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    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 12th Sep 17, 4:00 PM
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    Irish_lad80
    Historic Council Tax Issue
    • #1
    • 12th Sep 17, 4:00 PM
    Historic Council Tax Issue 12th Sep 17 at 4:00 PM
    Hi, friend has just got back from holidays and received some letters in the post in relation to non payment of council tax in the years 2006/7. The first set of letters were addressed to the 4 tenants in the house (but sent to my friends new address) and stated that there was nearly £1,000 of tax owed from the two periods (2006/2007). My friend hasn't been in contact with the 3 other tenants since she moved out in 2007 but has been living and been paying council tax in SE London since that time. Another set of letters were sent 10 days later stating that she had 14 days to pay up the full amount or provide her work details so it could be taken from her salary or else she would be charged more money and bailiffs would be called . This time the letters were only addressed to her. My friend is adamant that she paid her share in full at the time and to be fair she is a stickler for these things so I believe her but being 10/11 years ago she has no evidence of the payments (who keeps receipts that long). Given she no longer has contact details for those in the house, (lost the phone with their numbers) can she still be held liable for their share? Will the council still look for the other people or now they have one person will they just say tough luck and squeeze her for the total amount?
    Thanks in advance and any advice much appreciated.
    This is my first post so hope I haven't made any errors.
Page 3
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Sep 17, 9:41 AM
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    CIS
    And I don't think we know that the council hasn't also contacted the others.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Exactly.

    Craig
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 10:06 AM
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    Irish_lad80
    Thanks to all who replied.
    To answer a few questions and comments, friend knew nothing of the unpaid debt at the time so couldn't have paid it.
    If someone is not on social media it can be hard to track them or even if they are but have their cat as their profile pick etc. Also they may well be in a different country. Maiden name may have changed etc etc. So trying to go down the small claims court route means finding them first.
    She has emailed them for a full statement of account but the council have a 20 day turn around time. 6 days after she is meant to have submitted her work details etc. She has since been told that they will actually charge her to provide the statement, not sure if that is true.
    There were no students in the house, 3 worked in bars/restaurants and one was in healthcare.
    We don't know if the council has contacted the others but the question was asked in the email. I personally doubt that they have. But don't know.
    As to what I'd like my council to spend their money on, treating people fairly for a start would be good although I'm sure that's a subjective term. It just strikes me as unethical to try and get all the money from one person when the council knows there is more than one at fault, like bullies picking the easy target at school. I don't dispute that what they are doing may well be legal but just doesn't sit right if that makes sense.
    As for wasting time/money tracking people down I doubt it would take that long when they have access to the databases councils have.
    As for all documentation from the time as it 10/11 years ago agreements etc would have long been dumped, I know I don't have any tenancy agreements apart from my current one, I also don't have bank statements from the time. I only keep pretty relevant/current details. I don't like clutter.
    This isn’t about not paying a fair share of tax, we all should, but when you believe you have done so and it was others in the house who failed in their duty to pay it’s a bit tough to swallow. My friend will actually end up 3 times what she should have. This isn’t about fat cat or spongers.
    As for finding the law unpalatable I’m pretty sure you would too. Who wouldn’t in this case?
    All evidence of court order notices etc have been asked for, whether they will be provided is another matter.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 10:07 AM
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    Irish_lad80
    If my friend wasn't such a good person they could easily just move house. Then see if the council track them again.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 10:08 AM
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    Irish_lad80
    If they have contacted the others then how is my friend to know that before handing over money or work details?
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 13th Sep 17, 10:18 AM
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    davidmcn
    If they have contacted the others then how is my friend to know that before handing over money or work details?
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80
    She isn't to know it. However, the council aren't entitled to collect more money than they're actually owed.

    And if she's serious about finding the others she could employ tracing agents (not necessarily at vast expense). Note she'd need real addresses for legal action anyway, not social media IDs.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 10:41 AM
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    Irish_lad80
    Note she'd need real addresses for legal action anyway, not social media IDs.
    Originally posted by davidmcn

    There lies part of the problem, without their address all she can do is appeal to their good nature which from what she remembers is much lacking.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Sep 17, 10:43 AM
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    CIS
    Even if the she was able to provide the addresses of others to the council then it should still be remembered that the council have obligation to chase the others - the law is still on their side to pursue her only.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 10:55 AM
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    Irish_lad80
    Even if the she was able to provide the addresses of others to the council then it should still be remembered that the council have obligation to chase the others - the law is still on their side to pursue her only.
    Originally posted by CIS
    They may not have an obligation but that would seem particularly harsh to have the others address but only sting one person for the bill. But again we don't know at this point if they have even tried.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Sep 17, 10:58 AM
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    CIS
    They may not have an obligation but that would seem particularly harsh to have the others address but only sting one person for the bill. But again we don't know at this point if they have even tried.
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80
    Harsh or not the law is quite clear on the issue as to what the council can and can't do - they have no obligation to even try to find the address or pursue action if they do have the addresses.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 11:13 AM
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    Irish_lad80
    Harsh or not the law is quite clear on the issue as to what the council can and can't do - they have no obligation to even try to find the address or pursue action if they do have the addresses.
    Originally posted by CIS
    So if the council do have three addresses for example how do they decide to pursue? Name from a hat? Decide on the name they like least or most?
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 13th Sep 17, 11:15 AM
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    davidmcn
    So if the council do have three addresses for example how do they decide to pursue? Name from a hat? Decide on the name they like least or most?
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80
    Would seem sensible for them to pursue all of them.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Sep 17, 11:23 AM
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    CIS
    Would seem sensible for them to pursue all of them.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    So if the council do have three addresses for example how do they decide to pursue? Name from a hat? Decide on the name they like least or most?
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80
    That depends - in respect of the liability order a council can only take enforcement action against one party at a time. It's a judgement call from the council.

