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Found 113 results

  1. If this post serves no other purpose, it may at least include some useful links It seems Local Authorities, for their own advantage, are selectively implementing the law under the 1992 Council Tax regulations. Council's recovery policies reveal how they're circumventing regulations and using the threat of a Liability Order as bargaining power to negotiate take-up of Direct Debit. After recovery action has commenced, it seems council tax payers who agree terms laid down by their respective councils are having recovery action reversed. Concessions differ from one authority to another but include: i) Summons and costs being withdrawn, ii) Reinstatement of instalments, and, iii) The Authority agreeing NOT to apply for a liability order Generally, the condition is that the account holder switches to Direct Debit – the council's preferred payment method. West Lindsey District Council, for example state: The London Borough of Hillingdon offer this: Rutland County Council this: Wandsworth Borough Council Eastbourne Borough Council..... North East Lincolnshire, Ashford Borough, South Kesteven and Rother District Council, all offer some variation on a theme of this... There is of course an ulterior motive for this generosity in that the authorities secure more Direct Debit payers through their deals. However, it must be questioned whether or not it is lawful. The penalties, or court costs charged to the individual are based (or should be) on how many orders are applied for by the council. There are therefore far greater implications for the alleged debtor than simply whether or not a concession is given for the take-up of Direct Debit. Because of these concessions, the total costs are being split between fewer account payers, thus (theoretically) larger penalties are being charged to householders as a direct consequence of councils campaigning for a greater take-up of Direct Debit. As well as the added imposed burden this has on the rate payer, unless a specific clause in the legislation provides for the council to apply regulations discretionally, then the authority will almost certainly be breaching the Council Tax regulations. All councils have to adhere to set procedures laid down in statute whilst obtaining liability orders for council tax arrears through the court. The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations state under regulation 34 exactly what steps the authority must take. These regulations are devised so meticulously that invariably when a householder appeals an unfavourable action, councils simply state their hands are tied and play their "procedures are laid down in statute” card. Interestingly though, if the authority is able to benefit by bending the rules (securing additional Direct Debit payers in this instance), it seems they view the law as optional. So to summarise, these penalties or court costs are being made higher because fewer householders are paying them as a direct consequence of our council's campaign for greater take-up of Direct Debit (the council's preferred payment method). And, unless a specific clause in the legislation provides for the council to apply regulations discretionally then the authority will almost certainly be breaking the law.
  2. hi my wife received a notification of intention to distrain on Thursday 31/1/13. she works long shifts so i am trying to sort this for her. we missed some council tax from 2011 and i have spoke to the council who told me it was £599.74 but weren't able to make any arrangement to pay as it is with the bailiffs now. they also told me that they sent a court summons in Jan 2012 but i do not remember this but i might have missed it. i then rang the bailiff that paid the visit to us and she told me that i owed £802.72 i asked why this was so high and she told me that there is a £43 levy fee for my car that was parked on my drive (car in my name, debt in my wife's name). and £160 van enforcement fee. she did say if i could produce my v5c form then the car levy fee might be lifted i told her i would have to get in back in touch once i got some advice and she said she had now left the area and isn't dealing with me anymore. i then tried to ring phoenix commercial collections but they would not speak to me as its not my debt. my wife would have to send a letter giving me permission to discuss this debt. this is the stage i am at now. i dont understand what a van enforcement fee is. the bailiff has never entered my house. i have been playing with numbers and can make payments of up to £300 a month but i don't know how i should go about paying this. do i wait till i can talk to phoenix when my wife has sent a letter or do i just use the councils automated payment line. any help will be massively appreciated.
  3. Hi, There I am in need of some advice as to what options I have based on my situation. I have had a call from the bailiffs at my house regarding owed council tax arrears. He has shown a standard bailiff letter which notes that I have 2 liability order against me on the property. One is for £2400 and the other is for £1600. The bailiffs are Equita with L Jefferies the Bailiff in Charge. I do know I have been owing the council some arrears but due to some financial circumstances I have not been able to keep up with payments agreed previously. I don't recall seeing liability orders from the council, so this has been a surprise but at the same time I can see how it has got here, so I really want to sort this out. The bailiff is demanding that I make a full payment to cover one of the liability orders £1600 and he can them put in a payment plan to cover the other liability order. I tell him £1600 is not easy money to get hold of, If I could get hold of the cash easily I wouldn't be in this situation... Now I have offered to make a payment of £700 and the rest can be cleared by end of march at the latest, but he says that you can not have more than 2 liability orders against you. One needs to be cleared off. He further threatens that the £1600 needs be cleared by the 8th February otherwise he will send the case back to courts for commitall. Since he says nothing is of value in the house to cover the monies owed. Now I want to know where I stand before proceeding given I have a week left. What is the process to get to commital and do I have a window to extend this past the 8th, with a proposal to make a payment starting with £700 and the rest within a month or two? I have been told that I can fill in a form call the N245 form with a list of my outgoings. Any advice at present would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  4. Hi All I wonder if anyone can comment further on the vulnerable status and what difference it makes to the councils action. I had a bailiff visit today. I refused to let him in so he said "okay I'll give you five days" I'm really worried. I am on the sick at the moment with depression. The council are aware of this yet they have still sent a bailiff. We do owe the money and it has come about due to loss of income due to my illness. We also have an adopted daughter who is eight and would be extremely distressed by bailifs coming into the house. I don't know what to do or even what my options are. My wife works but her income although reasonable, isn't enough for us to pay £1,600 just before Christmas. We had two liability orders and paid one in full a few months ago but couldn't pay the second one. I did communicate with the council and they promised to send me I&E forms but it took two further emails over about six weeks until they eventually emailed them to me. How can I stop this bailiff returning to take our stuff in 5 days. I have been getting better but this is making my depression worsen again. Any help would be most appreciated Thank you
