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Thread: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

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    Default 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Good evening all,

    I hope some kind soul on here can advise me. My local council suddenly 3 weeks ago sent me an outstanding bill for Council Tax dating back to 2003. Obviously I have no way of checking what's what as I have no records dating back to then. I do remember that around that time I was quite ill and spent a lot of time in and out of hospital. All benefits I applied for at that time were a mess and the Council screwed up so badly on my housing benefit that I was nearly evicted. Anyway, I think it's probably useless fighting this and contacted them asking to pay in instalments. They duly sent me an Income and Expenditure Form, which I completed and returned, with an offer of £25 per month. It really is all about I can afford.

    Lo and behold, today I receive a response saying "the arrangment" (I didn't arrange anything as far as I can tell) is for £160 per month with the first payment to be made by 7th June!. They say they have disregarded a large proportion of my outgoings as they are not priorities, Credit cards, loan, pet insurance, mobile etc. I explained that I couldn't just stop paying them as then my credit rating would go to pot and I'd end up in further debt probably with charges added. The vulture on the other end of the phone said there's nothing I can do, it's £160 and that's that. Is this correct?

    I'm at a loss as to why this debt has appeared now, I've been paying council tax to the same council now for the past five years and also why it's suddenly so urgent I pay it that they are prepared to throw me into debt to get their money.

    Many thanks in advance for any responses.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    The bill is for £460.90 but I paid £46.90 last week so there is £400 outstanding.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    You need to put them to strict proof the debt exists - otherwise i could turn round and say you owe me £100 for writing this. You need to speak to someone at the Council and ask the following questions:
    1 - how many Liability Orders they have against you
    2 - the dates they were obtained
    3 - the addresses they were for
    4 - the period of time each covers
    5 - how much each one was for
    6 - how much is still outstanding
    7 - the dates they were passed on for enforcement
    8 - the dates & amounts of any payments

    Providing the Liability Order was obtained within 6 years of it being due then it will never be Statute Barred.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Quote Originally Posted by FrillyFrog View Post
    Lo and behold, today I receive a response saying "the arrangment" (I didn't arrange anything as far as I can tell) is for £160 per month with the first payment to be made by 7th June!. They say they have disregarded a large proportion of my outgoings as they are not priorities, Credit cards, loan, pet insurance, mobile etc. I explained that I couldn't just stop paying them as then my credit rating would go to pot and I'd end up in further debt probably with charges added. The vulture on the other end of the phone said there's nothing I can do, it's £160 and that's that. Is this correct?

    I'm at a loss as to why this debt has appeared now, I've been paying council tax to the same council now for the past five years and also why it's suddenly so urgent I pay it that they are prepared to throw me into debt to get their money.

    Many thanks in advance for any responses.
    Unfortunately they are correct about disregarding your Credit card bills as they are not seen as a priority debt and can be reduced to the bare minimum - what happens to your credit record does not concern them. In my view you have done the correct thing in making a payment whilst you find out whether you do actually owe this. If it turns out you do have to pay then I would suggest pay the Council direct at a rate you can afford and at a time you can manage - £5 every Thursday would be a good idea. This quickly builds a payment history and could make life difficult should they take things further.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Thanks for this. Say I pay £5 every Thursday as suggested would they still be able to take me back to court? What will happen if I don't (I can't) pay this £160 before 7th June?

    I don't think fighting it is any good as I have nothing to back up anything I say. I spent a large part of that year in and out of hospital and my finances ended up in a right mess which I've only just about got straight now. I just don't fancy a bad record again when it's taken me so long to get here.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Quote Originally Posted by FrillyFrog View Post
    Thanks for this. Say I pay £5 every Thursday as suggested would they still be able to take me back to court? What will happen if I don't (I can't) pay this £160 before 7th June? Well they could seeing as you have already filled in I&E which shows some payments that could be dropped or dispensed with until this is paid - not being funny but @ £160 it's only 3 months max. By the time they apply for another hearing even at £5 per week you will have paid a bit more off + you are showing willingness to pay.

