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2013 – the best year ever

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all desire for more, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12: 13-21

For many folk in Jersey 2013 will be the best year ever. Yes, the best year ever.  And for those same Jersey folk it looks as though 2014 – and subsequent years – will also be extremely good, financially.

Why are things so good for so many in Jersey this year and next?
It’s because many Jersey residents own companies (nor financial services companies) which run businesses, shops, cafes and garages or hold investments or have bank deposits. From 2013 those companies do not owe or have to pay any Jersey Income Tax. Those Jersey owned companies will also not pay Jersey Income Tax next year – or ever.
‘The poor is disliked even by his neighbour, but the rich has many friends.’ (Proverb – attributed to Solomon – c. BC 970)

Of course Jersey residents must pay Income Tax at 20% on their income. So if Jersey residents they receive anything from the companies which they own then they will have to pay tax on that receipt from their profitable company. But for many of these Jersey residents it’s easy to arrange for the company to pay them only what they actually need in 2013 – only what they actually want to spend this year.

It is a real blessing for many Jersey folk to find themselves paying Income Tax only on what they spend. But others will pay Income Tax on all their income. That’s why 2013 is a very good year only for many Jersey folk and not all.

But two problems loom large – not for the many Jersey folk with companies mentioned above – but for others in Jersey.

When the Income Tax Department collects Income Tax in 2014 (based on 2013 income) there may well be a serious shortfall – perhaps an unmanageable shortfall. Who will make good the shortfall?

One thing is absolutely certain. The shortfall will not be met by changing the system introduced in 2013 which has brought such blessing on so many Jersey folk.

The reason is not that these folk “control” the States. Instead it is others who “control” the States, others who have devised this system, and others who have exerted external pressure for an externally-just tax system (which all external bodies confirm that it is). But can the externally-just system also be described as “internally just” for all Jersey residents.

 ‘If your desires are endless your cares and fears will be so too.’(Thomas Fuller, writer and historian, 1608-1661)

If, like “someone in the crowd” (see bold above), you are distressed about this you might well wish to say, “Someone from above must tell the States to put this right.”

But look closely at the reply of Jesus Christ to the man who said “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus’ reply drew attention to a propensity within all of us to be in thrall to our own desire for more. “Take care, and be on your guard against all desire for more, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Then look at the parable in bold above. Notice how the man whose crops had grown beyond all imagination spoke to himself and addressed himself as “Soul” – and was happy with his best year ever.

Happy until the One who gave him his soul, his “me”, his “life” decided to receive it back. That’s something that going to happen to us all, not just to those who own companies. How important then to be “rich toward God”.

Richard Syvret

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