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Hundreds facing court action in crackdown on council tax dodgers

By This is Lincolnshire  |  Posted: February 09, 2011

Comments (3)

COUNCILS are waging war on people who fail to pay their council tax.

Hundreds of residents are facing court action every month as authorities clampdown on tax dodgers.

Yesterday, 130 cases of alleged non-payment were brought before Lincoln Magistrates' Court by North Kesteven District Council.

And new figures from the City of Lincoln Council show 421 liability orders were made against residents last month.

A liability order is granted by magistrates and gives a local authority powers to enforce payment of a council tax debt.

Councils are increasingly seeking to have liability orders made against debtors because it allows them to explore a range of options to recover the cash.

Paul Taylor, revenues manager at the City of Lincoln Council, said: "Liability orders give us various options to recover the debt, including recovering council tax from earnings or benefit payments, right through to using bailiffs, bankruptcy and even committal to prison.

"If someone misses a payment on their council tax, they will first get a reminder. If payment is still not made, we apply to the magistrates' court and ask that they issue a summons to the taxpayer to attend court and show why payment hasn't been made.

Mr Taylor said: "While we will always take action to recover unpaid council tax, I would ask anyone who is having difficulty with payments to get in touch with us as soon as possible to ask for help, before we need to take action in court.

"We can offer benefit advice and payment options, which can help people who find they are struggling with their payments."

Since 2007, North Kesteven District Council has been named the best- performing authority in the country for council tax collection. The authority collected 99.3 per cent of its dues last year.

Revenues manager Mike Carr, said: "Yesterday's hearing is in respect to 130 cases of unpaid council tax, amounting to about £70,000, and five cases are being heard for unpaid business rates of about £64,000.

"It is important that we keep on top of missed payments in fairness to the majority of the residents who do pay without fail.

"The council believes it has had a very good recovery process in place and takes a firm but fair action against people who default on payments.

"The council also has support measures in place to help people who default on payments and good partnerships with enforcement agents."

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  • notanother  |  May 19 2013, 9:46PM

    The scales of justice are seriously in need of re-calibration http://tinyurl.com/cz9397t

  • minpigad  |  May 18 2013, 3:52PM
  • minpigad  |  May 18 2013, 3:51PM
  • InsideStory  |  September 24 2012, 6:14PM

    I think it would be smarter to restrict county councils spending tax money on stupid idea's like paying to convert buses to run on bio methane then finding out they wont run on it and still advertise they do when they don't.

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  • la_paloma  |  September 23 2012, 4:22PM

    tapas y cañas, Looks like your record holder (NELC) for the smallest ever liability orders of 1 penny, is getting some sort of a grilling here.... http://tinyurl.com/cs8lnds "I'm writing in connection with the reminder received from the council's Income and Payments Service dated 12 September 2012. This raises many concerns about which I'd like to query, and will be doing so in future correspondence. To begin with however, it is obvious this letter has not been dealt with by a member of staff as the letter is introduced by "Dear Sir or Madam", despite the taxpayer's name being printed on the same document. This in itself is no revelation but highlights that the process is automated. It is therefore inconceivable that the £70 quoted for issuing a summons would be reasonably incurred by the council in accordance with Regulation 34 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992...

  • mrpdoff  |  September 23 2012, 3:51PM

    Some valid points VR JONES,but you missed out living on the water too.

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  • tapas_y_canas  |  September 22 2012, 10:52PM

    The scandal surrounding profiteering of local authorities through council tax liability orders obtained from the Magistrates' court, could benefit from a lot more attention focusing on the unnecessary number of residents who are forced into paying additional charges on top of their council tax (and often bailiff fees). This is happening because of the negligence of both council's recovery departments and Magistrates' courts in checking details of accounts receiving court action. Councils have a minimum amount of outstanding debt below which recovery departments are not permitted to progress for court action. Hundreds of thousands of accounts below this minimum are in fact presented to the court, the courts obviously don't check individual details and applications are just rubber stamped (sometimes thousands for just one application) giving the councils the "OK" to post out summonses with a gain of up to £125 a go. There is evidence of this happening. Several councils have revealed numbers of these liability orders which have been obtained over a set period of time, many are for less than £5 with the record going to NELC for liability orders being obtained for outstanding debt of only 1 penny.