    I don't think fighting it is any good as I have nothing to back up anything I say. I spent a large part of that year in and out of hospital and my finances ended up in a right mess which I've only just about got straight now. I just don't fancy a bad record again when it's taken me so long to get here.
    I would still make them prove it. There have been many in the past who have been told that an entry exists in the Council records but when asked to prove it they cannot. Don't just take their word for it.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    I will ask them for the details. I've still no idea where I'm going to get £160 from in the next week though. I've just paid another £10 online.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Honestly don't panic, you are in the driving seat and showing willing, just make sure you keep your payments going.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Ok, I'm trying not to panic...honest....

    Can I just say "I hate Trafford Borough Council". Their staff appear to be sub-human and devoid of rational thought process.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Hi Frilly Frog,

    Ploddertom has given excellent advice above. You must make sure they are put to strict proof over this, and as long as you are paying something they cannot accuse you of willfully not paying.

    The only other thing I'd be interested in is the Income and Expenditure form they sent you. Often organisations put headings on these to favour themselves, rather than being totally impartial. If you pm me, I might be able to help you check that as long as you have a copy of what you sent.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    I have asked them to provide the details Plodderton suggested in his post above.

    I've had a further reponse from them today saying "as a gesture of goodwill" they will reduce payments to £130 per month. This is still too much.

    Whilst I am waiting on the proof as requested, should I continue to make payments?

    Labman, I have it on my work computer. When I am back in next week, I shall PM you.

    Thanks all.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    I have just received this email from them when I asked the questions you did Plodderton:-

    "Dear FrillyFrog

    Thank you for your e-mail as below.

    A liability order was obtained for the property (address inserted) for the council tax year 2003/04 which covers 01/04/2003-30/11/2003 the date you vacated. (We were only alerted to the fact that you had moved by the successive tenant who contacted us on 13/02/2004. The agents confirmed your move date to us.) This was obtained on 17/09/2003 for £673.84. There is £390.00 outstanding.

    The account was passed to Phoenix the bailiff on 11/12/2003 and subsequently returned by them 20/09/2004, unable to collect.

    An Attachment of Earnings Order was then applied 13/05/2005 to ******* (a company I only worked for for a short time)

    To date there have been 3 payments applied to this account totalling £78.90, £22.00 paid to the bailiff on 08/06/2004, £46.90 paid via debit card 20/05/2013 and £10.00 paid 28/05/2013.

    Please find the attached copy bill for your information."



    They have attached the bill. Next step please?






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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Keep paying as much as you can comfortably afford regular as clockwork each week direct to the council. Remember they cannot have what you haven't got.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Can they return it to the Bailiff's? TBC are a real hardline council and take no prisoners.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Quote Originally Posted by FrillyFrog View Post
    TBC ... take no prisoners.
    Does that mean they won't try to get you gaoled?
    I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be a lawyer.

    For sensible legal advice http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor.law

    For FREE legal representation, go to the National Probono Centre

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Perhaps I could have worded that better!

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    As you are paying something at present, they might not try enforcement. If they do threaten that, why not offer them your employment details for another Attachment to Earnings Order?
    I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be a lawyer.

    For sensible legal advice http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor.law

    For FREE legal representation, go to the National Probono Centre

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Quote Originally Posted by CleverClogs View Post
    As you are paying something at present, they might not try enforcement. If they do threaten that, why not offer them your employment details for another Attachment to Earnings Order?
    Why would I want them to set up an Attachement Order? I've said I'll pay but on a 10 year old debt I fail to see the urgency that it needs paying now so much so they are happy for me to go into debt to clear it.

    I just need to know what are their options now. If it turns out they'll send it to Bailiff's, set up an Attachment Order or it'll wreck my credit rating I'll just have to shove it on the Credit card and have done with it.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Quote Originally Posted by FrillyFrog View Post
    Why would I want them to set up an Attachment Order?
    I only suggested that if TBC started to threaten enforcement once more.
    I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be a lawyer.

