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  • FIRST POST
    • amy17brook
    • By amy17brook 18th May 17, 4:58 PM
    • 39Posts
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    amy17brook
    Increase in bills
    • #1
    • 18th May 17, 4:58 PM
    Increase in bills 18th May 17 at 4:58 PM
    Hi,

    Me and my husband have recently been landed with a bill for near on £700 quid for a council tax bill from 2012. We were stupid at the time as we were running a pub and just didn't have the money. We moved and forgot about it.

    At the same time we got ourselves into debt trouble and have been paying everything off in bits along with keeping up with current bills. We have been barely keeping afloat and now rent has gone up. My mum used to help with th childcare but she's poorly at the minute so can only help occasionally. So now have to pay extra childcare.

    Can anyone help with what I should do about this council tax bill? We have asked for them to send the original letter out to check the dates but they have told us we have a week to sort it before they send debt collectors out.
Page 1
  • National Debtline
    • #2
    • 18th May 17, 5:15 PM
    • #2
    • 18th May 17, 5:15 PM
    Hi amy17brook

    Can I ask if the debt is a council tax debt for a residential property, or business rates for business premises? I suspect it may be business rates if it was for a pub, it is important to check as there can be some different options available to deal with the debt.

    If the debt is passed on it will be to bailiffs, rather than a debt collection agency. They don’t have the right to force entry unless they have been inside previously. Keep your doors locked, and if you have a car hide it.

    It sounds like you may have a number of different debts at the moment and you’re going to need to seek debt advice from one the free debt advice agencies. The first thing they will advise you to start with is a SOA to see where you stand with your finances.
    http://www.stoozing.com/calculator/soa.php

    If the debt is business rates I’d recommend contacting Business Debtline for advice, you can find their business rates factsheet here
    https://www.businessdebtline.org/EW/factsheets/Pages/businessrates/businessratesarrears.aspx

    Susie
    @natdebtline
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
    • amy17brook
    • By amy17brook 18th May 17, 6:02 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    amy17brook
    • #3
    • 18th May 17, 6:02 PM
    • #3
    • 18th May 17, 6:02 PM
    The debt is council tax from the glad above not business rates. I work for the civil service and had help from their charity in March with an soa ect. Problem is I'm trying not to skew my credit report at the same time am trying to make at least minimum payments on everything. Just circumstances changed, would feel cheeky ringing them again so soon. Thanks for your response.
  • National Debtline
    • #4
    • 19th May 17, 12:26 PM
    • #4
    • 19th May 17, 12:26 PM
    Hi amy17brook

    Thanks for clarifying that it is council tax. The advice above applies to council tax bailiffs, as well as those collecting business rates, so remember to keep your doors locked and hide your car (if you have one).

    The council tax debt is more important than any unsecured credit debts, I’m afraid your credit report can’t be your priority at the moment. That’s because the council have more powers to collect the debt than any unsecured creditors.

    No debt charity will mind you contacting them for advice more than once, that’s what they’re there for. If you prefer try one of the other free services, you can find the details here
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4228011

    Susie
    @natdebtline
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
    • CIS
    • By CIS 19th May 17, 12:47 PM
    • 10,125 Posts
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    CIS
    • #5
    • 19th May 17, 12:47 PM
    • #5
    • 19th May 17, 12:47 PM
    Can anyone help with what I should do about this council tax bill? We have asked for them to send the original letter out to check the dates but they have told us we have a week to sort it before they send debt collectors out.
    What in particular are you querying ? Is it just to check the dates are correct ?

    They should be able to confirm the original dates etc over the phone, there's no specific need to wait for a copy of the original demand notice to get those details.

    It's very unlikely to be debt collectors for council tax - in the vast majority of cases the local authority will use a certified enforcement agent to collect the debt.

    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.
    • amy17brook
    • By amy17brook 19th May 17, 1:17 PM
    • 39 Posts
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    amy17brook
    • #6
    • 19th May 17, 1:17 PM
    • #6
    • 19th May 17, 1:17 PM
    Thanks for your replies.
    Yes, querying the dates. Phoned them this morning. The dates are off by about 3 weeks which probably isn't alot of difference money wise. She has advised me to appeal that which I will be doing. She said we have to set up an agreement or they'll set up an attachment of earnings for £150. The lowest offer they will take is £50 per month. Both of these are too expensive. I have an soa from March so said I will email it though to her.
    So am I supposed to stop paying a credit card and ruin my life to pay for a council tax bill for a rat infested flat? I've worked too hard to start building again to let it slip. I'd rather starve. I can't wait another 6 years to build my credit rating, there's too much depending on it.
    • GarthThomas
    • By GarthThomas 19th May 17, 1:30 PM
    • 147 Posts
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    GarthThomas
    • #7
    • 19th May 17, 1:30 PM
    • #7
    • 19th May 17, 1:30 PM
    Yes, this is a priority debt, and you absolutely are supposed to pay it off ahead of your credit cards.

    If you don't pay then of course it will affect your ability to gain credit in the future. If you are so close to the edge that you can't even afford £50 per month then companies need to know not to extend credit to you.

    Are you able to take on evening or weekend work? Can your wife find a route to do similar, anything she can do to earn some extra money with evening / night work?
    • CIS
    • By CIS 19th May 17, 1:38 PM
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    CIS
    • #8
    • 19th May 17, 1:38 PM
    • #8
    • 19th May 17, 1:38 PM
    She has advised me to appeal that which I will be doing.
    On what particular basis ?

