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Council Tax - Apparent arrears

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Debt-Free Wannabe
9 replies 2.8K views
darrenstruttdarrenstrutt Forumite
4 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Debt-Free Wannabe
Hi everyone. Just new to the forum, registered as I want to ask people's opinions on a letter that I have received.

The letter has come from Alan M. Adamson LLP, on behalf of their client Inverclyde Council. The following is exactly what the letter says:
Inverclyde Council
Council Tax Arrears

Due to your failure to respond to previous correspondence regarding this debt we must take further action in terms of the Summary Warrant granted by the court.

You ust contact this office (telephone number 01324 621293 or text on 01324432100) to full repay the debt of enter into a payment arrangement.

If you do not contact us, a visit will be made to premises occupied by you, to carry out an attachment of your assets and your bank account or earnings may be arrested. The fees for any further action will be added to your debt.

Unless you agree a payment arrangement immediately, the Court Order, which was granted against you will be enforced without further notice.
It then states that the total amount is £3,290.76, and goes on to give payment options and contact details, etc etc.

Now, my first issue is with the first sentence, in that I have never received a letter from this company before. I also don't owe this money, not in a month of Sundays, and it annoyed me that I didn't get any sort of further information, as to which years it is supposed to apply to.

I just had a call with this company, and they state that they have been informed by the Council that I have not paid the following amounts:

Year - Amount
2003 - £14.14
2005 - £832.03
2006 - £732.78
2007 - £657.10
2007 - £201.21
2008 - £853.50

The random amounts just seem to me to be made up, but as I do not have any bank records from those years anymore, I can't actually prove to the Council that I have paid these. The bank account that these payments would have been made from is actually no longer open, as it went into hibernation and was later closed by the bank after I moved abroad in 2010.

I would also have thought that, if there sums were in fact missed, there would be something on my experian credit fileto show that. But I just checked my credit file a month or so ago and there's no mention of this, as I would have expected.

Is it my responsibility to prove to the Council that I paid council tax some 10 years ago and more? Given that financial records only need to be held for 7 years, how do they expect me to do that?

Any advice on how to handle this would be greatly appreciated. As you can imagine, it's pretty worrying, particularly as I know that these sums are not owed by me.

Replies

  • sourcratessourcrates Forumite, Board Guide
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    Hi,
    You are in Scotland, I presume, when did they get there court order ?
    As these debts would be statute barred after 5 years, unless a liability order (Scottish equivalent) was obtained.


    Not a Hugh expert on council tax matters north of the border, sorry.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File and Ratings, 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:
    [email protected].
    Any views expressed are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
    "I don`t trust Bankers, I don`t trust Banks, and I don`t trust you.........Private Frazer".
    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, CitizensAdviceBureaux.
  • I am in Scotland yes. There is no mention of when the court order was obtained, suppose the only way to find out is to ask the Council themselves.
  • Previous correspondence? Have they actually sent you anything in the past?

    Contact the council to be sure, as it looks like a big scam!
    DON'T send any money.
    Google the company name on this letter - if it is legit, their website would have correct telephone numbers (and even then, the website might be shonky too)
    Looking forward to being Debt Free!
    11/01/2020
    Car Loan $9,250
  • Sorry, re-read your post again.

    SCAM SCAM SCAM alert.

    Let the council know.
    Is there any address on the letter? Google Map it.
    Looking forward to being Debt Free!
    11/01/2020
    Car Loan $9,250
  • I have looked the company up, and it certainly appears to be legitimate. Their website looks way too professional for it to be a scam company, but then I suppose that would be part of the scam. Can't post links as I'm a new user, but goggle the company Alex M. Adamson LLP, in Falkirk, Scotland.

    I certainly didn't receive any letters from this company prior to this one, however this 'debt' relates to a previous address, where I haven't lived since July 2010. It may be that correspondence was sent to that address, but if I haven't physically received the letters, does that cover me, even if they were actually issued?

    I need some advice before I go to the Council to speak about this, to save me going in there and getting myself all worked up.
  • sourcratessourcrates Forumite, Board Guide
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    I need some advice before I go to the Council to speak about this, to save me going in there and getting myself all worked up.



    Best place to go is here :


    https://www.nationaldebtline.org/s/Pages/default.aspx




    They should be able to help you.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File and Ratings, 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:
    [email protected].
    Any views expressed are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
    "I don`t trust Bankers, I don`t trust Banks, and I don`t trust you.........Private Frazer".
    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, CitizensAdviceBureaux.
  • National_DebtlineNational_Debtline Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
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    Hi Darren

    The council would’ve needed to send any correspondence, including the summary warrant and charge for payment, to the last known address. Once the charge for payment expires the council can use forms of diligence to attempt recovery such as the use of sheriff officers and arresting bank accounts or wages. I would expect the council to send some reminder notices at the time if you owed council tax though.

    The council actually have 20 years to recover council tax under the Prescription and Limitation Act.

    I think you should request breakdowns of these debts from the council to see how they’ve calculated your liability and what payments they have on record from you. As you say though, it will be difficult to prove the payments you made if you no longer have access to the accounts the payments were made from.

    You should contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) if you disagree with the liability and want them to investigate the council.

    www.spso.org.uk

    If you end having to pay these debts you could apply to the sheriff for a time to pay order to set affordable instalments and prevent the use of any diligence. You could potentially also try a debt arrangement scheme (DAS) which is a bit like a debt management plan to include all of your debts including council tax and can also prevent the use of diligence.

    You might find our council tax recovery factsheet useful:

    www.nationaldebtline.org/S/factsheets/Pages/03%20SCOT%20Council%20tax%20recovery/Default.aspx


    James
    @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
  • thegreenonethegreenone Forumite
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    Not much help I'm afraid, but I do find it odd that the council have waited this long. When I inadvertently missed two CT payments, I had a Summons by the end of the second month and that was just two payments.


    Did you share a house and each was responsible for their own but some didn't pay?


    Good luck. Is there anything the bank can do to help?
  • Thanks for the advice everyone. I feel that, as I can't prove that I made payments in the years that the Council claim I didn't pay, I am up against a wall here. I certainly don't have the money to pay this in a lump sum, and to be honest to you, I don't want to. I find it grossly unfair personally.

    As suggested above, I will speak with the Council, and ask them to provide me with a concise breakdown of the payments that they have on their records as having been received by me in the years stated., and exactly what the sums provided by the collection agency refer to. I reckon it's better to ask for this information to be sent to me in writing, as I can then state my case more clearly, without allowing emotion to get the better of me in a face to face situation.

    The bank account that payments were made from was set to inactive back in 2012, and officially closed in 2014, and when I went to the back to ask for it to be reinstated upon my return to the UK in March of this year, I was informed that the bank couldn't even find any record of my account on their system. It was like it never existed.

    And I was the only person living at this property, between March 2003 and July 2010.

    I'm going to look into the information provided about by James at National Debtline. Really appreciate your help.
This discussion has been closed.