Shocking Jobsworth Attitude re Council Tax!

Income Tax, Council Tax, National Insurance and VAT issues.

Shocking Jobsworth Attitude re Council Tax!

Postby WireInTheBlood » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:32 pm

Here is this week's communcation. I'm just astounded:

1st E-mail to Council:
I tried to call you but after 10 minutes of listening to a message on a loop, I gave up.

I want you to make a note on your records re the above account.

I know it's in arrears and at the moment I can't pay it.

My employer didn't pay me (or over 1000 others) in Dec and we're all still waiting to be paid now.

Every spare penny I get at the moment is borrowed from family and is only just enough for me to buy food with; no bills at all are being paid.

This s a temp situation, I'm lead to believe, and I want you to be aware of it.

The second I get paid, so will you.

Thanks
----
Their response:

Dear Miss XXXXX,

Thank you for your e-mail.

May I apologise for the difficulty you have experienced in contacting the Council by telephone.

I can confirm that a Reminder Notice was issued (£79.00) on the 23rd of January 2010. In order to avoid a Summons and further costs (£70.00) this instalment must be paid within the next seven days.

Whilst I appreciate your comments, I regret the Council must issue such documents, including their prescribed wording and content, in strict adherence to the legislation governing the administration and enforcement of Council Tax. This must be done in all cases when a Council Tax-payer has, for whatever reason, failed to maintain their instalments. In addition to the legislative requirement, this policy also ensures that all Council Tax-payers who have failed to maintain their instalments are treat in a fair and consistent manner.

I trust this clarifies the position for you. If you would like to discuss the matter further please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours Sincerely
-----

My response:

Dear XXXX,

Please address me as XXXX and not Miss.

Whilst I appreciate your comments, if I have not been paid, then I do not have the money to pay this. Taking me to court will not make the money magically appear. I am doing my utmost to keep you in the loop as opposed to just ignoring the matter, which I'm sure happens more often than not.

I am offering agreement that I currently owe £79.00. This removes controversy, and means that you no longer have any ultimate recourse to a court of law in this matter, because there is no controversy upon which it could adjudicate.

Yours,

Their last response (which I've not replied to)

Dear XXXXX,

Thank you for getting back to me.

I appreciate your situation but I must outline the Council's position with regard to the statutory procedures we are required to follow when any Council Tax-payer falls into arrears. I have noted your comments on your Council Tax account.

If you are unable to bring your instalments up to date a Summons will be issued in order to allow the Council to apply for a Liability Order. The sole purpose of a Liability Order is to provide the Council with the means to begin enforcement action in the event that the Council Tax remained unpaid. Should a Summons and application for a Liability Order & Costs prove necessary then, at this specific hearing, the Magistrates would rule on;

1, whether you have been correctly identified as the person liable for the Council Tax due in respect of [address]
2, whether the Council have adhered to the statutory requirement to issue the appropriate precursory notices
3, if the Council Tax has been paid in accordance with these precursory notices

It is not a requirement for the Magistrates to ascertain a Council Tax-payer's means to pay before deciding on whether a Liability Order should be granted.

If a Summons is issued it is the Council's policy that a Liability Order and Costs may only be avoided if the Council Tax is paid in full prior to the hearing. Discretion remains in exceptional circumstances and, as you have kept the Council informed of your position throughout, if we do proceed as far as a Liability Order & Costs then these would be withdrawn on the condition that your Council Tax account is paid in full before 31/03/10.

I you remain dissatisfied with my advice I would strongly recommend that you seek independent legal advice such as that offered by the Citizen's Advice Bureau or exercise your right to make a formal complaint.

Kind Regards
Last edited by WireInTheBlood on Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shocking Jobsworth Attitude re Council Tax!

Postby Jim » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:36 pm

I know it's frustrating, WITB, but try to look at it from the Council's point of view. Their hands are tied:

I regret the Council must issue such documents, including their prescribed wording and content, in strict adherence to the legislation

You're more free at every point and in every way possible than the Council could ever be.

I thought the final email from the Council contained some very interesting nuggets of information:

the Magistrates would rule on;

1, whether you have been correctly identified as the person liable for the Council Tax due in respect of [address]
2, whether the Council have adhered to the statutory requirement to issue the appropriate precursory notices
3, if the Council Tax has been paid in accordance with these precursory notices

So these are the only things that the beak takes into consideration at a LO hearing? We now have a specific formula for a plan of attack then.

And:

The sole purpose of a Liability Order is to provide the Council with the means to begin enforcement action

Is that all? Pffft. This explains why the Judge at my LO hearing appeared not to see what all the fuss was about. The LO simply authorizes the Council to unleash the hounds. It might have your name on it but it doesn't really affect you directly.

Peace

J
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Re: Shocking Jobsworth Attitude re Council Tax!

Postby enegiss » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:15 pm

hi guys, yeah! there are some ideas in them nuggets, well spotted j, peace
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