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
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    Default Council tax summons advice needed

    Evening All,

    Have an issue with Council Tax and could really do with some help/advice from fellow users of CAGicon.

    Up until September Last year we were quite happily paying Council Tax in installments, until my wife and kids were involved in a serious car accident. To date she still hasnt been able to return to work from her injuries, and as a result I reduced my working hours to look after her and kids, and picked up the slack.

    Money has remained tight, and council tax was one of the areas neglected. I wrote to the local authority explaining the situation and asking for help in November, to which I received no reply.

    received a lettericon earlier this month, saying that we were in default, and had to pay up the balance of 780.00. I emailed them once again explaining the situation asking them for advice on what to do. No reply received. (Have receipt of email though.)

    Today we both got a summon to appear at the local magistrates for non payment of council tax, on the 20th February.

    My wife has not worked since the accident and is unlikely to be able to for at least a few more months on light duties, and I went on a low income in October, in order to look after my wife and kids. My salary will resume normally in a few months time, but 2 of those months were effectively unpaid.

    I'm annoyed that my requests for help and advice were ignoredicon, but being annoyed isnt going to get the summons cancelled, or help me out in any way.

    I am unsure as to my plan of action. Does anyone have any tips, from personal experience?

    Need all the help I can get!

    Thanks


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    have you looked into claiming Council Tax Benefit?

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    We dont qualify for council tax benefit, as we own another property which is being let out. The fact that we receive no income from it, doesn't come into it.


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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    can you increase rent on other property?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    No. It's on a fixed amount under an AST Agreement. Its just about paying for itself, and anything spare goes back in on maintenance.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    ash
    double check that what they are asking for is correct, and any poss benefits. if they won't come to some arrangement due to difficulties, could see your local citizens advice and try get them involved?
    some brief cab info www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/d_council_tax_arrears.PDF


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    Ford.

    Thanks for the heads up. I've contacted the CAB, but for some odd reason the bloke I got wasn't very helpful! He kept going on about how we all have to pay our council tax. Dont know if I got someone on an off day, but will try another branch on Monday and see how I get on.

    I'm not too sure if we are due a reduction because of the accident and the inability to work, but our income has dropped by over half since October.

    I did contact the council, but they wont talk to me, because it's now going to court.

    Another peculiar thing is that they have separately summoned my wife and me; that way they get to charge us 2 lots of 40.00, and not one. Surely that isn't right.


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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Ash1646 View Post
    Another peculiar thing is that they have separately summoned my wife and me; that way they get to charge us 2 lots of 40.00, and not one. Surely that isn't right.
    Each person has to receive a separate summons but I've not come across any council's who will charge more than one lot of fees. Both summons will make reference to fees and they could in principal charge two lots but most will not.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ss002d6252 View Post
    Each person has to receive a separate summons but I've not come across any council's who will charge more than one lot of fees. Both summons will make reference to fees and they could in principal charge two lots but most will not.
    So does that mean that they have split the fee into 2? 80.00 court fee....


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    are you joint tenants? or tenants in common? should only be one court fee if one hearing imo. though its not quite an hearing, unless attend. rubber stamped otherwise. if joint, they can pursue just one but jointly liable, but if in common then would be all named?

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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    If your income didnt fall below a certain amount you wont get ant ct benefit as its based on that not the fact that you had an accident and as you have another property then you probably have sufficient assets so you dont qualify for ct benefit.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    Not the first thread I've seen where emails to a council about council tax disputes have been ignoredicon. I wonder if councils have a policy of ignoring emails! Best way seems to be to phone them.
    Unfortunately the rules concerning council tax say that you have to pay it even if in dispute or applying for a discount until the council agree to a reduced payment. A stance that sucks a bit for circumstances like yours where, through no fault of your own, you don't have the funds to pay.
    All I can suggest is that you pay whatever you can towards the arrears, do an income and expenditure calculation and work out what you can afford. If you have time before the hearing, send it to the Council as they can still agree a repayment planicon before the hearing if they want to.
    If not go to the hearing, tell them the circumstances that caused you being unable to pay, mention the non response to correspondence from the council and put forward your repayment planicon.
    Showing you have made some effort to resolve the situation should go in your favour but there is no guarantee.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

    34.—(1) If an amount which has fallen due under regulation 23(3) or (4) is wholly or partly unpaid, or (in a case where a final notice is required under regulation 33) the amount stated in the final notice is wholly or partly unpaid at the expiry of the period of 7 days beginning with the day on which the notice was issued, the billing authority may, in accordance with paragraph (2), apply to a magistrates' court for an order against the person by whom it is payable.

    (2) The application is to be instituted by making complaint to a justice of the peace, and requesting the issue of a summons directed to that person to appear before the court to show why he has not paid the sum which is outstanding.

