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Council Tax - Court Summons
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# 1
JCR
Old 28-02-2008, 12:57 PM
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Default Council Tax - Court Summons

Hi all - through a slight oversight we missed paying our November and December council tax bills. When we realised this we paid the November one in January and are paying the December one this month. However, yesterday we received a Court Summons for 175 - 140 one month council tax and 35 court fees. I haven't heard of people being summons to court over one month in arrears before. We usually pay on time etc. but this does not seem to have been taken into account and we are being given no leeway whatsoever. I have written to them explaining the situation but am not holding out much hope.

If the 140 o/s balance is paid - presumably they will still chase us for court fees even though the date is 18th March and so therefore can be cancelled.

Anyone been through this over one month's arrears before?:confused:
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# 2
Paul_Herring
Old 28-02-2008, 1:30 PM
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Did the council not even write to you first, pointing out the arrears, before going to court?
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# 3
hodgester
Old 28-02-2008, 4:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR View Post
Hi all - through a slight oversight we missed paying our November and December council tax bills. When we realised this we paid the November one in January and are paying the December one this month. However, yesterday we received a Court Summons for 175 - 140 one month council tax and 35 court fees. I haven't heard of people being summons to court over one month in arrears before. We usually pay on time etc. but this does not seem to have been taken into account and we are being given no leeway whatsoever. I have written to them explaining the situation but am not holding out much hope.

If the 140 o/s balance is paid - presumably they will still chase us for court fees even though the date is 18th March and so therefore can be cancelled.

Anyone been through this over one month's arrears before?:confused:
from what you have written, it would appear that the council is acting correctly, though you may not appreciate their actions. When you didn't pay in November, the Council should and will have sent you a reminder notice. The reminder would have stipulated that you needed to bring your account up to date within 14 days or you would lose your right to pay by installments and a court summons may be issued. As this payment was not made in either November or December then the right to instalments would have been removed, hence paying in January would have been too late.

As its February 28th now and the bill should have been paid in full by 1st January 2008 I can't see any Authority backing down and bear in mind that paying the balance minus the costs will be of no help to you. Most authorities take the costs first so the balance of unpaid summons costs will be treated as unpaid council tax. Pay the bill, plus summons costs and then appeal to the authority. it will prevent you incurring liability order costs as well.
it's not the council's fault your band is wrong, blame the Valuation Office !!!!! :rolleyes:
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# 4
chappers
Old 28-02-2008, 6:16 PM
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As above the reason they have done this for £1 months arrears is that the council tax is split into 10 payments with the last one being due on the 1st of Jan they are just tidying up last years books.
In my experience of dealing with the council tax, whatever you arrange or pay now they will still get a liability order for anything outstanding on the court date, even the £35 costs , because as Hodgester says any monies paid go first against costs leaving any outstanding amounts as liable Council Tax(they do this so they can continue to enforce summonses and orders when partial payments are mad). believe me this is a hard one to fight, the council tax laws were written by the government to protect the government.
They will instruct the bailiffs even if the liability order is only for £35 plus costs.
For the last 2 months I have been fighting bailiffs costs(only £42.50) for a sum of council tax, which I disputed starting a year ago, the council have since ruled in my favour, but I have just found out that the bailiffs cost are still enforcible under the same liability order even though there is no liability.
I shouldn't have withheld council tax whilst in dispute and as the appeal ruling was made after the bailiffs visits and the liability order, the liabilty order is totally enforcible still.

It really makes me seething mad but as I said the council tax laws are watertight and I doubt the council tax ever operate outside of them.

Just out of interest though I am not going to pay the bailiffs, to see what happens I owe no council tax as it has all been refunded to me and my account balance is zero, so the amount I had paid should in theory have been set against the bailiffs fees first.
Will be interesting to see what they do , their reps are paid on commission, so can't see any of them wanting to chase me as legally they can't make any further charges against me.