  5. Users of this forum who have posted having had problems over the unfortunately nicknamed single person discount may find evidence to the Parliamentary ad hoc sub committee dealing with the draft local audit bill interesting. It seems that several posters have been provided with misleading information by their councils, and that some councils fail to provide with the annual demand notice information actually required by law, or replace this with misleading or inaccurate information. However, this evidence does seem to sum to topic up quite well. It is copyright of Parliament it should be noted. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmdraftlocaudit/writev/m01.htm
  6. Hi all i am hoping you can shed some light... History - Council tax owed on previous property where my ex and myself lived. However we split up whilst living at the address and she continued to live there. They have both our names on the debt accordingly. They have tracked her down to her new address. Due to personal reasons she could not pay and was not aware of her rights, paid £100 to rundles last November and a payment plan was put in place, at no time did they gain access or levy on goods. The payment plan was broken, she couldn't afford it.... She has a noted mental health issue on her health records and one of our sons is borderline autistic, again health records confirm this.. We recently wrote to rundles, after reading these forums, stating the above and her situation confirming she falls into the vunerable category and that he council have agreed to take a notary payment from her benefits, ( she is in council tax benefit/housing benefit) once the debt has been returned. The letter asked To date they have still to return the debt to the council. Today they have turned up, fortunately, I am there looking after kids, summer hols.. I answered door,( no access given to property at any time). i stated she had sent the letter, he denied all knowledge, i stated the council had requested the debt back, again he denied knowledge. After he was getting no where he informed me he would be back in 48 hours to collect goods, with a warrant. I closed the door. He then sat outside, in his car no doubt ringing whoever...I was able to access a copy of her previous letter,which i duly gave to him whilst he was sitting in his car. Where does my partner stand, she looks after our two children and is not petrified they are gonna return within 48 hours. Is there anything I can do or say that can put her mind at ease. Many thanks
  7. Hounslow Council recently contacted me (May 2012) to say that I owed £525 for council tax owed back in the year 2000. What had happened is that I moved out of a rented flat and moved to an address in the same block as the landlord had decided to sell the property. We promptly registered that we were moving to a new flat with the council and immediately without a pause began paying council tax on the new property. Hounslow acknowledge this and can see the record of this taking place. However, they are claiming that we did not de-register from the previous address and are claiming for a period of 6 months council tax unpaid. In speaking with them they are asking me to show my tenancy agreement from over 10 years ago (which I have zero record of) and I cannot track the landlord from 10+ years ago. I am stuck and the council will not see reason. Apparently they had a summons issued against me and my flatmate back in 2001 for the outstanding bill. We never received any communications that this was going on and Hounslow tell me that it is only now that they have been able to trace me - despite the fact that they had a record of me living at another address in Hounslow until 2003 and also me being on the electoral register since then and having lived at the same address for a property I bought for the past 8 years. Its extremely frustrating as if they had contacted me earlier I would have perhaps had records of things - but since they have taken so long it is now extremely difficult for me to do anything. They have a baliff now pressed into action and I feel very very down about the whole thing. I dont have the £525 spare right now and I really dont feel that I owe it. If anything the landlord of the property has been unscrupulous in not forwarding the mail at the time and also he should have been liable for the council tax. I have requested now that the council provide an original copy of the letter sent to them registering us at the new address and evidence of their attempts to contact me in the past 10 years. But to be honest unless the original form shows that I notified them that I was moving out of a place and moving into another place (and not just the latter) then I do not know what to do. Can anyone point me in the right direction as to how to fight this? Many thanks
  8. Hi All, I'm a newbie, and rightly or wrongly in a panic! So, where to start? I'll try and be as brief as I can: I've just received a scary letter (yesterday) from the council asking me to attend a formal interview on Tuesday 15th March (in accordance with the Police & criminal Evidence Act) that says I am being investigated for Council Tax Benefit Fraud. It doesn't say what they think I've done, and I don't know if I'm guilty, but this all started when I approached them a few weeks ago. It talks about criminal proceedings being taken. I was supposed to be at a training event that day for a charity I volunteer with, and now will have to miss it, much to the charity's cost (not that I'd be much use there on Tuesday any more after reading this letter!) Background: I was made redundant in Sep 2008 after being signed-off sick from work since June that year. I was suffering from Depression & Anxiety (and still am), but I got a decent redundancy pay-out as I'd been there for 9 years. My illness was because of the stress of dealing with my ex's own mental illness (she's bipolar) it tore us apart and caused all sorts of problems...one of the biggest issues I'm having is that the medication I have had to take has had a major impact on my brain's usefulness. I can barely concentrate long enough to make a cup of tea, let alone deal with the stress of