Council Tax Liability Order Applications
I have a question or two about council tax liability order applications; in particular with regards how costs are agreed, for example with the Magistrates' court.
First off, this is the letter North East Lincolnshire council sent Grimsby Magistrates' court last year when it decided it wanted to increase the revenue generated from council tax liability order applications by changing the composition of the summons/liability order fees.
It increased the overall cost by 23% as well as front loading all the charge to the summons fee (effectively a 120% hike).
Council's letter notifying the court it was increasing costs
Simply notifying the court of its intentions is clearly not something councils should be doing regarding how much (if any) costs are awarded to them.
Dear Deputy Justices' Clerk
Court Costs for Council Tax and National Non Domestic Rates
I am writing to advise you that North East Lincolnshire Council has taken the decision to increase the court costs which it charges to tax payers for the non payment of Council Tax and National Non Domestic Rates.
The costs to be charged for a summons for Council Tax and National Non Domestic Rates will be £70.00. There will be no additional costs for the liability order. The increase will take effect from 1st April 2011.
If there is any further information you require then please don’t hesitate to contact me directly on 01472 ****** or via e mail at *****.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks for your continued cooperation and support.
Income and Collection Manager
Also, how is it possible for councils to specify on the summons document a predetermined amount for either the summons or liability orders which will be imposed on the taxpayer?
Magistrates would need to determine this at the council tax liability order hearing. These costs would vary from one hearing to another because a key factor in determining the costs incurred by the council would be the number processed in the rubber stamping exercise of the bulk hearing.
Does anyone have further details about how the level of costs imposed on council taxpayers in respect of liability order applications are agreed and authorised by the Magistrates' court? Any links to legislation?
Also any opinions of the legitimacy of councils specifying the amount of costs imposed on the actual summons document when a summons is only a means of inviting the defendant to court to answer the complaint?
Thanks for any information.