Marc Gander - The Consumer Survival Handbook


A 220 page introduction to all things consumer related by our own BankFodder.

Includes energy companies, mobile phone providers, retailers, banks, insurance companies,debt collection agencies, reclaim companies, secondhand car sellers, cowboy garages, cowboy builders and all the rest who put their own profits before you.

£6.99



Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

£19.99 + £1.50 (P&P)


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  1. #1
    Site Team honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13's Avatar



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    Default Council tax arrears - court once a year?

    Hello people, I wonder if you can help please?

    First of all, I don't know if this is the right forum to post on and if anyone can tell me which one to move to, it would be great.

    A member of the family is having 25 a month deducted from salary to pay to the local authority. Every year, the coucil send a new court summons and charge 60 which is added to the debt. From what we're told, when the wife went to court they said she didn't need to go, but the 60 was still charged.

    We have only heard this second or third hand and are wondering if it's right. If anyone can help, we would be very grateful.

    Thank you, HB


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Council tax arrears

    I can't understand why they would need to go back to court every year for the same council tax year they are chasing; they only need one liability order, unless there are multiple accounts over different tax years - as far as I am aware. I may be very wrong on that though.

    I'll move you thread to the right forum so that people in the know can answer.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Council tax arrears - court once a year?

    Quote Originally Posted by honeybee13 View Post

    A member of the family is having 25 a month deducted from salary to pay to the local authority. Every year, the coucil send a new court summons and charge 60 which is added to the debt. From what we're told, when the wife went to court they said she didn't need to go, but the 60 was still charged.
    Each year the Council set what the COuncil Tax is for the year and advise all their "customers" accordingly usually from March onwards. This can be paid in a variety of ways and instalments are a possibility. The first payment is usually due on the 1st of April and if paying monthly then the 1st of each subsequent month - if paying by DDicon then that is usually taken later in the month. If you have elected to pay cash and fail to pay usually within 7 days of the due date then you should receive a "reminder" to bring it up to date, the majority of Councils say that failing to pay twice means you lose the right to pay in instalments and the whole sum for the rest of the year becomes payable immediately. As you can't afford to pay then a summons is issued to appear at the Magistrates Court.

    At Court the Magistrates are faced with a simple question - is the person liable to pay the Tax yes or no - if yes then the Liability Order is granted and usuallthe Council will pass the debt to Bailiffs. Paying by AoE is another method but not common. I don't doubt your family member is content to pat this way but really are they being given a chance to pay normally. The Council are making a profit on the costs - average actual cost is 3 so they are paying 57 extra they wouldn't need to ordinarily.

    What they should do is ring the Council and ask:
    1 - how many Liability Orders the Council have against them
    2 - what periods of time they cover
    3 - how much each Order is for
    4 - how much is still outstanding on each

    PT


  4. #4
    Site Team honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13's Avatar



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    Default Re: Council tax arrears - court once a year?

    Thank you PT, that's very useful. What a lot I didn't know about council tax! We'll follow up your suggestions.

    My best, HB


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Council tax arrears - court once a year?

    Hi PT
    I have a question along similar lines...
    Basically I own a house in yorkshire but I recently got a job in Lancashire. It wasnt practical to commute to work everyday so I found some accomodation in Lancs. I asked my sister to check my postal mail every now and again for my house in yorkshire. Anyway, she hadnt checked it for a couple of weeks. A council tax reminder had come and also a magistrates court summons. I contacted the council and explained the situation to them. I asked them to remove the court costs and cancel the court date as I had every intention of paying. I said that I felt I had a valid reason. I also stated that if they didnt cancel the costs and the court hearing then I would ask the judge for the council to pay my costs since it involved taking the day off work and also travelling to yorkshire. The council told me that they would not cancel the costs nor would they cancel the hearing.
    I paid my council tax bill but not the costs a few days before the "hearing". I looked through the letters that the council had sent me and realised that they had had the court summons issued a couple of days earlier than they should have. I went to court expecting a judge to be present so that I could present my case. To my dismay, the court room had about ten council employees who were dealing with various non-payers. The council employee that dealt with me admitted that they had sent me out the summons early and therefore their costs could not be applied. I then demanded that they pay my costs. He claimed that they couldnt do that!!! He then claimed that I had been told in writing that I didnt have to attend the court therefore they were not liable for the costs. This was a blatant lie.
    Basically, I want to know what the chances are of getting my costs.
    I am angry because it looked like the council had just hired out this room in the court building and were charging people 50 per council tax bill for a so called "hearing" when actually no hearings were taking place. There were about 40 people there just for that one time slot!!!
    I am sooo disgusted by the way things are going...every organisation (even the ones we think we can trust) are all about revenue collection and adding costs and increasing the little man's debt!

    Grrrrrrr

    honey b


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Council tax arrears - court once a year?