Last edited by chappers; 28-02-2008 at 6:26 PM.
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# 5
chuckles1066
Old 28-02-2008, 6:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR View Post
Anyone been through this over one month's arrears before?:confused:
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# 6
malenka-81
Old 11-06-2008, 9:13 PM
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Hi There

I have had the same problem and you CAN get the Council to back down on certain charges.
I sent email after email requesting all information they had on the account, then contested the court charges/baliffs fees/administration fees stating that these were unfair and unreasonable.

I was also 30 weeks pregnant so used that as a stress point to them, so i recommend you play the hardship card with them, emphasise on how you did not intentionally avoid any debt and that you feel like you are being dealt with unfairly and that it is causing you lots of stress etc etc.

The emails will bounce backwards and forwards, they will say tough luck to start with, but dont give up as after approximately 3 months the Council i was dealing with cancelled all administration charges, court costs and baliff letter fees and helped me arrange a suitable repayment plan with them.

I have dealt with councils before for various issues, and have had very good advice from Citizens Advice Bureauxs and google on the law, my rights etc. It is tough fighting Councils, they are greedy and wont back down easy.

Become a pain in thier backsides, throw lots of data protection and law acts at them and use the word 'mal administration' alot, they dont like it as it is all Councils top reason for complaints.

Always email, never ring as at least then you have correspondance should a Bailiff etc turn up on the door and this buys you time and shows Courts that you are trying to resolve it amicably and it just makes the Councils look un helpful.

I hope this helps......
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# 7
hodgester
Old 12-06-2008, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malenka-81 View Post
Hi There

I have had the same problem and you CAN get the Council to back down on certain charges.
I sent email after email requesting all information they had on the account, then contested the court charges/baliffs fees/administration fees stating that these were unfair and unreasonable.

I was also 30 weeks pregnant so used that as a stress point to them, so i recommend you play the hardship card with them, emphasise on how you did not intentionally avoid any debt and that you feel like you are being dealt with unfairly and that it is causing you lots of stress etc etc.

The emails will bounce backwards and forwards, they will say tough luck to start with, but dont give up as after approximately 3 months the Council i was dealing with cancelled all administration charges, court costs and baliff letter fees and helped me arrange a suitable repayment plan with them.

I have dealt with councils before for various issues, and have had very good advice from Citizens Advice Bureauxs and google on the law, my rights etc. It is tough fighting Councils, they are greedy and wont back down easy.

Become a pain in thier backsides, throw lots of data protection and law acts at them and use the word 'mal administration' alot, they dont like it as it is all Councils top reason for complaints.

Always email, never ring as at least then you have correspondance should a Bailiff etc turn up on the door and this buys you time and shows Courts that you are trying to resolve it amicably and it just makes the Councils look un helpful.

I hope this helps......
you can try that tac but you leave yourself open for future bills of giving yourself no lee-way. Say you write to me, as a council tax manager stating maladministration and fees are unfair and unreasonable. I would ask you to confirm evidence of maladministration. Your argument would appear confused as you state that the council had made a mistake, but you're pregnant and you didn't deliberately avoid paying. As the instalments on the bill are clearly listed, I'd have to question at that point who was guilty of the error. Though I must admit that if you know a portion of the LGFA 1992, and its subsequent amendments, case law etc that protects the rights of late or non-payer at a Liability Order hearing, I'll happily throw my IRRV qualification in the bin and hire you as a consultant tomorrow ;-)

Browbeating council offers and tying up short-staffed offices with repeated e-mails and paperwork may get you what you want in the first instance, but most councils are now getting far more clued up and strict with vexatious customers and they'll be sure that the next time there's a 'slip up' you won't get away with it. Councils are now far more likely to request proof of payment at the due date before withdrawing reminders/summonses/costs, rather than just rolling over.