    Craig
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 11:30 AM
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    Irish_lad80
    Would seem sensible for them to pursue all of them.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Sensible I agree but according to other posters it's not what they may do.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 11:33 AM
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    Irish_lad80
    It's a judgement call from the council.

    Craig
    Originally posted by CIS
    So in effect, yes names from a hat.
    If by judgement call they look at payment history and see that one person has paid all their bills since they may think that this person is the softer target. Rather than the person with the spotty payment history. I'm guessing maybe all payment histories since have been good.
    Last edited by Irish_lad80; 13-09-2017 at 11:36 AM.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Sep 17, 12:05 PM
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    CIS
    If by judgement call they look at payment history and see that one person has paid all their bills since they may think that this person is the softer target. Rather than the person with the spotty payment history. I'm guessing maybe all payment histories since have been good.
    The consideration generally goes much further than that - it depends what information the council have available.

    You'd be surprised though with regards to payments - a lot of councils will try and pursue those who didn't make payment if they can in the first instance (most councils won't know who made which payments though). Regardless of people may think a lot of them will try and be fair with the recovery initially and give other options a try. That's not to say all councils are the same though (I saw a lot of different ways of working over the years).
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 12:36 PM
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    Irish_lad80
    The consideration generally goes much further than that - it depends what information the council have available.

    You'd be surprised though with regards to payments - a lot of councils will try and pursue those who didn't make payment if they can in the first instance (most councils won't know who made which payments though). Regardless of people may think a lot of them will try and be fair with the recovery initially and give other options a try. That's not to say all councils are the same though (I saw a lot of different ways of working over the years).
    Originally posted by CIS
    I would hope that the consideration goes further than that but sadly thus far there is no evidence to show that. Also it seems a mystery as to how they come to a judgement as to who they should chase for the money if they have more than one name and address. You say more thought goes into it but certainly here no one knows what that thought is.
    The fact that they may not provide that information for nearly three weeks while looking for my friends details in 2 really means there is very little chance to appeal if there is an error on the councils side.
    Agree the council prob won't know who made the payment and that's fair enough. How it took 10/11 years to make contact is still a mystery and means it's much harder to resolve for the person they make contact with.
    Appreciate your comments btw.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Sep 17, 12:58 PM
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    CIS
    You say more thought goes into it but certainly here no one knows what that thought is.
    No-one other than the actual council officer involved knows the exact judgement but having done that job for a decade I have a pretty good insight in to it. There is no formal appeal which can be undertaken to dispute the action other than the Valuation Tribunal if a person believes they are being held wrongly liable (not where they simply think the council should pursue another joint party).

    With respect to the delay- legally there's no issue but there may be room for an LGO complaint over the delay itself (not over which action is being taken or against who).
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 1:33 PM
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    Irish_lad80
    No-one other than the actual council officer involved knows the exact judgement but having done that job for a decade I have a pretty good insight in to it. There is no formal appeal which can be undertaken to dispute the action other than the Valuation Tribunal if a person believes they are being held wrongly liable (not where they simply think the council should pursue another joint party).

    With respect to the delay- legally there's no issue but there may be room for an LGO complaint over the delay itself (not over which action is being taken or against who).
    Originally posted by CIS
    Appreciate only the council officer in question can know exactly what has happened in terms of trying to contact others but so far I haven't seen any suggestion as to what the standard procedure is to pursue one person and not another if they had the details of two people. No one has said what exactly they will look at. I would have thought there would be some procedures for it? If they did send letter to two people how would my friend then know how much she will have to pay? Maybe no formal appeal process but if for example proof could be given that a payment was made that the council did not recognise on their statement of account then surely there must be a way of highlighting this?
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Sep 17, 2:00 PM
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    CIS
    I would have thought there would be some procedures for it?
    There is no required procedure, each council would have their own specific procedure which may or may allow for extra provisions in addition to the statutory requirement.

    Maybe no formal appeal process but if for example proof could be given that a payment was made that the council did not recognise on their statement of account then surely there must be a way of highlighting this?
    Only as far the council is willing to take that in to account - legally a joint tenant is responsible for every penny outstanding regardless of whether they've paid some or not. The law takes no regard of who has paid what, only that sum is outstanding and each person is responsible for everything up to and including the full amount.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 13th Sep 17, 3:38 PM
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    Irish_lad80
    There is no required procedure, each council would have their own specific procedure which may or may allow for extra provisions in addition to the statutory requirement.


    Only as far the council is willing to take that in to account - legally a joint tenant is responsible for every penny outstanding regardless of whether they've paid some or not. The law takes no regard of who has paid what, only that sum is outstanding and each person is responsible for everything up to and including the full amount.
    Originally posted by CIS
    Ok, but as far as my friend is concerned she is still clueless as to what, if anything they have done. It may well have been names from a hat if they had addresses for more than one person. I have seen no example of the sort of things they may take into account when deciding who to pursue.
    Appreciate law takes no regard of who pays what, poorly written law I would think. Laws are generally there to ensure fairness, to protect those who need protecting (different discussion I know). But the council does have the ability to use common sense and say we have addressed this liability to 4 unrelated people and therefore we don't sting one person for everything if we have contacted 3. A reasonable amount from the one person (say one third of the bill) is satisfactory result. Trying to get onto the Greenwich Council website to read their mission statement but sadly there seems to be some issues there.
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