    Hi Honey b
    It was very informative reading your post - I am attending court this afternoon for 'non payment' of council tax - the council will not accept our offers of any kind - want the outstanding amount paid in full. Explained that a standing order has been set up to clear the account by Feb 2011. This I have been told is not good enough - they will only accept a direct debiticon if it is to be cleared in installments - told them I am in control of my payments - not my bank (they previously decided they would bounce my council tax DDicon and of course charged me 38.00 for the privelage) Explained to the council that my partner is still out of work and I am working full time so not entitled to benefits of any kind etc.... His JSA has now run out - cant claim that anymore. Anyhow, they have already recieved and accepted the first of my standing order payment!
    I was told I dont have to attend court either - not sure why councils seem to discourage attendance!!! It will be interesting to see if my court hearing is with a judge or a room of of these council workers - thanks for the posting - it has given me the heads up to be prepared for that!
    Totally agree with your last statement especially even the ones we think we can trust... the person I saw at the CAB was horrendous - so bad that he made me cry and told him he was making me feel tiny and I did not appreciate his attitude...how dare he look down on me as though I was something stuck to his shoe! Yep, seems like it's all about revenue collection and adding costs and increasing the little mans debt!


  7. #7
    Basic Account Holder honey b Novitiate



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    Default Re: Council tax arrears - court once a year?

    Hi Blue
    I think an offer of payment by standing order is still an offer of payment so the council cant really turn it down.
    What sort of "hearing" was it in the end? Was there a judge?
    Perhaps you could dispute the costs. Even ask them to prove that their costs are 50 (or whatever it is they claim they are).
    I think the council discourage people attending so that they can get things wrapped up faster. When I was outside the court room, the Council Tax Manager was basically going over to people and telling them to go and visit the council tax offices and make arrangements to pay rather than stick around for an imaginary "hearing". Obviously these people already had the council tax costs added to their accounts
    As for the CAB, I am sure they try to be helpful but in my experience, they are just random people who are volunteering to provide a service. I have found that individuals dont tend to know all that much about any particular subject. In addition, the last time I visited them, they wanted all sorts of personal details like date of birth, NI number, etc. All I went there for was to get access to a book relating to debt law. I am concerned that generally people give up information about themselves too readily. Then this information ends up falling into the hands of all sorts of organisations. We basically seem to have lost all privacy and anybody can find out anything about us.

    Sigh
    <

    hb


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Council tax arrears - court once a year?

    Quote Originally Posted by honey b View Post
    Hi PT
    I have a question along similar lines...
    Basically I own a house in yorkshire but I recently got a job in Lancashire. It wasnt practical to commute to work everyday so I found some accomodation in Lancs. I asked my sister to check my postal mail every now and again for my house in yorkshire. Anyway, she hadnt checked it for a couple of weeks. A council tax reminder had come and also a magistrates court summons. I contacted the council and explained the situation to them. I asked them to remove the court costs and cancel the court date as I had every intention of paying. I said that I felt I had a valid reason. I also stated that if they didnt cancel the costs and the court hearing then I would ask the judge for the council to pay my costs since it involved taking the day off work and also travelling to yorkshire. The council told me that they would not cancel the costs nor would they cancel the hearing.
    I paid my council tax bill but not the costs a few days before the "hearing". I looked through the letters that the council had sent me and realised that they had had the court summons issued a couple of days earlier than they should have. I went to court expecting a judge to be present so that I could present my case. To my dismay, the court room had about ten council employees who were dealing with various non-payers. The council employee that dealt with me admitted that they had sent me out the summons early and therefore their costs could not be applied. I then demanded that they pay my costs. He claimed that they couldnt do that!!! He then claimed that I had been told in writing that I didnt have to attend the court therefore they were not liable for the costs. This was a blatant lie.
    Basically, I want to know what the chances are of getting my costs.
    I am angry because it looked like the council had just hired out this room in the court building and were charging people 50 per council tax bill for a so called "hearing" when actually no hearings were taking place. There were about 40 people there just for that one time slot!!!
    I am sooo disgusted by the way things are going...every organisation (even the ones we think we can trust) are all about revenue collection and adding costs and increasing the little man's debt!

    Grrrrrrr

    honey b
    The Council's 50 costs are cheap compared with others - I believe the average is around the 90 mark. As for the costs themselves the Council will tell you it covers the adminicon work of drawing up, serving, follow up etc of the Liabilty Order - very similar to you paying a set charge of 75 to have your washing machine looked at. The staff are there for the very few that can argue successfully they are not Liable to pay and the remainder then go on a list and are submitted to a Magistrate for rubber stamping.

    If the Council have admitted they have made a gaffe then in my opinion they should pay your reasonable costs. After all if you hadn't turned up they would just have steam rollered ahead and the chances are you would not have known.

    PT


  9. #9
    Basic Account Holder honey b Novitiate



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    Default Re: Council tax arrears - court once a year?

    Thanks PT

    I think you used just the right wording that I will plagiarise into an email to them.



    honey b



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