Capita Academy Council Tax processing system

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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear Lambeth Borough Council,

I believe Lambeth Borough Council use the Capita Academy system as its Software package for the provision of Council Tax. Assuming this to be correct – and the following (see below) is a true account of how payments are appropriated to a person's Council Tax account when more than one sum is outstanding for different year's liability – will LBC disclosed how the laws regarding 'appropriation of payments' are adhered to and the case authority relied on.

“When any payment is received by the Council it will, unless otherwise specified by the Taxpayer, reduce the balance outstanding for the current year’s outstanding Council Tax or NNDR. Once payment in full has been made for the current financial year any payments subsequently received will go towards reducing any outstanding arrears from previous financial years.”

Yours faithfully,

fFaudwAtch UK

Richard Carter, Lambeth Borough Council

 
Information request
Our reference: IR132635

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Thank you for your request for information that was received on 2 November
2015.
 
 
We are dealing with your request and aim to respond within 20 working
days, by 30 November 2015.
 
 
We will advise you if we cannot provide you with the information requested
we will explain the reason why in our response.
 
 
Thank you for your interest in Lambeth Council.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Freedom of Information Team
London Borough of Lambeth
E-mail: [Lambeth Borough Council request email]
website: www.lambeth.gov.uk
 
Lambeth - the co-operative council
 
Disclaimers apply for full details see
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Danielle Manston, Lambeth Borough Council

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Information request
Our reference: IR132635

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Dear ‎Mr. Faudwatch Uk‏
Thank you for your request for information received on 2nd November 2015,
please see the response attached.
Thank you for your interest in Lambeth Council.
Yours sincerely
 
 
Danielle Manston
 
FOI team
London Borough of Lambeth
 
Tel. 02079260547
E-mail [email address]
Website: [1]www.lambeth.gov.uk
 
Lambeth - a Co-operative Council
 
"This email (and/or attachment) may contain information that is legally
privileged.  If you have received this in error please notify the sender
immediately"
 
 
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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear Danielle Manston,

Thank you for your reply. Could you please clarify the following in relation to my assumptions.

Re; "in the absence of clear insuctions the council will allocate payments to the current year or youngest debt first and arrears after that..."

I assume because of the cases from which authority has developed that the reason parameters are set so that when the system does not recognise a payment, monies are allocated to the current year, is to ensure that the general principles which allow for implied payments are adhered to.

For example in R v Miskin Lower Justices (1953) it was held that where an amount so obviously relates to a specific liability, it would be an unwarranted assumption to allocate the payment elsewhere. Presumably the reason why unrecognised payments do not get allocated to the oldest debt is because it would be an unwarranted assumption to allocate monies to a sum in arrears if it is likely to also put the current year's liability in arrears.

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear Danielle Manston,

Can you please let me know whether my 26 November 2015 email demonstrated that I had a correct understanding of the reason behind the council's response?

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

There's a strong case to argue in support of council's having a duty to ensure unspecified payments (unmatched) are never allocated to a previous year's debt if doing so would put the current year's liability in arrears.

It has been discovered that a number of local authorities (a minority) have their systems set so payments, which do not match a set instalment amount, are allocated to the most recent account. However, the majority appear not to, thus causing the potential for enforcement action to be triggered;- hardly something you would expect your friendly local authority to wish upon you. Although the authority in the following example has its system set to allocate payments to the oldest account in these circumstances, it does manually reallocate them in accordance with "notes" listed on the account.

But more relevant to these issues, and apparently in accordance with the judgment in R v Miskin Lower justices, payment would also be allocated to the current year if allocating an unmatched payment to the oldest debt would put the current year's liability also in arrears.

Question (1st March 2016):
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

'Am I correct in understanding that additional to the inference "from the account notes or payment arrangements listed on the account", if it is likely that allocating an unmatched payment to the oldest debt would put the current year's liability ALSO in arrears, the payment would be allocated to the current year?

It would, after all, be implied which debt payment was intended if allocating monies to an older balance would likely put the current year's liability in arrears. It would seem that the anomaly could be largely eliminated by setting the system to allocate payments which do not match a debt instalment to the current year's liability and at the same time complying more fully with the judgment in R v Miskin Lower justices.'

Answer (14 March 2016):
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

'Am I correct in understanding that additional to the inference "from the account notes or payment arrangements listed on the account", if it is likely that allocating an unmatched payment to the oldest debt would put the current year's liability ALSO in arrears, the payment would be allocated to the current year?

Yes this is correct.'

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear Danielle Manston,

Did you consider my 26 November 2015 email, i.e., had I correctly understood the reason behind the council's response?

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

OUR RESPONSE

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3...

I can confirm that both statements are a true reflection of our allocation processes.

The council tax regulations are silent as regards payments allocations. Therefore we follow the general principles

• that a payment tendered in an amount which matches an instalment calculated under the regulations, or has been otherwise agreed with the taxpayer in advance of payment, will be allocated against that instalment,

• where the tax payer gives clear instructions at the time of, or shortly after, the payment is made the payment will be allocated in accordance with those instructions,

• in the absence of clear instructions the council will allocate payments to the current year or youngest debt first and arrears after that is clear.

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