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Council tax - beliefs threatened yet it's their fault,, what to do?

(18 Posts)
thepobblewhohasnotoes Mon 23-Dec-13 07:37:36

I can't sleep as been worrying about this!

I'm a student, DP was too until he graduated earlier this year. We used to get a bill in my name, for £0 as exempt. When DP graduated we told them and asked them to put his name in the bill too (had been meaning to do this for a while anyway).

DP got a job at the end of the summer, which involves a lot of working away.

This autumn I realised I hadn't seen a council tax bill for ages, I tried to call the council to ask them, couldn't get through. That weekend, DP came home, and opened his post. There was a threat of court action for non payment from the council, with £85 costs added. I'm not in the habit of opening post addressed only to DP and so had missed this. (we must have missed another letter in the summer I expect).

DP went back to work away and I rang the council Monday to make a payment, and set up a DD. however the council refused to deal with me as my name was not on the bill. The guy I spoke to was very apologetic about them removing my name from the bill however and gave me an email address to write to, and implied I would get the £85 waived. He said nothing to worry about, just get payment set up.

I wrote email. Got no response, but DP called and spoke to a woman who said they were aware of my email, and they set up a payment plan by DD from his account. They apparently said I can't be on the bill as I'm a student and DP is not. I find this bizarre as I own the house and DP's name is not on it at all!

So this week we get another letter to DP only saying it went to court, they have added costs and will send round bailiffs if not paid by Dec 30th. The first DD was meant to cone out Friday but they haven't requested it (bank have confirmed). They're still asking for £85 costs.

What to do? I am going to call as soon as they're open (and hope they'll call me) but i don't trust them now. It's not the first time they've done one thing and said another. I'm scared they'll send the bailiffs now.

I'm away at relatives but am thinking j probably need to go back before new year now and go into the ckubcil tax office to sort it as I just don't trust them.

Will we get a bad credit rating because of this?

thepobblewhohasnotoes Mon 23-Dec-13 07:39:59

Gah! Stupid autocorrect! Bailiffs threatened not beliefs!

I have visions of the council sending people round to ruin people's Christmasses now by telling them their religious beliefs aren't real now, oh dear! grin

thepobblewhohasnotoes Mon 23-Dec-13 07:42:36

And that should say I'm going to call and hope they talk to me (not call me!) as they refuse to put my name on the bill they might not.

It'll be a miracle if anyone can make sense of this! If you're trying, thank you!

tribpot Mon 23-Dec-13 07:50:10

It sounds like at least half of everything your Council is telling you is bollocks. However, the pertinent fact here is that you do owe them some Council Tax and it hasn't been paid. Can you not make a payment to bring you up-to-date without relying on their ability to call on a DD? Just make an electronic payment.

That might be enough to get them off your backs for a while. However, as it sounds like they've erroneously removed you from the account, I think your DP is going to need to deal with them himself. He's the one with the liability.

MrsPnut Mon 23-Dec-13 08:01:54

You can't get a bad credit rating from this at all, it is completely different.

From my understanding, you were named as the sole council tax payer on the bill, supplying evidence that you were a student to claim the exemption.

When your DP left university you asked them to add his name to the bill and make him joint and severally liable. Instead they closed the account in your name and reopened one in his name only. This has fallen into arrears because you have not opened his post and seen the bill.

Now the account has been passed to bailiffs and a liability order has been obtained for non payment.

I would write to them, recorded delivery, sending a copy to your local ward councillor stating that your request for your DP to be added to the council tax account was not carried out and the actions they took were incorrect. Ask them to cancel the bailiffs, liability order and account with DP on and set up the correct account as per your original instructions. The person that told you that the bill couldn't be in your name because you are a student is talking out of their arse. the student part is an exemption applied after billing, and with your DP working means that you have a 25% exemption due to your student status but you are both liable to pay the bill.

MrsPnut Mon 23-Dec-13 08:05:11

Quote the hierarchy of responsibility of them if necessary.

Hierarchy of responsibility

There is an order of priority, or 'hierarchy', to who is responsible for the council tax payment on any property.

Basically, if there is someone in the property who fits the first description, they are liable. If there's no-one fitting that description, then the person liable is the one who fits the second description - and so on.

