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Council Tax - Liability Order

(9 Posts)
Stellarpunk Fri 30-Aug-13 11:29:01

Very worried about CT situation.

Have had money difficulties in the past which has resulted in us being in arrears - no more than 2 months and now all up to date.

We received the summons to court letter (dated for 27 Jun) and I agreed a plan. I was assured that no further action would be taken and that a liability order wouldn't be pursued.

Again, had a tight month and waited on getting paid yesterday before paying CT. Cue another letter dispatched on the 27th which stated that a LO HAD in fact been obtained and we had now lost the right to pay in instalments - now demanding the full balance (~£1000) to be paid within 14 days or bailiffs etc

Contacted the council and on their advice have paid the one months arrears and Septembers (so £256 in all - Septembers actually due on the 1st). A referral had been put in place for reinstating the payment plan and that I would be contacted yesterday or this morning. Needless to say this hasn't happened. On ringing the council again was told they had 'no idea' when I would be contacted to confirm that the plan was in place despite that fact we are now several days into the 14 days period. I am finding this incredibly stressful.

My questions are (and I'm not disputing the bill btw and to clarify I am not in arrears wrt to payment plan);

1 - Is it lawful for the council to mislead someone into thinking that the LO wouldn't be obtained then do it anyway?
2 - When the LO order was granted from the magistrates court, why wasn't I informed of this by letter?
3 - I agree I was late paying the plan this week. But what constitutes 'late'? And I have received no written confirmation of the payment plan complete with T&C anyway?
3 - Why cant the council give me an immediate decision on the reinstatement of the plan of bailiffs are to be involved? (to be fair, no-one perhaps except the council could perhaps answer that one)

Could be £700 car which I need for work (am a part time teacher) be seized?

It all strikes me as a shoddy sham. A way of ensuring via legal menaces that CT is paid. Where is the paper trail? The procedures? How can I be taken to court and simply not be informed of the judgement? That is, until it can be used to strong-arm money out of me by threatening the bailiffs?

Sorry long! smile

LIZS Fri 30-Aug-13 11:44:02

iirc you don't need to have an order in place to lose the right to pay by instalments if you miss one. If you are now up to date and intend to keep so then no reason to take you to court. I'd suggest you go to the council office and speak to someone face to face then get confirmation in writing. Technically your car is at risk should they pursue the debt, it isn't a tool of trade.

Stellarpunk Fri 30-Aug-13 11:59:52

Thanks LIZS for responding. I would agree with you in that I don't see why they would want to go further re baliffs (They already have had the LO taken out). What I really want from the council is to let me know what's going on now that I'm in the 14 days period.

When I rung them yesterday morning and today I got the distinct impression that they had a lot of cases to go through. That would make sense if alot of people got the letter I did yesterday.

Rtfairy Mon 02-Sep-13 21:37:12

Sounds like the council has already been to court and obtained a liability order.

Once a summons is issued you usually have an option to either pay balance in full and get summons withdrawn or to set up an arrangement. If an arrangement is set up the council still goes to court to obtain liability order which gives them the authority to either send account to bailiffs or attach to your earnings should you default on your arrangement.

Hope that helps.

mignonette Mon 02-Sep-13 21:41:27

You can only receive two late payment demands before they demand the sum.

You can ask for the remaining payments to be readjusted so instead of the total amount being spread over ten-eleven months, they are spread over twelve. This will lower your monthly amount due.

Tape all calls to them. I have done this on behalf of patients and have won tribunals against the council for CT/HB overpayments/late payments etc because of their incompetence.

mignonette Mon 02-Sep-13 21:42:17

If you had a court summons there would also have been extra court and legal charges added. This would be clearly stated on letters.

Stellarpunk Wed 04-Sep-13 20:16:19

Thanks for your help, the original terms were reinstated and I apologised for the late payment.

mignonette Wed 04-Sep-13 21:14:56

That's good Stellar

Potterer Fri 06-Sep-13 11:48:20

I know I am wading in late but I used to work in Council Tax so I thought I would shed a bit of light on what happens.

Firstly, we were always helpful to people who were struggling, we tried to make a difference between those who can't pay and those who won't pay.

A payment arrangement would never be made without going to court to obtain a liability order. The liability order gives the Council the right to pursue collection of monies owed through other means than just writing you a letter.

So any arrangement made to pay in instalments would be subject to that liability order. We, as a very small council, would process 1500 liability orders at a time shock i

If anyone turned up to court it was usually to make a payment arrangement. It is rare for the summons to be withdrawn, if you are liable for the council tax then the liability order confirms that. It was also rare that a judge would agree to see a person arguing their case, because after a reminder, a final notice and a summons if they hadn't contacted the council to make a payment arrangement or explain why they were struggling, the judge didn't want to know. Harsh, but true where I was.

The liability order allows the council to collect money directly from your salary from your employer. It is a fixed percentage and will scare the pants off you, so net salary wise if your earnings....

Exceeding £740 but not exceeding £900 it is 7%

Exceeding £900 but not exceeding £1,420 12%

Exceeding £1,420 but not exceeding £2,020 17%

Exceeding £2,020 17% in respect of the first £2,020 and 50% in respect of the remainder

And yes, I actually got my ex-boss with the last one of those, and took all that he owed in one fell swoop grin he was a bastard though.

If someone is self employed then clearly the route of non-payment is bailiff. If you keep the council informed it makes things much better. I had one lady on a weekly plan and she rang me every week, some weeks she was late paying but as long as she contacted me I could update her account.

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