Oh and if a bailiff turns up at your door for Council Tax non-payment then I'm sorry but unless it's erroneous, you deserve it. If you filled in your paperwork and made a positive arrangement with the council it won't happen. And the Court have granted the Liability Order so if bailiffs turn up at your doorstep then the Courts are no help to you.
it's not the council's fault your band is wrong, blame the Valuation Office !!!!! :rolleyes:

Last edited by hodgester; 12-06-2008 at 10:31 PM.
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# 8
Ice
Old 12-06-2008, 11:21 PM
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hope you have it all sorted out now...
I pay by Direct debit once a month over 10 months
that way it goes out the bank and I know its been paid and don't forget about it...
the council can be very funny sometimes they can leave it to long and then people owe them thousands and don't know it or they can pick on someone who has never done anything like this before...its a lottery with them...I would pay by DD it works and its one less hassle...

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# 9
ell1es
Old 14-06-2008, 11:52 AM
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Hiya everyone, I have been looking at MSE.com for a while and just not posted.

This morning husband and I have received a summons each with a court date as we haven't paid this years council tax (they aren't open until Monday to discuss either) and we owe 1005 pound inc charges, I have sent off yesterday a DD mandate to pay the bill, but now have to go to court in July. I am so stressed and want to cry, hubby isn't stressing and I feel so helpless, we can pay the full amount by the end of the tax year, we have just been really skint with hubby's debts and sorting them out first. We can't pay the full amount before court. I haven't been to court before and am really worried. Going to ring them on Monday, but I know they will say that it's because we didn't catch up as promised. Can anyone advise who has been through this stress.

Ellie x
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# 10
CIS
Old 14-06-2008, 12:21 PM
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You don't need to attend court, the court order will be issued in your absence.

The majority of people don't bother with the court - out of 2000+ summons we get probably 30 people at court for us to see . Most people who make arrangements do so by post or telephone.

If you attend court you will be able to meet a council officer face to face or ask to see the magistrate where you can dispute your liability to the Council Tax only - the magistrate cannot rule on payment arrangements etc.
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# 11
ell1es
Old 14-06-2008, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CIS View Post
You don't need to attend court, the court order will be issued in your absence.

The majority of people don't bother with the court - out of 2000+ summons we get probably 30 people at court for us to see . Most people who make arrangements do so by post or telephone.

If you attend court you will be able to meet a council officer face to face or ask to see the magistrate where you can dispute your liability to the Council Tax only - the magistrate cannot rule on payment arrangements etc.
Thanks for that, does going to court mean that it would/wouldn't be like a tv courtroom scene? It says if we believe that we have a valid reason (debt & struggling-does that count) that we don't have to attend. What do you think I should say when I ring up on Monday? Sorry for being a pain...I am stressed!!
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# 12
Quentin
Old 14-06-2008, 12:30 PM
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You can return the form which accompanied the summons accepting the debt is owed.

This will avoid you attending court.
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# 13
CIS
Old 14-06-2008, 12:33 PM
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At the court you literally just see a council officer at a desk - the magistrate remains in the court room and you don't go in unless you want to dispute your liability - you're not so there is no reason to go in to the actual court.

If you ring up on Monday and offer to make monthly payments until the year end then their shouldn't be a problem , especially on direct debit. I would certainly accept an offer of payment from one our charge payers if it could be cleared by the year end,
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# 14
ell1es
Old 14-06-2008, 12:49 PM
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Will let you know what happens on Monday....Thankyou CIS & Quentin x
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# 15
hodgester
Old 16-06-2008, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ell1es View Post
Thanks for that, does going to court mean that it would/wouldn't be like a tv courtroom scene? It says if we believe that we have a valid reason (debt & struggling-does that count) that we don't have to attend. What do you think I should say when I ring up on Monday? Sorry for being a pain...I am stressed!!
Do not turn up at Court. Financial hardship is not a valid defence. You should only attend court if you are certain that you a) are not the liable person for the amount owing on the summons or b) you have proof that the debt is paid and the council do not accept it. Whilst most magistrates are buffoons, clerks of the court tend to give very short thrift to tales of hardship. You can save yourself a lot of stress and potential embarrassment by staying away!
it's not the council's fault your band is wrong, blame the Valuation Office !!!!! :rolleyes:
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# 16
ell1es
Old 16-06-2008, 4:42 PM
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Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!!
After stressing all weekend and today, I rang up after work, the woman was nice as pie as I said I had sent my DD form off, she took details again and is going to work out amount owing when the amount we paid on Sat comes out, and she offered me the 2 extra months up to March to catch up!!!

