proposed by the Policy & Resources Committee and the Committee for Employment & Social Security with a joint policy letter outlining plans at

The two offices have already been partially merged with a number of income tax staff relocating from the Albany to Edward T Wheadon House where they now work alongside colleagues within Employment and Social Security and Housing.

Edward T Wheadon House

Pictured: Edward T Wheadon House, where most Income Tax services are now provided alongside Social Security

The merger is being managed in phases with the "preferred operating model" now developed along with staff relocations and other background aspects already complete. The further changes which will affect customers will be rolled out over the next 18 months if the States approve the plans, before phase three which will see a wider investment in IT systems.

Phase two which will affect members of the public comes with a series of promised improvements:

  • Improved customer satisfaction by making services easier to use, tailoring them for particular types or groups of customers, making greater use of digital services and simplifying administration for businesses and individuals
  • Delivering a single organisation for the collection of revenue, focused on efficiency and the removal of duplication for islanders and government
  • Significantly reduced operating costs by removing duplication, integrating similar activities, introducing greater automation and removing some IT maintenance, postage and staff costs.

The two politicians fronting the scheme say it will make our lives easier.

Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, said it is a simple merger, after spending years collecting two sums of money from the public in two different ways. She said the money will still go in to two separate funds to pay for different public services including pensions, health care and education, but the way it is collected will be different and she said we will notice the difference:

"I think it really is to make life easier for everybody.

"The other thing is, we've both got very old systems so the income tax system and our contribution systems are coming to the end of life and any new initiatives that we want to bring out on the tax side and on the contributions side, we will be developing an old system. So this gives enables us to build something that's fit for service and fit for the future. Very often when we're approached to do something that's a bit innovative we are held back by some of the systems that we've currently got so this will enable us to be more flexible in our approach."

Michelle Le Clerc

Pictured: Deputy Michelle Le Clerc

During times of continued financial pressures the ESS President believes this merged scheme would save the island money, but Deputy Le Clerc said that would be a co-incidence not the main aim:

"Eventually there will be some staff savings, because it will be one collection system and one team working together. Not all of the income tax staff are down at Wheadon House, there are some at Frossard House; over time that will happen and the team will amalgamate, and part of the phase two is developing the infrastructure and staff structure so we have all of that in place for when we have the new IT systems."

Deputy Gavin St Pier, the President of Policy and Resources, agreed, saying this is a huge transformation of a decades old system which will inevitably bring benefits, as well as savings: "in terms of actually looking to do something differently, but in a way that will, because you're doing it differently it will produce efficiencies and savings and therefore for tax payers who will have to fund the costs of it. So there are twin benefits: the benefits for us as users of the system and also as taxpayers who are having to pay for it."  

Gavin St Pier

Pictured: Deputy Gavin St Pier

Deputy St Pier said it is a change that could have brought benefits years ago but the will has not been there to merge the two services before:

"As a concept it's a very simple concept. The problem is it is a huge project in terms of the scale because the largest parts of our revenues are dependent on these systems and processes so you can't afford to get it wrong. And again, as ever, it's the fact you've got the history of the legacy systems that have been developed and legacy processes that have developed over decades that you're now saying actually we're looking to replace that with a single set of processes and systems.

"So the concept is simple but as ever the practical delivery is more challenging and that's why we're taking this in a very measured and controlled way.

"We're looking to make sure all the previous lessons have been learned around how we manage big projects. You do ensure they're properly resourced, properly controlled. You have the proper checks at the right stage of the project so you don't end up going too far down the path before you realise you need to be doing something differently."

Income tax and social security contributions collectively added £464m to the States coffers in 2016.

If the merged collection system is adopted by the States there are promised improvements for customers using both services and also for employers who must ensure staff make the correct contributions.

There will be no change in the current levels deducted from wages and the two contributions will continue to be shown separately on wage slips. 


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