a fraud investigation, and my memory is useless. So many things over the last 3 years are just a blur. I am really worried that I might have messed up and be in trouble, so I'm trying to find an experienced benefits/fraud solicitor in the South Yorkshire area that can help me sort this mess out and avoid a criminal conviction if possible?! I don't know how relevant it is, but she had what they call a "major episode" in April 2005 which was basically the beginning of the end for us, but some how I managed to hold down my job, and in April 2007 we bought a new house together. She seemed a lot better but I think the house was more of a sticking-plaster for our failing relationship, and in October that year we split-up. She didn't have anywhere else to go, and the house was in her name too, so we both lived here (not as a couple) as long as we could, but it was too much for us in the end, and in May last year she moved out to go back to her parents. Anyway, with the housing boom having been at it's height, and me having a well-paid job at the time, I managed to buy the new house and keep hold of the old one to rent out, which it has been, on-and-off, since we moved to the new one (I think in May 2007). Ever since then, of course, we had the housing crash, so both properties are in negative equity (even though the old one is only little, I was there for just 3 years, so barely dented the mortgage), so I haven't even been able to sell one or both of them in the meantime, either. Benefits When I applied for benefits in late 2008 / early 2009, I told them about the other house, and so started getting IB and some council tax benefit. My ex was also receiving IB, DLA & Council Tax benefit for some of the time she was living here -I don't know the exact details off the top of my head. (As far as I know, she was entitled to 100% benefit on council tax for the period she lived here and was claiming, so I'm guessing the problem is some time either-side of that period when just my claim was eligible?) So, the rent & IB/CTB wasn't enough to cover the bills, and by May last year, all my savings & redundancy were gone, I'd pretty-much maxed-out all my credit cards, and emptied my overdraft. I really didn't want to lose everything, so against my doctor's advice I made the difficult decision to try and get back into work. At the time I told the Benefits Agency I was looking for work, and managed to get a small part-time contract (self-employed) for just enough to make ends meet. The Benefits people were really helpful, and told me they'd sort out informing the council tax and not to worry about it. So I didn't. That was a mistake! Both of them overpaid me. I told the benefits people, but they didn't seem to do anything about recovering the overpayment, but they did stop paying me the IB. And sent me a reassuring letter, so I thought that was that and promptly forgot all about it. I then got a letter from the council asking for documents to support my claim for council tax (which I thought was cancelled) so I went to their office myself and told them that they shouldn't still be paying me and that I had already started work. I provided them with the details, they sent me a bill for repayment, and will hopefully have the funds to pay the bill when it hits my bank account later this month. Fraud As far as I know, I've always told them truthful answers to any questions they've asked, but due to my mental weakness I have absolutely no confidence in myself or recollection of exactly what they asked or what I said back, so am having to rely on what paper trail I can get my hands on at such short notice. I've got a nagging feeling that it's to do with the amount of rent / mortgage payments on the other house varying and so affecting my income? I just don't know what information I gave to which agencies. I thought they were all the same thing, but obviously not. If it turns out I owe them money, I'll do everything in my power to repay it, but if I get a criminal conviction for fraud, my career is effectively over! Anybody know what I can do between now and Tuesday afternoon? (...other than crap myself and pace around all day & night -tried that already, it's not helping!) Off topic: ...And if that doesn't make things bad enough, it looks like I'm a serial fraudster, as I didn't realise that I've supposed to have been paying extra tax on the the other house's rent money too, and I haven't been! -so off to another forum to post about advice on that now too. I feel like such a failure today -what else have I got wrong too? Thanks so much in advance to anybody that can offer a referral or any scraps of helpful advice, Paul. P.S. I promise to keep this thread updated with any "progress" ...or you can PM me if this site supports that? ...so sorry for such a long first post too.
  9. For 3 years i have been having problems with Salford City Council regarding Council tax exemptions: ------ repeatedly refusing a Class A exemption on a flat: ----- refusing to visit to see that it was SO uninhabitable it had no internal walls, electrics, plumbing etc ----- refusing to answer questions ----- it took them over a year for them to change their mind - NOT UNTIL AFTER I HAD SOLD THE FLAT ON AT A LOSS DUE TO STRESS - denying any responsibility ------- repeatedly refusing a Class A exemption on a house we bought to do up and move into ----- refusing for over a year ------ refusing to visit to see how bad it was ------ refusing to answer questions ----- TAKING US TO COURT - which was a joke. The council were allowed to withdraw and resubmit - THEY NEVER DID ----- finally granting it ------ DENYING RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL OUR STRESS ---------- repeatedly refusing Class C exemption on the above house, even though ----- they admit i lived in the house for more than 6 weeks at a time. I MOVED IN DUE TO THE STRESS IT WAS CAUSING ME AND MY WIFE ----- we took our old house off the market because of this - SO THAT WE BOTH HAD SOMEWHERE TO LIVE – so have had to pay another mortgage ----- they insist i have to prove me living at the new house made it my main residence - as my wife still lived at our old house ------ they refuse to answer questions ----- they refuse to show me proof it has to be my main residence ----- they refuse to acknowledge it is the house that should be looked at and not the individual ----- THEY HAVE NOW ISSUED A COURT SUMMONS FOR MYSELF AND MY WIFE --------- I HAVE INVOLVED: ----- COUNCIL TAX STAFF ----- DEPARTMENT MANAGERS ----- COUNCIL DIRECTORS ------ COUNCILORS ----- THE OLD COUNCIL LEADER ----- THE NEW MAYOR ----- MY LOCAL MP ----- AND STILL IT GOES ON ----------- I HAVE HAD TELEPHONE CALLS, MEETINGS, OVER A HUNDRED PAGES OF LETTERS & EMAILS ---------- WE HAVE LOST THOUSANDS OF POUNDS ---------- I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO WORK - AND DO NOT CLAIM A PENNY OFF THE STATE ---------- ME AND MY WIFE ARE BOTH NOW ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS ---------- ANY IDEAS ????