  • la_paloma  |  September 22 2012, 10:41PM

    by najskapati, "Let them put you on the list of thousands against whom Councils regularly obtain orders from the Court." Nice little earner.... The number of summonses issued for these hearings run into hundreds sometimes thousands, I'd say it was more than reasonable to suspect very serious instances of maladministration. This interesting case law would suggest so anyway: Regina v. Brentford Justices, Ex parte Catlin [1975] "....It must however be remembered that before a summons or warrant is issued the information must be laid before a magistrate and he must go through the judicial exercise of deciding whether a summons or warrant ought to be issued or not. If a magistrate authorises the issue of a summons without having applied his mind to the information then he is guilty of dereliction of duty and if in any particular justices' clerk's office a practice goes on of summonses being issued without information being laid before the magistrate at all, then a very serious instance of maladministration arises which should have the attention of the authorities without delay...." "A decision by magistrates whether to issue a summons pursuant to information laid involves the exercise of a judicial function, and is not merely administrative.

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  • najskapati  |  May 14 2012, 2:05PM

    The job of Lincoln (and probably every) Council Tax Benefit Department is to drive away as many people as possible who might be eligible to pay less Council Tax. At Lincoln every claim was "lost" an average 3.5 times. Here are 30 different versions of the claimant's obligations to report changes of circumstances, which they can use as evidence of your "fraudulence". All contradictory of the others, only version 2 is a safe bet, if you don't mind reporting absolutely every financial transaction. I ended up ringing Lincoln with messages like "Bought sausage roll, there has been a 40p change in my capital." When they are wrong but they just wear you out, don't pay for the sake of a quiet life. That's the whole idea. Let them put you on the list of thousands against whom Councils regularly obtain orders from the Court. Then freak them out by appearing at the Court on the hearing date. Council drones will try to stop you going in if you actually arrive. They will suddenly seem very reasonable, until the danger is over. Resist this trick. Question the witness for the Council about the rules (below) if applicable, or any other inconsistent or incompetent behaviour. Orders against thousands of households are usually nodded through by Courts without question. Magistrates are unlikely to have personal experience of the Council Tax Rebate scam. Council Tax Benefits cannot be mentioned at Council Tax hearings in case you win. Tell the Court whatever you want to say. The Council is not allowed to lose. Ignore the decision. Don't open the door to bailiffs. They can't force their way in and they don't really want your stuff anyway, just money. Most Council Tax demands are too high to be covered by the second-hand value of people's possessions. Version 1 Amounts which don't affect benefit don't have to be reported. Version 2 Any change of circumstances must be reported whether it affects benefit or not Version 3 Stop reporting absolutely every change of circumstances or we will call security Versions 4, 5, 6 and 7 You must report any amount / Only amounts over £5 / over £10 / over £100 matter and must be reported Versions 8-19 Report increases in capital and/or income but not expenses and/or decreases in capital / Selling your camera is/isn't income but buying it and/or using it is/isn't an expense Versions 20-24 You must produce full accounts of income and expenses on demand / weekly / monthly / quarterly / annually Version 25 As long as you are on "passport benefits" the LA doesn't care about changes which don't affect benefits Versions 26, 27 and 28 (Passport Benefits only) Even if you report changes to the ES or BA you have to report them to the LA as well / for CTB or HB purposes / only report them for CTB / only report them for HB Version 29 (De-unemployed only) Any of the above versions 1-28 may apply but we don't really know Version 30 Your demand that we say precisely what we want (see v29 above) is upsetting to us. And so to make everything fit you must be a fraud for not doing whichever of versions 1-29 we now decide applies You may only have a short amount of time to save this information. Here's a poem too: http://tinyurl.com/bwsymcc

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    (0)(0), Lincoln  |  February 13 2011, 4:27PM

    VRJones, Lincs Nasty nasty person.I hope one day you might regret your comments

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