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I owe £1800 in council tax arrears but I'm up to date with my current years council tax.

While on benefits, bristow & sutor would take £21 from my benefit towards this. Now I am working in a permanent job, I am still only able to afford £30 per month towards the arrears but bristow and sutor consider this too low and they have now written to my employer to put an attachment of earnings in place which I cannot afford.

 

Initially, I was trying to make payments to the Council as overpayments on my council tax but my council refused to put these over payments towards my council tax arrears and instead they just went towards my current year's bill. After that I spoke to Bristow & Sutor and told them what I could afford to pay which they said was unacceptab;e (I have paid them anyway) but now I have received an attachement of earnings order which I cannot afford. I've been to the CAB and received a signed copy of my income/expenditure and I've sent it to both the council and bailiffs a number of times but they claim to not have received it or to not care. I've begged the council to take back this debt but they say the can't and I've also called bristow and sutor who refuse to discuss this any further.

 

Is there any way I can get this into a court room? I dispute the fact that I owe all of it but I do owe about £1400. I am willing to pay it but can only currently afford £40 per month. I need help - please help me - my outgoings are the bare minimum. I have Gas/Electricity meters, I have a pay a you go mobile that I never use to make calls. I've pared back my expenses as much as possible and now don't know what to do. No leeway on my mortgage owing to a suspended possession order so please please help

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You need to speak to someone at the Council and ask the following questions:

1 - how many Liability Orders they have against you

2 - the dates they were obtained

3 - the addresses they were for

4 - the period of time each covers

5 - how much each one was for

6 - how much is still outstanding

7 - the dates they were passed on for enforcement

8 - the dates & amounts of any payments


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You also need an up to date breakdown of fees from the Bailiffs. Here's an example, send initially by email followed by a copy in the post. enquiries@bristowsutor.co.uk

 

"From:

My Name

My Address

 

To:

Acme Bailiff Co

Bailiff House

 

Ref: Account No: 123456

 

Dear Sir

 

With reference to the above account, Can you please provide me with a breakdown of the charges.

 

This includes:

a - the time & date of any Bailiff action that incurred a Fee.

b - the reason for the fee.

c - the name(s) of the Bailiff(s) that attended on each occasion a Fee was charged.

d - the name(s) of the Court(s) the Bailiff(s) was/were Certificated at.

e - the date of the Certification.

 

This is not a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act S7 1998 so does not incur a fee of £10. You are obliged to provide this information.

 

I require this information within 14 days.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Ripped off customer"


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2 liability orders

 

One from June 2011 and the other from October 2011

both For my home address

One for 3months council tax from April-June 2010 £444

One for 2011-12 £1400

Unsure when they were passed out for enforcement but I've been paying for both at the same time

I made payments in Jan & Feb this year whilst on benefits (payments to bailiffs)

I then started making overpayments to the council who refused to apply this money to my arrears

Last month I made a payment to the bailiffs intending to continue but they still went ahead with the attachment of earnings order

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What - if any - paperwork have they left you? Did they make a levy on any goods, & if so what?


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No - they haven't because I've not been home when they have come round and I wouldn't have let them in anyway. I've only had the usual letters stating that they were here and I needed to call them. I hoped the file would go back to the council but apparently not

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My interpretation is that they cannot arrange an Attachment of Earnings as they are not the lawful authority but the Council are. As for payments you make, that is in your own hands as you can only pay what you can afford & if that is only £5 per month then so be it.

 

You say you have tried to pay the Council andthey have refused, was this a cash payment across the counter? You should compare your Council Tax bills to see if they are exactly the same as in many cases there are differences, for example my CT bill consists of 3 elements because they need to distinguish which year you are paying for, so we have:

1 - Property Ref - never changes

2 - Account No - never changes

3 Reference No - changes on a year to year basis


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Have you ever let Bristow & Sutor into your home?

 

Have you ever signed a Walking Possession agreement?

 

Has a levy been made on a car?

 

It is VITAL that you find out what charges have been applied to your account as it may be possible that B & S have been charging "multiple fees" ( not permitted). The council should be able to obtain info regarding the fees.

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I've checked on the charges and although they tried to add extra amounts, I made sure they were removed. Only 2 visits per order have been included.