  10. Dear All, Your advice please: I fell in to arrears on my Council Tax during the first 3 or 4 months of 2012 (April, May, June) due to contracting Lyme's disease (potentially life threatening condition) and being incapacitated at the time. I was off work too, and staying with family, during this time. I have also had to resign my teaching post so as to focus on my recovery and will supply teach from next term, instead (major salary drop). By mid August I had payed ALL my council tax for the year 2012/13 (via the council tax website - with receipts by email - rather than via the bailiffs as the council had requested). I however, have had stroppy/agressive demands from the Bailiffs for payment of their fees (£150 for what?) which I told the council (in a phone call) I objected to. Including the mention of lockmiths and lock breaking, as far as I can tell I have had only 2 letters by post (one since paying the total bill) and no evidence of hand delivered letters. The council have so far refused to respond to an email I sent them on the 29th of March warning them of my above situation and that I was away from my property while I recovered and that I could only receive emails not post. (Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the auto-responder, to prove delivery). Immediately after I paid the council tax online I sent the council an email with the word "complaint" in it together with medical evidence of my condition during those months (I have the auto-responder). On the day I paid I also spoke to the bailiff (via phone, blocking my number) so as to tell him I had paid the full council tax and mentioning my lyme's disease. As of nearly 2 weeks after the above email to the council, as yet no response, I have also got yet another demand for the bailiff fees, from Equita, with a another fee hike. Given I am still ill and not totally fit - this added stress is totally unhelpful. What should my next steps be? Many thanks in advance of your replies.
  11. Hi, Im here on behalf of a friend who needs some help. Bailiffs turn up today to remove her car or sieze her car s they call it. She owes about £400 previous years council tax and 800 for this years. She has been making payments of 10 per week to the bailiff but did not realize that that plan was only in effect for 11 weeks she has been paying this since Jan 12th paying back 360 in total. Bailiffs added 230 pound for their call today which is outrageous. I have told her to go to the council tomorrow, she is a single mother and offer to make a payment each week along along with proof that she has been trying to clear the arrears. Just need advise on where to go next? Thanks in advance T thanks
  12. My sister has just recieved a letter from Jacobs re CTax non payment. She already has an acct with them and is paying £10 per fortnight. She is in reciept of incapacity, housing and ctax benefit and lives alone. She has arthritis and depression which she is under her gp and on medication for. This debt is for the current year which she admits she has not been able to pay. However she doesnt remember recieving a court hearing notice (although this could have been sent and she not remembered) She cannot afford another £10 a fortnight...she certainly cant afford another £50 1st fee which Jacobs want in order to set her up on a payment plan. The bailiff wants to call at the house within the next 24 hours....she lives in rented accommodation and has very little possessions. What she has got has already been noted for the debt she is currently paying with them. I have no idea about how the bailiff system works. Advice please my lovely caggers!!!
