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Council tax payment allocation in accordance with R. v Miskin Lower Justices [1953]

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Dear Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council,

The Council makes the statement quoted below from the link:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

"Our Council Tax system is set up to allocate payments to the oldest debt if a payment is made which does not match another payment that is due"

The council's statement above does not agree with the judgment in the case of R. v Miskin Lower Justices (see below link to the judgment):

http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?fil...

The judgment clarifies the position in cases where a creditor has to make a decision as to which account payment should be allocated when a debtor has one account more burdensome for him than another and his payment is unspecified

Clearly the council's statement, if it where to agree with the judgment, would be.....

[[ Where the debtor does not make any reference as to were the payment should be allocated then the creditor must allocate the payment to the account which it is most beneficial to the debtor to reduce. ]]

Q. Where did the council obtain the information regarding the appropriation of payments case law which conflicts with the judgment in R. v Miskin Lower Justices [1953]?

Yours faithfully,

S Staffordson

foi, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

Thank you for your e-mail, requesting that certain information is made available to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000/Environmental Information Regulations 2004. The Council has now started to process your request.

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Please quote the reference number 19/647 in any future correspondence about this request.

If you are dissatisfied with this response, then you may ask the Council to conduct an internal review of your case by writing to the Council’s FOI Team ([Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council request email]). If you are still not content after the Council has conducted an internal review of your case, then you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the internal review procedure provided by the Borough Council.

The Information Commissioner can be contacted in writing at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Please quote the reference number at the top of this email in any future correspondence about this request.

Adrian Stanfield
Freedom of Information Co-Ordinator

website: www.tmbc.gov.uk

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Glen Pritchard, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

Dear S Staffordson

We do not have a written policy, however, where a payment is received which does not match any payment due our system will automatically apply it to the oldest debt irrespective of the recovery action being taken. If that debt is currently in the process of another recovery action e.g. Charging order or Attachment of Earnings then, once identified, it will be manually moved to the oldest non-secured debt.

A customer can choose to have the payment applied to a debt with a recovery action against it so that it can be cleared and the Charging Order or attachment removed. Such a request would need to be completed in writing.

Where the value of a payment received equals that of an instalment/amount owing, the payment will be credited to the relevant matching amount regardless of to which year that bill relates. This is in accordance with the precedence set in the case of R v Miskin Lower Justices 1953

If you are dissatisfied with this response, then you may ask the Council to conduct an internal review of your case by writing to the Council’s FOI Team ([Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council request email]). If you are still not content after the Council has conducted an internal review of your case, then you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the internal review procedure provided by the Borough Council.

The Information Commissioner can be contacted in writing at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Please quote the reference number at the top of this email in any future correspondence about this request.

Regards

Glen Pritchard IRRV (Hons)
Principal Revenue Officer

Manage your council tax account online and register for paperless billing at www.tmbc.gov.uk/ct-online

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Dear Glen Pritchard,

I will put my request another way.

Where did the council obtain the advice/authority that enabled it to determine that it would be appropriate for the council to allocate payment which did not match a current instalment to the oldest debt outstanding. For example, a lawyer, the council's monitoring officer, the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV) 10 October 2002 Insight magazine http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?fil...

Or here?
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

Dear Glen Pritchard,

I clarified what I was asking for (FOI request) on 13 October. Have you had time to consider a response?

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

Glen Pritchard, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

I am currently out of the office until 5 December 2019. If you have any
urgent messages, please redirect your e-mail to
[email address]. Alternatively, I will respond to your email
(if appropriate) as soon as is practicable on my return.

Glen Pritchard, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

Dear S Staffordson

There are two pieces of case law that give precedence over different points of law, one over the situation where a customer gives specific instructions, the other when they do not.

Where the value of a payment received equals that of an instalment/amount owing the payment will be credited to the relevant matching amount regardless of what year that bill relates to. This is in accordance with the precedence sent in the case of R v Miskin Lower Justices 1953

Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill, the amount can be allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit. The authority for this is the case of Peter v Anderson 1814.

Please note the Council does not hold any information in relation to your request. The Freedom of Information Act only covers information held in recorded form, therefore local authorities are not required to create new information or find the answer to a question from staff who may happen to know it. Staff dealing with appropriation of payments are trained in their field of expertise and relevant case law material can be accessed as it is publicly available.

As previously advised, If you are dissatisfied with this response, then you may ask the Council to conduct an internal review of your case by writing to the Council’s FOI Team ([Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council request email]). If you are still not content after the Council has conducted an internal review of your case, then you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the internal review procedure provided by the Borough Council.

The Information Commissioner can be contacted in writing at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Please quote the reference number at the top of this email in any future correspondence about this request.

Regards

Glen Pritchard IRRV (Hons)
Revenues Manager

Manage your council tax account online and register for paperless billing at www.tmbc.gov.uk/ct-online

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Dear Glen Pritchard,

"There are two pieces of case law that give precedence over different points of law, one over the situation where a customer gives specific instructions, the other when they do not."

Peter v Anderson 1814 gives precedence over both of the above situations.

I understand that the authority in the Miskin case generally clarifies that where an amount obviously relates to a specific liability, it would be an unwarranted assumption to allocate the payment elsewhere thus payment must be carried to that account which is most beneficial to the debtor to reduce.

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

Glen Pritchard, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

I am currently out of the office until 13 December 2019. If you have any
urgent messages, please redirect your e-mail to
[email address]. Alternatively, I will respond to your email
(if appropriate) as soon as is practicable on my return.

Dear Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council,

You will probably not wish to take this into consideration but for what it's worth, there was no precedent set in the Miskin case based on payments matching the instalment amount of a particular year.

https://tinyurl.com/vk2pwhn

It is clear from the first paragraph of the judgment that the debtor (husband) did not in any of the amounts paid once make a payment matching an amount that he was required to under the terms of the maintenance/committal orders. The judge held that an appropriation was inferred from the circumstances to be the debt which it was most beneficial for the debtor to reduce (see quoted from the judgment).

"...the question whether the payments made by the husband should be appropriated to the original debt depended on the particular facts of the case. The husband would be likely to wish the payments to be utilized in discharge of the original debt..." (so that he would secure his release from the committal order)

Yours faithfully,

S Staffordson

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