 

No levy on any property has been made

 

They have not been into my home.

 

Also, the total amount consists of some from 2010/2011 and the rest from 2011/2012.

 

I understood that only the council could order the attachment of earnings but it appears to be the bailiffs that have done this and they are the ones that will receive the payments.

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Can anyone suggest a course of action. The council and bailiffs are refusing tobudge and are telling me that the ctax arrears are considered more important than paying my mortgage in line with a suspended possession order. I'm scared and I don't know where to go next

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Read PT's post #8 again it could well be the Council have not credited the 'extra' payments to the arrears because you have been paying by use of the wrong reference number.

 

You will need to contact the Council and ask for the reference numbers to the year(s) that are in arrears, then start to make regular weekly payments to those references, eg: £5 pw to each account every Monday. This will soon show the intention to pay and build up a history of regular payments, write to the Council and tell them you will continue to make payments direct to them and will not be dealing with the bailiffs as they have shown nothing by way of their behavior that allows you to trust them to oversee the collection of the outstanding CT.

 

Tomtubby and PT have already advised you to get a complete breakdown of the fees charged and I will again reiterate that advice to be very important, for you could well find charges that are not permitted have been added.

 

 

 

WD

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I've checked over the charges and they are all correct. The council have written to me and stated in no uncertain terms that they would not intervene and any payments made to them would go towards my current and next years council tax. They don't have an automated payment system so I make transfers and use my address as the reference as advised.

 

The attachment of earnings order is now in place for December. Work apologised for replying to the letter from the bailiffs because they found out the situation and realised that they were not under obligation but now I'm stuck. I've told B&S about the suspended possession order on my home and they say that their debt is tier 1 and the attachment will therefore remain in place. Can I go to court?

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I've checked over the charges and they are all correct. The council have written to me and stated in no uncertain terms that they would not intervene and any payments made to them would go towards my current and next years council tax. They don't have an automated payment system so I make transfers and use my address as the reference as advised.

 

The Council are out of order here. Whatever payment you make and stipulate what it is for must be complied with. You now have enough iformation to make a Formal Complaint to the CEO of the Council. I wonder if you are actually speaking to a Council employee or that of a private company who have taken over the Council's admin functions. You should also ask your local Councillor(s) to intervene.


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Any advice on the best way to word a letter to the council CEO?

 

I can formulate the letter but can I quote anything that might make things move along in my favour?

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I would outline your circumstances & state what you been told about allocations of how monies you are paying/paid are being treated. The foolowing is from a thread made by Outlawla:

 

"An investigation into Milton Keyne's Council Tax, it may have some relevance.

 

QUOTE:

 

3.3.1 The collection and reporting of Council Tax income is straightforward when a tax payer pays their annual charge within that year. Complexities arise when a Council Tax Payer falls into arrears and owes the council money for past years as well as the current year. There is significant case law (for example, Peter v Anderson (1814)) however, put simply, if a person specifies which years debt the payment should be assigned it should be assigned to that years debt.

 

3.3.2 The council tax system has built in allocation rules to ensure that the law with respect to specified payments is met. For instance, if a customer has a payment plan for any year of debt and the payment they make matches the planned instalment then the money will be allocated to that year (this is known as “hard” allocation on the council tax system). If the system is unable to “hard allocate” then it will instead “soft” allocate and the debt will be used against the oldest debt unless manually adjusted."

 

Your own Council may use a similar sysytem you will have to ask. If they tell you everyone that pays direct is allocated to present/future payments then they are being obstuctive.


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Sorry everyone but in fact a bailiff company ARE allowed to arrange an Attachment of Earnings.

 

This is always the problem with providing details of employment. An Attachment of Earnings order cannot be made against a person who is self employed....the debtor need to be employed.

 

The relevant legislation can be found under paragraph 23 of The Local Authorities(Contracting Out of Tax Billing, Collection and Enforcement Functions) Order 1996.

 

 

The link is here:

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1996/1880/made

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I've discovered this to my detriment. I went to my local MP who came back to say that once the arrears is passed to the bailiffs, the council 'wash their hands of it'.