  13. I hope that some people can give me some advise here as I was given 2 working days to pay my council tax but the letter didn't even arrive until after the 2 days were up. Here is the letter I am sending to the magistrates court, I've put this here as it explains what has happened and saves me typing it all out again, if you have any questions for me please ask (note I have put my address and the summons number on the letter but havn't put that here)I'm hoping someone can give me advise on the letter and advise on a defence. Dear Sir/Madam, I have today received a court summons for the 15th August 2012, I am writing to request an adjournment of the case until either the 13th or 14th September 2012. I recently moved to Sussex for work and cannot make the 400 miles round trip in 1 day , nor can I get the day off work at such short notice, however I am supposed to be in Bradford on the 13th/14th September 2012 so could attend then. If you can not accept an adjournment please allow me to submit my defence in writing.In March 2012 I informed Bradford Council that I was moving address and that I would no longer be responsible for the council tax on [Address]. I informed the council of my forwarding address, my telephone number and my email address. Having heard nothing from the council I presumed that my bill was settled. On the 26th July 2012 Bradford Council sent me a reminder bill via second class post that I still owed them £56.07. On the 30th July 2012 (2 working days after I was sent my bill) I was issued with a court summons, as this was sent via first class post it was received on the 1st August – the same date I received my bill. I called Bradford Council on the 2nd August to ask why I was sent a court summons only 2 working days after I was sent a bill – I was informed that they had previously sent bills to my old address in Bradford and an address in Crawley that I have never lived at. They confirmed that all this mail had been sent back to them as “Addressee Gone Away”, thus they knew that I had not received any of these letters. My defence is as follows: 1) The Direct Debit for this account is still active on my bank account, thus Bradford Council could have taken payment any time they wish – they simply neglected to do so. 2) Bradford Council knew that I was not at any of the address that they were sending mail to yet refused to use either my contact email or telephone number (both of which I have confirmed they have on file and are correct) to contact me for an upto date correspondence address. 3) When Bradford Council finally did send me a final bill I was given 2 working days to pay, and as the bill was sent second class post I did not receive this within the 2 working days. As Bradford Councils own rules state that I should be allowed 14 days to pay then they have broken their own rules in this regard. I accept that I must pay the bill of £56.07, but as the court charge is down to the processes of Bradford Council (unable to call/email me for an address and sending letters to addresses they know I do not reside at) I do not feel that it is fair to charge me for the fee, particularly as they only gave me 2 working days to pay up after they finally got my correct address. Yours Sincerlyxxxx xxxx
  14. Our daughter hasn't lived with us for over two years and apparently clocked up around £150 of council tax debt while in Manchester. The first we knew about it was when a bailiffs letter arrived followed by a visit followed by letters threatening court orders and the removal of property within a week. We have complained to Manchester City Council that our daughter hasn't been resident here for a long time but they say a search has shown she still has several live accounts registered to our address. How can we make the council contact the bailiffs to remove our address from this process? The council insist this is sufficient proof of residency. We are also worried the council has linked our address with a bad debt causing a poor credit history to be attached to it though they say this will not happen. Our daughter is in temporary accommodation working in another part of the country and as far as we know hasn't given the the council her current address. We are not in regular contact with her at the moment as she doesn't have a phone at present.
  15. In 1998 I rented a property on a short tenancy of 6 months. I moved out in Jan 1999. I received a letter saying CT was owed and paid it (approx £287) by bank transfer ( I always paid that way). I heard no more until 2007 when they started chasing payment of CT owed I contacted council to find out what was going on as my new property account was up-to date. This is when I found out it was for the old property. Council claim not to receive the bank transfer made in Feb 1999 and proceeded with a liability order and then bailiff to trace me. The CT Bill was for the time I moved in in 1998 till April 1999 (9 months) even though I had moved out in Jan and had paid the full bill till April 1999 by bank transfer. I went to a meeting with council and had my tenancy papers and bank statement showing payment. They agreed to amend the bill to when I moved out. Remove any charges and look into the missing payment. They came back saying its so long ago they cant trace anything or find the payment on their records and I'm liable to pay the arrears as they have a liability order. Nothing more happened until now ... (5 years on) The Council still claim not to have received the payment and are now taking the money they say is owed from my ESA (£5 a week) without any notice or contact with myself. This has meant my ESA that went into my bank was less then I was expecting causing me financial problems. It may only be £10 but that not the point and means my budging is out the window.:mad2: Any suggestions on what to do next? As far as I can see I overpaid by 3 months (Jan to Mar '99) and now having to pay again...
  16. Dear CAG Forum users, I've been following this forum for quite some time but this is my first post. Last week I had the misfortune of a bailiff visit to my property whilst I was away working - to collect Council Tax arrears. He managed to raise the attentions of my landlady, who lives a few doors away, and made a number of verbal threats which clearly distressed her. Luckily, through a series of telephone calls, I managed to sort the matter out remotely and simply paid what I was told I owed in full over the phone as I didn't want the situation to go any further. In the previous week, I had received a letter from the Council stating that I owed £305.50 from last year's Council Tax bill and that this would be collected via Direct Debit. I thought no more about it. I've since made a complaint to the Council in question regarding the way in which they handled this matter. I requested a statement of my account, once settled, from Bristow and Sutor. This arrived today and I've included a copy of it as an attachment here: You'll see that a Bailiff had visited previously, after which I set up an arrangement. I made some errors in my accounting, and thinking the amount owing had been paid in full, I cancelled the payment arrangement I had in place. This was a silly mistake on my part I guess. Bristow and Sutor did not write to me about it and the next I heard was from the Council stating that the amount outstanding would be taken by DD. I thought the matter had been solved. Looking at this breakdown, I've paid in the region of £347.90 in fees in order to sort this out. I am not sure which of these fees are legal and which are not. Can Bailiffs really charge all these? For example, the debit card processing fee of 4% - this appears to me to be paying for the priviledge of paying with money! Certain sites on the internet indicate that these fees are fraudulent for various reasons and may consitute theft. Is this true? Aside from my complaint to the Council, which I doubt will result in a satisfactory conclusion from my point of view, does the forum know of any other way to get any of this money back? I look forward to any responses and advice I might get. All the best.