The order of hierarchy is:

The person who lives there, who owns the freehold;
The person who lives there, who owns the leasehold;
The person who lives there, who is a statutory or ‘secure’ tenant;
The person who lives there, who has a contractual licence;
The person who lives there, or;
The owner.

thepobblewhohasnotoes Mon 23-Dec-13 14:57:05

Really useful stuff, thanks all. I'm going to call them as soon as I get in.

noisytoys Tue 24-Dec-13 19:31:22

As a student living with a non student you won't be the named account holder, your DP will. You will still be listed as an occupier though. An occupier won't appear on the bill. It is because a student isn't held liable for the bill (hence the £0 bill when you were both students). With one of you being a student you will be eligible for a 25% student disregard - I am a council tax officer pm me if you want more info smile

MrsPnut Tue 24-Dec-13 19:41:48

Noisy toys, that's incorrect. She is the freeholder living in the property so she must be named on the bill as she is the person responsible for it being paid.

TalkinPeace Tue 24-Dec-13 20:48:59

OP
Rule one of dealing with claims where you accept that you owe most of the money but need time to think ....
pay at least 15% of it - ideally by FPS electronic transfer so it goes through over Christmas

that way if anybody chases you for the debt after the holiday, you have proof that the amount they are chasing for is incorrect so they have to go away for 7 days

it works with HMRC, credit cards, councils etc etc etc

holidaysarenice Fri 27-Dec-13 03:23:33

As a student living with a non student you won't be the named account holder, your DP will. You will still be listed as an occupier though. An occupier won't appear on the bill. It is because a student isn't held liable for the bill (hence the £0 bill when you were both students). With one of you being a student you will be eligible for a 25% student disregard - I am a council tax officer pm me if you want more info

Bollocks.
And if you claim to work for them then get it right!

AlaskaNebraska Fri 27-Dec-13 03:49:46

Blimey

gamerchick Fri 27-Dec-13 04:57:05

If you have a bill now then why can't you just go to any PP and pay it there? You only need the barcode. I still pay mine using the bill.

round2 Fri 27-Dec-13 11:38:11

The person who is liable to pay council tax in respect of any chargeable dwelling and any day is the person who falls within the first paragraph of subsection (2) below to apply, taking paragraph (a) of that subsection first, paragraph (b) next, and so on.
(2)A person falls within this subsection in relation to any chargeable dwelling and any day if, on that day—
(a)he is a resident of the dwelling and has a freehold interest in the whole or any part of it;
(b)he is such a resident and has a leasehold interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling which is not inferior to another such interest held by another such resident;
(c)he is both such a resident and a statutory [F5, secure or introductory tenant]of the whole or any part of the dwelling;
(d)he is such a resident and has a contractual licence to occupy the whole or any part of the dwelling;
(e)he is such a resident; or
(f)he is the owner of the dwelling.
(3)Where, in relation to any chargeable dwelling and any day, two or more persons fall within the first paragraph of subsection (2) above to apply, they shall each be jointly and severally liable to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day.
(4)Subsection (3) above shall not apply as respects any day on which one or more of the persons there mentioned fall to be disregarded for the purposes of discount by virtue of [F6paragraph 2 (severely mentally impaired) or 4 (students etc.) of Schedule 1 to this Act]F6 and one or more of them do not; and liability to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day shall be determined as follows—
(a)if only one of those persons does not fall to be so disregarded, he shall be solely liable;
(b)if two or more of those persons do not fall to be so disregarded, they shall each be jointly and severally liable.
(5)In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires—
“owner”, in relation to any dwelling, means the person as regards whom the following conditions are fulfilled—
(a)he has a material interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling; and
(b)at least part of the dwelling or, as the case may be, of the part concerned is not subject to a material interest inferior to his interest;
“resident”, in relation to any dwelling, means an individual who has attained the age of 18 years and has his sole or main residence in the dwelling.

The above was taken from the local government finance act 1992. You are a student and disregarded hence not being named on the bill. May I suggest, you contact your local authority who will be able to advise you correctly or your local CAB.

noisytoys Fri 27-Dec-13 12:09:55

See what round2 said, which is exactly what I said without the jargon - you are a disregarded student, therefore not liable.

TheGirlFromIpanema Fri 27-Dec-13 12:19:22

holiday and pnut my experience is exactly as noisy said.

I think maybe its different in different areas if your experience is different, but really; did you mean to be so rude shock

I own my home freehold with mortgage. When I was a student and exP lived with me he was solely responsible for the bill and therefore the only named person on the bill.

Landlords aren't generally named on council tax bills - yet they own the properties. Tis not noisy talking the bollocks here.

Rtfairy Mon 30-Dec-13 20:34:20

I also work in council tax and what noisy said is correct (not bollocks!)

Spindelina Thu 02-Jan-14 13:32:00

Just to add that my experience is also as noisy said. Can't say whether it's right or not - just that that's what happened to us.

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