    For sensible legal advice http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor.law

    For FREE legal representation, go to the National Probono Centre

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Quote Originally Posted by FrillyFrog View Post
    Why would I want them to set up an Attachement Order? I've said I'll pay but on a 10 year old debt I fail to see the urgency that it needs paying now so much so they are happy for me to go into debt to clear it.

    I just need to know what are their options now. If it turns out they'll send it to Bailiff's, set up an Attachment Order or it'll wreck my credit rating I'll just have to shove it on the Credit card and have done with it.
    Any formal solution is going to be based on you trying to repay your debt as swiftly as possible. If you're paying what you can afford, keep doing so and wait to see what action they take. As I said above, if you can't afford what they want, they can't have it. A good Income and Expenditure form would demonstrate this to them.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Thanks but the whole point is that I don't want to get to the stage where they have taken action, I just really wanted to know if there's a way legally I can get them to be sensible about the repayments. They are suggesting I simply stop paying other comittments until it's paid but in the real world, this really isn't very practical and bound to have a knock on effect.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Quote Originally Posted by FrillyFrog View Post
    Thanks but the whole point is that I don't want to get to the stage where they have taken action, I just really wanted to know if there's a way legally I can get them to be sensible about the repayments. They are suggesting I simply stop paying other comittments until it's paid but in the real world, this really isn't very practical and bound to have a knock on effect.
    The I&E is key, and until we know what that says it's almost impossible to give you an answer. If you're paying all you can, then they are unlikely to take action. CT is a priority debt though and must be paid before other non-priority debts. That is sadly the result of not having paid it, it has consequences.

    If you want to do a new I&E sooner than next week, pm me and we'll see what can be sorted out. It's quite possible there will be a knock on effect though - we'd have to see after doing the I&E.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    It doesn't matter thanks, I'll just whack it on the creditcard and have done with it. It just find it incredible they can appear after this length of time and demand any ridiculous amount they decide fit and actively encourage you to get in debt elsewhere. It's not possible to simply stop paying my other other comittments, it's a ludicrous idea.

    I usually do pay my debts but in this case, as already stated, I was in and out of hospital for most of that year and the council really screwed up my claims for HB and Ctax benefit and ended up leaving me in a right mess.

    Thanks anyway.

    Why don't computer hackers do something useful for a change like hacking into to councils' council tax and debt recovery systems and (and maybe the payroll system for those that think this is a decent way to earn a living) wiping them out instead of bothering about the Whitehouse etc...?

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    I'm not happy with you doing this when you clearly don't think you owe all this money.

    I don't believe the council are telling you to stop paying your other debts, they are saying credit cards etc.... should be reduced to the minimum payment so that this priority debt (it falls in the same category as your rent/mortgage, gas, electric, etc...) is cleared.

    Does their account in post 12 ring true with you? You are perfectly entitled to get a breakdown so the debt is proven. You know you owe a certain amount, and so as long as you continue making payments I believe it is unlikely they will take action. Sadly nobody can give you that assurance.

    Have you been to see your councillor. If you're not sure how to contact them Link 9 from here will let you contact them:

    http://www.legalbeagles.info/forums/...1-Useful-Links

    I can honestly see no reason not to complete a proper I&E. This would prove beyond doubt to the council that you can only afford what you say.

    Ultimately though it has to be your decision what you do.

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    Default Re: 10 year old Council Tax Debt

    Quote Originally Posted by FrillyFrog View Post
    It doesn't matter thanks, I'll just whack it on the credit card and have done with it. It just find it incredible they can appear after this length of time and demand any ridiculous amount they decide fit and actively encourage you to get in debt elsewhere.
    It does make one wonder if they have shares in a payday loan shark.
    I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be a lawyer.

    For sensible legal advice http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor.law

    For FREE legal representation, go to the National Probono Centre

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