  17. Hello everybody, I am soooo stressed. I have a council tax debt from a couple years ago which was issued to me while i was away at uni doing my masters. The council tax was in my name at my family home for around a year while my parents were away travelling. The debt is around £500. I am now back at home and upon opening my pile of post i was devastated to see Equita were after me. I called them to find out more about the debt.... A few days later a bailiff turned up at my door, i opened the door and spoke with him, he said he needed full payment within 48 hours or he would take the cars on the drive, i said they do not belong to me which they do not. 4 days later a form was posted through my letterbox with the reg numbers of the cars on it, they had been levyed - which did not bother me as they are not my cars. On top of this the £500 debt had now became £826 with no indication of why, or how. The total amount was now £826. I text the bailiff and said i was not in a position to pay the debt and that i will be contacting equita and the council regarding the fees charged. The bailiff never bothered me again.... In the meantime i sent a serious of letters to equita outlining an 18 month payment plan with payments i could afford to make. I even made the first payment online as a gesture of goodwill. They wrote back and said that they could not accept my offer and left a bailiffs number to contact - a new bailiff had been assigned to me. A few days later he shows up at my door demanding payment in full - i explain the situation, i cannot afford it and i dont own anything of value - its my mothers house. He starts going off on one and i explain i need a payment plan - he told me i have a month.... I said i cannot get the funds that quickly and i am not happy to pay these fees which supposedly "have been agreed with the council before hand" :-/ In the end he stormed off and shouted "THERES GOING TO BE A WARRANT FOR YOUR ARREST THEN FOR NON PAY....." I shut the door and assumed he was just giving the large one.... Now..... What should i do, am i going to get arrested? I am lost and worried...... Any advice/help would be much appreciated. Many thanks in advance.
  18. Redcar & Cleveland BC are using Baliffs to retrieve tax owed for period 2001/2. I had left the matrimonial home throug seperation, subsequent divirce. On leaving and moving to neighbouring Borough, I immediately paid Councuil tax. Constacted Redcar BC, faxed proof of paying to new Borough. Now been told I`m still liable for tax on the property even yhogh ot there. Ex wife was residing there fo an unknown period. I now have Phoenix posting letters with highlted mobile no. to arrange PCM payments! any help much recieved!
  19. I'm currently in my second year of study at the university of winchester and unfortunately due to failing a double module. I am having to resit my double module on a part time basis. I have recently (well in the past month of two) found out that students who repeat a module and who plan to return to full time study are exempt from council tax. now when I went to the council tax office regarding the issue they state that a part time student is someone who does under 12 hours of study and that's there legistation on the matter. So I have also gone to my finance department at the university of winchester and it looks like there saying the same thing on the matter. Even though I have shown the both this letter and no one seems prepared to do anything about it which is really unfair when I have proof that I shouldn't be getting charged. Any help would be greatfully recieved. Many Thanks Steve Dear Steve Earl I refer to your email and the student certificate provided. In light of the information provided you do qualify to be disregarded as a full time student for council tax purposes. I have awarded a student exemption and a revised bill for zero will follow shortly. I am sorry for the inconvenience you have been caused, If you have nay further queries then please contact me. Yours sincerely Mrs Lesley Thompson Taxation Officer Winchester City Council Colebrook Street Winchester SO23 9LJ T 01962 848 288 F 01962 841 365 From: counciltax Sent: 19 December 2011 12:30 To: David McConville Subject: FW: Council Tax From: Steven Earl [mailto:revomutharock@gmail.com] Sent: 16 December 2011 18:50 To: counciltax Subject: Council Tax Dear Winchester City Council I'm writing to you regarding the issue of council tax that has affected me. I am a full time student registered on a full time course and I have failed one of my modules. It is because of this that I am being classed as a part time student which doesn't seem to be correct. Firstly repeating modules shouldn't class me as a part time student because I am still enrolled on a full time course. Secondly I bring your attention to this document that I have found online which continues to back up the fact that I am indeed a full time student. A student undertaking a period of part-time repeat study within a full-time course should be regarded as a student for council tax purposes by virtue of the definition of “student” as provided by article 4, paragraph 3 and 4 of Schedule 1 to the Council Tax (Discount Disregards) Order 1992, as amended by the Council Tax (Discount Disregards) Order 1996. Article 4 provides that “student” means a person who is to be regarded as (among other things) a person undertaking a full-time course of education, as according to paragraph 3 and 4 of Schedule 1 to the Order. Paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 to the Council Tax (Discount Disregards) Order 1992 defines full-time study thus: A full time course of education is… one (a) which subsists of at least one academic year of the educational establishments concerned or, in the case of an educational establishment which does not have academic years, for at least one calendar year, (b) which persons undertaking it are normally required by the educational establishment concerned to attend (whether at premises of the establishment or otherwise) for periods of at least 24 weeks in each academic year or calendar year… during which it subsists, and © the nature of which is such that a person undertaking it would normally require to undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience which together amount in each such academic year to an average of 21 hours a week during the periods of attendance mentioned in… (b)… in the year. The argument that the period and length of attendance required (24 weeks and 21 hours) mean that part-time repeaters do not fall into the definition of student is a simplistic reading of the above: the key word in paragraph 4 is ‘normally’. Paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 to the above Order (as amended by the