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I have a query relating to the enforcement of council tax liability

 

A friend of mine is being pursued by the local authority who have a liability order

 

the friend is retired and not claiming any council tax benefit,

and does not want to claim the benefit they get by tolerably on their pension,

they hate the benefit system and its bureaucracy and intrusive quest for one's personal information

 

The local authority had sent a form requesting details of income and outgoings and have tried to encourage the making of a claim to council tax benefit

which my friend does not want to do.

the home is not owned but rented from a social landlord and there are no assets to speak of

the bailiff has been unable to gain entry and the local authority has resorted to writing a letter and sending the means inquiry form.

The friend is pointed out the local authority that even if the case goes back to court

the maximum deduction from old age pension is less than the weekly amount already offered to clear the debt

 

It very much looks at the moment as though the local authority are really pushing my friends to making a Housing benefit claim.

They say they will not accept the amount specified for a deduction from old age pension because it is not enough money and they have a duty to collect the tax.

 

So the question really is this.

Although a person can be taken back to court and an assessment made of whether they have wilfully refused to pay,

to which in theory they could be sent to prison,

can the decision not to claim council tax benefit be stretched by interpretation to amount to a wilful refusal to pay?

 

I can appreciate that the court might be displeased that a person will not claim the benefit

but I would have thought the assessment of wilful refusal has to be based on the means that person has rather than the means they could potentially have

 

It would look to me that if a person's decision not to claim council tax benefit is outside of the ambit of an assessment of wilful refusal,

then there is much the local authority can do apart from carry on sending bailiffs

 

I would imagine that it's so rarely the case that a person would not claim housing benefit that those making the legislation did not factor in this possibility

 

Any advice about this would be greatly welcomed

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Claiming benefits information is being sent to help your friend not penalise him. To be stubbborn and let that stubborness get him ito trouble is silly and unless he has something to hide I can't see any reason why he doesn't claim his entitlement.

 

If the forms being sent are to assess for an attachement of earnings, it is a legal requirement to fill them in and return them.

 

A return to court would be because of willfull refusal to pay and they can ask for a commital to prison for that.

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Thank you for replying. It's no good saying the person is being stubborn. The fact is

there are elderly people who will not make claims

my question is whether or not an individual's decision not to claim a state benefit

can be used to say that they are wilfully refusing to pay

my question concerns whether wilful refusal relates to actual means

or potential means

my question concerns whether or not the person can be sent to prison

by the courts because they will not claim council tax benefit

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No, it wall have nothing to do with claiming benefits at all and the question probably wouldn't even be asked. All they could say, if it did come up, is much the same as I did, he is stubborn and should claim it if he is entitled.

You can't be forced to take benefits if you don't want them.

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