    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.
    • amy17brook
    • By amy17brook 19th May 17, 2:16 PM
    • 39 Posts
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    amy17brook
    • #9
    • 19th May 17, 2:16 PM
    • #9
    • 19th May 17, 2:16 PM
    Grounds for appeal on the basis that the dates are wrong but she has also said to put in that we were effectively made homeless and jobless as a result of the breweries actions.

    Garth, I don't want extra credit. I would like to buy a house in the next couple of years which you need a credit score for. And before you ask my stepdad is willing to put up funds regarding a springboard mortgage. What makes you assume I'm a man, I assure you I'm not. I work full time as does my husband. Extra hours are not an option at the minute as he works weekends and as previously stated we would have to pay for childcare. Technically we could probably afford 50 a month but it would be a stretch. Will have to have a think about what we can cut back on.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 19th May 17, 2:28 PM
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    CIS
    Grounds for appeal on the basis that the dates are wrong but she has also said to put in that we were effectively made homeless and jobless as a result of the breweries actions.
    The dates used possibly - they can be corrected in many cases though without altering the action the council has taken.

    In respect of the second point then being out of a job etc has not effect on the legality of the charge - any withdrawal would be purely discretionary after the council (and, to be truthful, unlikely on those grounds due to the length of time - you'd have more chance asking for withdrawal based on your current situation). You could have an argument if you could demonstrate you were not legally liable for the period in time - there may be possibilities in it to do so, dependent on the exact situation (simply holding the lease does not always make you liable).

    If you're in financial difficulties you can apply for S13A discretionary relief - either against the arrears, your current council tax or both.

    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.
    • amy17brook
    • By amy17brook 19th May 17, 3:30 PM
    • 39 Posts
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    amy17brook
    Thank you, I will definitely have a look at that. We never had a lease. We had to love there as part of our contract. We were effectively managers that were paid a small percentage of takings.
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 19th May 17, 3:40 PM
    • 12,714 Posts
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    sourcrates
    In the meantime i would suggest you start paying as much as you can to the council for this debt, do not wait for an outcome of the above, you do not want bailiffs knocking on your door for this, the debt will more than double due to there fee`s if they become involved, and at different stages of enforcement, the debt increases again.

    The £700 will increase to nearly £1100 very quickly !!

    If the debt is less than £1,500 then the fees are likely to be:

    £75 instruction fee (your case being sent to the bailiff)
    £235 for a bailiff visit (if you ignore their letters)
    £110 for removing and selling goods from your property
    Last edited by sourcrates; 19-05-2017 at 3:45 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
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    • CIS
    • By CIS 19th May 17, 4:34 PM
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    CIS
    We never had a lease. We had to love there as part of our contract.
    Did the contract require to live on the premises ? Did you have another property elsewhere at the same time?

    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.
    • amy17brook
    • By amy17brook 19th May 17, 5:17 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    amy17brook
    Yes, the contract required us to live there but no we didn't have anywhere else as we were renting. But as advised previously regarding a different matter the contract wasn't worth the paper it was written on.
    • GarthThomas
    • By GarthThomas 19th May 17, 6:54 PM
    • 147 Posts
    • 230 Thanks
    GarthThomas
    OK, sorry for mixing up you and your husband, but that's really not the important point in what I wrote.

    You are contradicting yourself, you say that you want no more credit, but then you say that you will want a mortgage. Which is it? You will need to pay this tax, so I'm not sure what you want to hear here.

    If your husband works weekends, then he or you can do a few hours extra in the evenings while the other is home. That way you don't need to pay child care.

    I know that you'd prefer not to, but you don't really have much choice here. You are over the edge financially now, you've been spending all you earn, have no emergency pot, and one small unexpected bill has brought trouble to your door.

    You need to find a way to pay, and then start building up an emergency pot.

    You also need to check that a gifted deposit from your family will be OK for a mortgage, especially as you are likely to be applying with a damaged credit file one way or the other.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 19th May 17, 7:37 PM
    • 10,125 Posts
    • 5,800 Thanks
    CIS
    Yes, the contract required us to live there but no we didn't have anywhere else as we were renting. But as advised previously regarding a different matter the contract wasn't worth the paper it was written on.
    Originally posted by amy17brook
    That doesn't specifically matter for council tax purposes - a contract to occupy the property would be sufficient to assume liability (in actual terms a contract or any form of agreement wouldn't even be required, residence by itself can be sufficient to create a liability).

    If the contract gave a specified minimum term of 6 months or more on the property then it's likely it would be sufficient to give you a 'material interest'.This means that you can be held liable for the council tax charge after leaving, until the agreement formally ended. Again though it depends on the specific wording of the agreement.

    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.
    • amy17brook
    • By amy17brook 19th May 17, 7:44 PM
    • 39 Posts
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    amy17brook
    It's a springboard mortgage. Someone puts there money in a savings account and it remains their money. It stands in place of a deposit. After 3 years they get their money back with interest. At which point we will have saved enough to remortgage and stand on our own two feet.
    I know I need to pay it, I'm not an actual idiot. While I appreciate your concern you're not actually being helpful. Just rude to be honest. I don't know what planet you live on but 700 is not a small bill!
    • amy17brook
    • By amy17brook 19th May 17, 8:14 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    amy17brook
    Anyway, thank you. Have a chat with my hubby and think we have something sorted.
    • GarthThomas
    • By GarthThomas 19th May 17, 8:16 PM
    • 147 Posts
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    GarthThomas
    It's not a small bill because you haven't saved an emergency pot.

    I'm not being rude, I'm just patiently trying to help.

    Well, I was. You seem just to want to pick an argument, so I'll leave you to it.
    • amy17brook
    • By amy17brook 19th May 17, 8:22 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    amy17brook
    Ah, the benefit of hindsight
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