subsequent Order of 1996) states that a person is to be regarded as undertaking a full-time course of education on a particular day if: (a) on that day he is enrolled for the purpose of attending such a course with [a university] and (b) the day falls within the period beginning with the day on which he begins the course and ending with the day on which he ceases to undertake it, and a person is to be regarded as ceasing to undertake a course of education for the purpose of this paragraph if he has completed it, abandoned it or is no longer permitted by the educational establishment to attend it. As a part-time repeater you have not completed your course, and nor have you abandoned it or in any way been prevented by the uni from attending, it follows that you are still undertaking a full time course of education. Indeed, the explanatory note to paragraph 3(b) of Schedule 1 (as given in the amended form above) states that “the amendment… enables students to qualify even during a period where they are not attending the course”. Finally, in 1996 the Department of the Environment stated in a Council Tax information letter than in their view, “a period of intercalation will remain within the period of a course... and therefore, provided that the person remains enrolled at the educational establishment, they will continue to fall within the definition of a full-time student." Not only this but it doesn't seem right that Council Tax Benefit sees me as a full time student which doesn't make a lot of sense to me why council tax doesn't see me as a full time student. Being charged council tax and not being able to get any benefit to help pay it hardly seems fair. As well as this I have also been regarded as a full time student by student finance, the job centre which again makes me wonder why the council sees me as a part time student because I'm repeating modules where as these other organisations see me as a full-time student. (P.S I have today handed in a form indicating my full time status and am hoping this resolves the issue) Many Thanks Steve Click here to report this email as spam. This email and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the addressed individual. The information in this email may be confidential; if you have received it in error, please accept our apologies and notify the sender as soon as possible, and delete it from your system without distributing or copying any information contained within it. Under UK Data Protection and Freedom of Information legislation, the contents of this email might have to be disclosed in response to a request. We check emails and attachments for viruses before they are sent, but you are advised to carry out your own virus checks. Winchester City Council cannot accept any responsibility for loss or damage caused by viruses. 15:39 (7 hours ago) to 'revomutharock Dear Steve Earl Re: Full Time Student Status I refer to my email below and apologise for the information previously supplied. My decision has been overturned by my manager for the following reasons: The paragraphs of the legislation referred to are two part - one that they have to be enrolled on a full time course of education and there is no dispute with that and the other is the interpretation of the word “normally”. It is considered that the part time hours you are doing would not full into this category and this is borne out by a VT decision on 13.10.11, which needed to consider hours of study, and says “in relation to undertaking periods of study averaging 21 hours per week, the Panel finds the appellant does not fulfil the statutory requirement and therefore does not fall to be disregarded as a student for the purposes of the discount. The Panel notes that before and after the regulations were amended it remains the case that a person is “normally required” to undertake periods of study etc, that amount to an average of 21 hours per week. In the Panel’s mind, this conveys some sort of mandatory requirement usually applied by the educational establishment in respect of study time.” There is also a High Court case, which dealt with an appeal about the attendance aspect of a course, but in the final summing up says “It is not surprising that Parliament wished to provide that people attending a course should be required to carry out a minimum of weekly study or work. Otherwise, it might be possible for a person to attend a course for many years and thus claim exemption from council tax, while exhibiting very little commitment to the course.” As you are only retaking one module you do not meet the required hours of study. You have the right to appeal this decision and this should be by writing or emailing to the Local Taxes Section,counciltax@winchester.gov.uk, giving your reasons for appeal in the light of this response. Please ensure you clearly head your letter or email to indicate that it is an appeal. If you appeal the Council has 2 months to respond. To anyone interested in my case I received a reply from Winchester City Council in which I cited a valuation tribunal case similar to that of my own. Please quote reference number 56286290/56357216 when contacting this Department. 5 April 2011 Dear Mr Earl Appeal Against Refusal of Council Tax Student Exemption I refer to your letters regarding the above. This matter has been given extensive consideration by the Council Tax Team, including senior managers and consultation has taken place with other authorities. You are applying for this exemption based on the legislation stating that you must be enrolled on a full time course of education and the course normally consists of attendance/study/tuition of a minimum 21 hours per week, 24 weeks of an academic or calendar year. The Council does not dispute that you are enrolled on a full time course. However, from your correspondence you would appear to interpret the other criteria as providing the course normally consists of these hours/weeks, it doesn’t matter how few you actually do. The Council does not take this view, it believes you should have to do this minimum number of hours and weeks to qualify as full time. You have also referred to yourself as an intercalating student, but this is not the case as you do attend university, intercalating students do not. There are, as you have become aware, various Valuation Tribunal decisions in different locations and one Tribunal’s decision is not binding on another. Only a High Court case would fix the decision for all Local Authorities and I am afraid there has never been a relevant case taken to the High Court. The Council therefore abides by it’s original decision that it does not consider you to be a full time student this academic year. Now that your account at May Tree Close has been closed your liability to