Questions are asked about the proposed Single Property Tax
Residents at the July People’s Meeting quizzed States Members on where cash was going to come from to give businesses discounts on TRP once the new single property tax comes in next year.
On the Billet this month is enabling legislation to allow the States of Alderney to set its own tax on property from 2021. Before now rates have been set in Guernsey. Businesses have long complained that rates set on the more prosperous island fail to take into account different forces at work in Alderney, such as much lower footfall in shops. The States of Guernsey has also determined which organisations’ tax should be set at zero and which should be levied at a higher rate.
The single property tax will combine TRP (taxation on real property) and Occupiers’ Rates.
Rates will be set out at Alderney’s own annual budget and they will be applied using technology already in use in Guernsey to negate the costs of collection.
However Alderney’s annual Revenue Grant from the States of Guernsey will be substantially reduced. In 2020 the Revenue Grant stood at £1.8m.
Policy and Finance Chairman James Dent said he did not expect Alderney to be fiscally disadvantaged by the changes.
He confirmed that once the single property tax came in, some ‘rebalancing’ could take place.
Barbara Benfield wanted to know where the money would come from to pay for any new discounts levied to businesses.
‘Over recent months some States Members have said that we will be able to give businesses discounts because they struggle.
‘If you reduce the rates on businesses then the money has to be raised somewhere else. I don’t want to pay to support the businesses on Alderney. We’ve all been told this will be a fairer system – how can this be fair?’
Mr Dent said any re-proportioning of rates was secondary to the current item on the Billet and would be decided next year by the government. He added that may transpire that no discounted rates were applied at all.
It was his own personal opinion that if any rebalancing was to take place, one option would be to ask second home owners to pay more property tax than the current level.
‘Second home owners have the same benefits as residents but do not now have to pay any income tax to the Bailiwick.
‘We could raise extra money from second home owners. In my own personal opinion that would seem reasonable.’
The June States Meeting takes place at the Courthouse at 5.30pm on Wednesday 10th June.