 

The problem now is that I can't pay my current year's council tax as well as the arrears. In addition, I underpaid towards my mortgage last month because of this and because I'm under a suspended possession order, I now have the threat of repossession hanging over me unless I pay up the agreed amounts. I've got nowhere left to go. All I need is some leeway until the end of January and no one is willing to budge -I really don't know what to do

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Have you written to them to ask how they calculated the amount for the attachment of earnings? I suspect they have ignored your I & E and plucked a figure out of the air, you might find this thread useful as it gives a table to the way deduction should be calculated http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?321686-Can-we-appeal-against-Attachment-Earnings

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They seem to have calculated the amounts correctly but after my councillor was no help I now have nowhere to turn - I know that the council can take the debt back - I also know that they can intervene and tell the bailiffs to collect over an extended period but the keep refusing. The fact is, now they have access to my salary I can't do a thing

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Attachment of earnings for CT is done on a percentage of your wage it will vary depending on what ur wage is,

If wage is over 300wk then 17% gets deducted, i know this as my husband currently has AoE for CT, if u are struggling to pay you can write to the courts (address should be on bottom of letter with something like caps at po box) explain your situation and see if you can arrange a lower AoE.

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Bristow & Sutor are subject to an OFT Category F Debt Collection Licence. This means they must not put you in a situation, financially, that would put you further into debt or force you into a financial repayment plan that is not affordable. I'm sorely tempted to advise you to make a formal complaint against B & S to OFT Credit Fitness Team. They can revoke B & S's licence which could have a significant effect on B & S's ability to collect debt.

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I've discovered this to my detriment. I went to my local MP who came back to say that once the arrears is passed to the bailiffs, the council 'wash their hands of it'.....

 

Another waste of taxpayer's money. £60K a year + expenses for some useless MP to parrot the words of the fascist council officers.

 

I bet the MP puts this down to another happy customer and ticks it off accordingly.

Edited by outlawla

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I've discovered this to my detriment. I went to my local MP who came back to say that once the arrears is passed to the bailiffs, the council 'wash their hands of it'.

 

The problem now is that I can't pay my current year's council tax as well as the arrears. In addition, I underpaid towards my mortgage last month because of this and because I'm under a suspended possession order, I now have the threat of repossession hanging over me unless I pay up the agreed amounts. I've got nowhere left to go. All I need is some leeway until the end of January and no one is willing to budge -I really don't know what to do

 

What an arrogant muppet of an MP, the council CANNOT " wash their hands" of the debt once passed to the bailiff, they control the debt at all times and can recall it. I feel Op should do as oldbill suggests regarding OFT credit fitness complaint, and send a letter telling the muppet MP that the council still own the debt, and to look in at the CAG forums.

 

Who is this MP?


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here is a copy of the table that the bailiffs need to use for an AOE:

 

Table A - Deductions from Weekly Earnings

(1) Net Earnings

(2) Deduction rate (percentage)

Not exceeding £75

0

Exceeding £75 but not exceeding £135

3

Exceeding £135 but not exceeding £185

5

Exceeding £185 but not exceeding £225

7

Exceeding £225 but not exceeding £355

12

Exceeding £355 but not exceeding £505

17

Exceeding £505

17 in respect of the first £505 and 50 in respect of the remainder

 

Table B - Deductions from Monthly Earnings

(1) Net Earnings

(2) Deduction rate (percentage)

Not exceeding £300

0

Exceeding £300 but not exceeding £550

3

Exceeding £550 but not exceeding £740

5

Exceeding £740 but not exceeding £900

7

Exceeding £900 but not exceeding £1,420

12

Exceeding £1,420 but not exceeding £2,020

17

Exceeding £2,020

17 in respect of the first £2,020 and 50 in respect of the remainder

 

Table C - Deductions based on Daily Earnings

(1) Net Earnings

(2) Deduction rate (percentage)

Not exceeding £11

0

Exceeding £11 but not exceeding £20

3

Exceeding £20 but not exceeding £27

5

Exceeding £27 but not exceeding £33

7

Exceeding £33 but not exceeding £52

12

Exceeding £52 but not exceeding £72

17

Exceeding £72

17 in respect of the first £72 and 50 in respect of the remainder


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