Our approach to compliance
We aim to create an environment in which everyone can pay their taxes effortlessly. Our approach is based on the best international practice, tailored to Jersey's unique culture and particular circumstances.
- tax law is complicated and people can sometimes get things wrong
some people are careless, even reckless, in declaring their income to the tax authority
a minority of people knowingly evade paying what they should
Revenue Jersey seeks to base all its work on a clear understanding of Jersey's taxpayers:
- the risks of non-compliance, either from innocent error or deliberate act
Promote, prevent and respond
Improving tax compliance based on the Promote, Prevent and Respond model.
- promote good design in our tax systems so that it's harder to get things wrong
- promote understanding of the tax rules through clear and simple guidance
- nudge careless or reckless people to take more care, so enabling customers to get it right first time
- make it as hard as possible for people to get things wrong by providing online filing
- in-built sense checks and prompts when data doesn't match expected patterns and norms or otherwise doesn't look right
- intervene with individual taxpayers or whole groups of taxpayers to correct historic mistakes or wrongdoing
- help people get things right for the future
Strategic approach to prosecution
Revenue Jersey has a Compliance Strategy which is built on its promote, prevent, respond model.
We promote voluntary compliance by making it easier for citizens to understand their obligations, prepare and file their returns, and pay what is due. We protect the integrity of Jersey’s revenue streams by a series of upfront checks and risk-based analysis that help us identify areas and individuals where there is a higher risk of revenue loss.
We also have a civil sanctions regime in place – monetary penalties for non-compliance which increase the longer non-compliance continues. We expect that to encourage voluntary compliance for the majority of our population.
Civil penalties work well where the person pays the estimated tax or charge, and/or the penalty. The financial consequences of non-compliance might persuade those who are tempted to avoid their responsibilities to re-join the compliant majority.
But for those who fail to pay the tax or the penalty this can render our civil penalty regime ineffective.
This would be one example of when Revenue Jersey might seek to prosecute as an alternative.
addition, anyone who fails to comply with their obligations could be sanctioned through the Courts. Those who flout the rules, who refuse to accept their obligations to fellow Jersey citizens by adhering to the tax laws, who commit fraud, or aid and abet deliberate attempts to gain an unfair advantage in the amount of tax they pay can all expect Revenue Jersey to seek remedy through the Courts too.
Having a criminal prosecution sanction is important for several reasons:
send a message about the integrity of our laws, and to underline that they are enforced in a way that embraces both neutrality and fairness. In other words, that nobody is above the law
to act as a general deterrent for those people who could be tempted to evade their tax obligations if the opportunity arose, by providing the serious reputational and punitive consequences of criminal activity
to act as a specific deterrent for an individual who has been convicted and sanctioned in the past, so that they might be discouraged from doing so again. Enforcement of the sanctions imposed by the Courts on those who have chosen not to comply with their obligations is essential for real justice and it strengthens the credibility of the available sanctions and the tax system itself
Revenue Jersey is building up its capability and strengthening the tax laws to ensure prosecution is a real option when it is the appropriate response to non-compliant behaviour.