So thanks again xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Have one on me!!
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# 17
hardcore
Old 13-02-2009, 8:47 AM
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5 months ago i recieved a letter from the council saying that i owned them some money as i had been claiming as a single parent from the date which i moved into my property when i was not. so i decided to call them up to find out what was going on as i had only claimed as a single parent for one week rather that the 6 months they were refering to. as they were no help over the phone i decided to go down to the council office and speak to them face to face taking with my all of the revelent documentation and it was cleared up there and then. however yesterday i recieved another letter saying that i owed the council 204.46 which is two months council tax. so once again i called up the council and asked why that was. in reply i got told that they sent out a new booklet for me in the novemeber saying that i my council tax was 170 in the december and then 169 from then on. i told them that i was only due to pay 100 a month as that is what my booklet told me to pay they refused to believe me that the booklet which i had infront of me was true as it was not on there system and that i had indead recieved the new booklet which i had never been posted. they told me that unless i paid them the money in full in 3 days time which was when this payment was due i would be taken to court. however i cannont affort an extra 100 this month.
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# 18
SalPot
Old 15-03-2010, 10:24 AM
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Default Council Tax Court Summons

Hi
I received a court summons on Saturday 13th March, they want 402.00 plus 46 for costs. Its for the current year 01 April 2009- 31 March 2010. I have already called and requested some kind of payment arrangement when we had a red letter reminder through but the lady said I had to pay it (402) in one go or in 2 instalments both of which we cant afford having so many debts at the moment. I am going to call them today having now got this summons letter and ask the same question. If they want to get paid we will have to come to a better, cheaper arrangement but they need the money before the year end so am I right in thinking it cant be resolved? and am I also right in thinking they wont incorporate what we owe with the next financial years ( 01 April 2010) council tax, so that we pay a little more than previously i.e 89 (what we paid before a month for council tax) plus a manageable monthly instalment, clearing the arrears? I am so worried coz they are stubborn.. how can I pay them if I havent got it?

The reason we're in this mess is we missed a payment as theyd cancelled our DD I then went in in person to pay it and set up DD again that was Nov. They told me we could start paying again from Dec or Jan well coz of Christmas we said Jan please. So Dec wasnt taken and unfortunately we missed Jans so they said well you havent paid us since Nov I said well we've only missed one payment coz you said we could have Dec off! She said, "we wouldnt have said that at all" lying gits. Im not even sure if they have set the DD up come to think of it.. anyways so now I am here. Any advice?
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# 19
MPH80
Old 15-03-2010, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
I had to pay it (402) in one go or in 2 instalments both of which we cant afford having so many debts at the moment.
Your council tax is a priority - like your mortgage or your rent - all other debts come behind it.

Reason: you can be fined or go to jail for non payment.

So put your other debts to one side, let them screw over your credit rating, and sort out your council tax.

Quote:
She said, "we wouldnt have said that at all" lying gits.
I suspect what they asked you was more along the lines of "would you like the direct debit to restart in December or January?" that's not the same as having a month off ... I would be exceptionally surprised if they said "hey - have a month free of payment on us".

M.
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# 20
John_Pierpoint
Old 15-03-2010, 12:55 PM
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You might want to prepare a statement of affairs and a budget to see if the three of you are ever going to get out of your debts, by muddling along. There is no point in getting into ever deeper debt.

You would find a more sympathetic audience on the debt free wannabe part of the forum;
the rest of us on here have to pay our taxes on time or get fined.
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