    (5) If, after a summons has been issued in accordance with paragraph (2) but before the application is heard, there is paid or tendered to the authority an amount equal to the aggregate of—

    (a)the sum specified in the summons as the sum outstanding or so much of it as remains outstanding (as the case may be); and

    (b)a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the application up to the time of the payment or tender,

    the authority shall accept the amount and the application shall not be proceeded with.
    Am I reading this correctly that an offer of a repayment planicon is a tender and that when a tender is offered, the authority should accept it and cease proceedings?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Northernpug View Post
    Am I reading this correctly that an offer of a repayment planicon is a tender and that when a tender is offered, the authority should accept it and cease proceedings?
    That might be the case, but you need to look further into the council tax regulations to see how payment arrangements are dealt with. For agreements made between the billing authority and liable person, the part most likely to be relevant is regulation 21. It would be interesting to know whether this applies to the point after which the summons has been issued, detailed at regulation 34(5).

    However, what is a source of constant amazement is how the authorities get away with specifying the "costs reasonably incurred", at regulation 34(5)(b). In theory the costs are unknown until an application for an award of costs is made at the court hearing for the Magistrates' consideration.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Ford View Post
    are you joint tenants? or tenants in common? should only be one court fee if one hearing imo. though its not quite an hearing, unless attend. rubber stamped otherwise. if joint, they can pursue just one but jointly liable, but if in common then would be all named?
    double check that. just to add, 'Couples living together will both be jointly and severally liable, even if there is only one name on the bill. This applies whether the couple is married, cohabiting or in a civil partnership..' adviceguide.org.uk

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    Once a person has lost the right to pay by instalments there is nothing in council tax legislation which covers any form of repayment arrangement , that's at the discretion of the council. Payment arrangements were not included in the post liability recovery options written in to law.

    Reg 21 covers council tax payments where you still retain the right to pay by instalments e.g whilst its still at billing stage (schedule 1 covers the calculation of instalments plans, statutory and discretionary, for when a council tax demand is issued).


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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ss002d6252 View Post
    Once a person has lost the right to pay by instalments there is nothing in council tax legislation which covers any form of repayment arrangement , that's at the discretion of the council. Payment arrangements were not included in the post liability recovery options written in to law.

    Reg 21 covers council tax payments where you still retain the right to pay by instalments e.g whilst its still at billing stage (schedule 1 covers the calculation of instalments plans, statutory and discretionary, for when a council tax demand is issued).

    Would this mean that the response to a Freedom of Information request made to Rutland County Council is inaccurate.


    In response to question 2, Rutland County Council has collection guidance in place, a copy of which is available on our website at:
    [1] Council Tax information/Business Rates

    Arrangements may be set up in accordance with Regulations 20 & 21 of the Council Tax (Administration & Enforcement) Regulations 1992/613.

    Regulation 21(5) states:

    Council tax: payments

    21 (5) A billing authority and a liable person may agree that the amount mentioned in regulation 20(2) which is required to be paid under a notice to which regulation 20(1) applies shall be paid in such manner as is provided by the agreement.
    This was question 2:

    Q2. Which law states that a billing authority may circumvent legislation and exploit this for negotiating take-up of direct debiticon, assuming this has been done by:

    a) having recovery action suspended

    b) reinstating instalments after being withdrawn

    c) having Summons and costs withdrawn


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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    Before a summons is issued the council may make an arrangement with a person under part 2 of schedule 1 of the A & E regulations 1992 - this regs were amended either in 92 or 93 to ensure that any arrangements made under part 2 were recoverable in the same way as the statutory scheme under part 1 of the of schedule 1 of the A & E regulations 1992.

    The argument would be at what point the council make an arrangement to pay the balance due and whether they are obligated to issue a court summons - the general interpretation of the regs which has developed is that the council aren't obliged to continue recovery action if they feel its not warranted for whatever reason.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    I have news!

    I received an email from the council today, less than 24 hours before I am due to go to court!

    Basically sorry to hear of the accident speedy recovery wishes etc. Apologies for not responding to email sooner.

    The email then goes on to explain that the only grounds for defending a summons for non payment of council tax, would be on the basis that I was not responsible for the bill.

    The email also states the the liability order will be granted and I can enter into a payment arrangement with the council directly with them.

    Even though we had no salary coming in for 4 months, and has been further reduced for the forseeable future, because we own another property, which just about pays for itself, and isn't worth a light in terms of equity, we don't qualify for any benefits that may have been available.

    I am resigned to the fact that I will get a liability order, I'm afraid, but the delay tactics in responding does seem a bit suspicious doesn't it?

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Council tax summons advice needed

    have you checked to see if you are entitled to any other benefits or tax credits?



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