the Council is as follows: Account 5628629 22 Sparkford Close £657.82 Account 56357216 7 May Tree Close £36.90 I am aware that the anomaly in legislation between Benefits and Council Tax puts you in a difficult position and it may be you have decided to return home because of this. I am happy to hold recovery action on your debts to the Council to give you extended time to pay, as I do not wish to burden you with additional costs, but I do want to put in place a payment plan so that you are making regular payments. You may, however, decide to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal and if the Valuation Tribunal upholds your appeal the Council will, of course, cancel the charges. Your appeal must be in writing and made within 2 months of this letter. I know you have been given this information before, but I am giving the Tribunal details below for your use: Valuation Tribunal 2nd Floor, Black Lion House, 45 Whitechapel Road LONDON E1 1DU Telephone: 0207247 3898 Email: Once you have considered your options please let me know what you intend to do so that I can deal with your account accordingly. Yours sincerely Mrs J Gosling Taxation Team Leader
  20. Hi everyone, I am finding myself in a sticky situation, I have been renting a 1 bed house since January this year, privately and not thru an agency. Me and my girlfriend did not sign a paper tenancy agreement, knowing the landlord and having rented from him in the past. We have been told that the rent was all inclusive and not told "bar council tax". We received a letter from council asking us as we are the occupier to pay for the 3 unpaid months of CT. The verbal agreement was all inclusive, and the landlord did not tell us at anytime that we had to pay CT. Who is then liable to pay the council ? as we thought part of our rent was being used to do so. We then learned the SAME DAY, that the property was being repossessed in june... Now in the situation where council is asking for around 400 pounds and need to pay rent this month.. plus find a deposit and month rent for a new property ( about £1700 in seaside Exmouth where we live ). What are my options regarding the payments to the council ? regards.
  21. Hi there, On Friday, I received a letter from a company called Constant & Co, on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council in regards to unpaid Council Tax for the year 2010/2011.. Total £361.58.. At the time I was receiving Housing and Council Tax Benefit.. I have been paying the council online, £5 one week, then £10 the next.. and Rotate that way.. The letter says: TAKE NOTICE: We have attended today to seize your goods for sale at auction and unless we hear from you by return we will re-attend without notice and at your expense. Further charges may be reduced by responding to this letter promptly. Details of your financial circumstances will be required if immediate full payment is not made. Any payment you make to the Council may not be deducted from this debt. ALL payments should be made directly to Constant & Co. --------------------------------------------------- Nice huh? I'm 24, I've never had to deal with bailiffs in my life.. I haven't had letters saying they were going to come round.. Just that one.. I rang the council. They said it's in the hands of the bailiffs speak to them.. Spoke to the bailiff.. He wants £100 a month, to come round my flat and write down possessions against the debt, and add another £200 on top of the debt.. I don't own anything.. The goods in my flat are either my landlords or my fiance's .. I told them I didn't own anything then asked if I had a car to put against it! I need help, I'm worrying so much they're just going to barge in and take either my landlords stuff or my fiance's... I can't afford £100 a month, I work part time and I'm not entitled to benefits.. Some help or advise would be much appriciated! Thanks, Hayley
  22. A bailiff (Jacob's) came earlier while I was out and left a letter stating they intend to seize goods tomorrow re: a Liability Order issued by the Magistrates Court due to Council Tax arrears. What can I do to stop them accessing my home? I am in receipt of £50 a week Working Tax Credits and have no other income at present (registered S/E). If I had money to pay my arrears, I would, but I don't. I'm not even going to get started on the fact a single person should have a greater reduction than at present, or that Council Tax even exists... Thanks in advance.
  23. Hello I have recently changed my house into 2 flats and obtained a certificate for lawful use. The council have now sen me bills for both properties dating back to 2007 - it adds up to almost £6000. I've always paid my bills, which they have graciously (!) taken into account, but I am unsure of whether they are allowed to ask me for backdated payment. I was only afforded the certificate of lawful use in September 2011 - surely that is the date from which I would owe council tax on both flat?!?! Can anyone shed any light? Thanks in advance.
  24. long story edited highlights ... My mother claimed income support and council tax benefit in March 2010. The IS was turned down so appealed and reclaimed IS which was successful on second claim. The CTB was paid from when IS was successful. The IS appeal was successful and payments back dated to March. Council will not backdate council tax even though IS was received for that period. They have now issued summons for CT to obtain a liability order with the view to make deductions from earning / benefit or instruct bailiffs. Council has been phoned and the benefit claim handler wont take call or phone back to discus the case, council tax people say council tax is due until benefit has been calculated. The council were notified of the successful appeal 10 months a go and have stated they have evidence IS was not awarded for that period even though they have been sent entitlement letter and details of the appeal. Basically if they back dated the CTB to 1st April 2010 then there would be no CT due as per IS appeal Recovery team have said they are entitled to recover the money and its pointless turning up at the court as you wont get to explain this to the magistrate. were do we go from here ...
  25. Hello My parents have never had a council tax bill for their property. They live and work at the same address and pay business rates. According to the council tax valuation records their house does not exist. Now they are retiring and so want to end the business rates, but are scared this could trigger a huge backdated council tax bill. My question is, what is their liability when a council tax bill has never been issued? Many thanks for any replies... this site is a wonderful find! Emma
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