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

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Dear Hull City Council,

The Local Government Ombudsman makes the statements quoted below from the link:
https://www.lgo.org.uk/decisions/benefit...

"Mr F made..payments totalling £941 by cheque for Properties X and Z, his covering letters said which debts these payments were for. Because his payments did not match specific instalments, they were automatically allocated to the oldest debts....

...The court ..granted a liability order for the 2015/16 council tax debt for Properties X and Z, which totalled £1,656.03. In court the magistrates did not consider the way Mr F’s payments had been allocated....

....Mr F then complained to the Council that it had not allocated his payments for Properties X and Z to the 2015/16 debt. The Council said that because of the court’s decision in January 2016 the payments would remain allocated against the oldest debts and the 2015/16 council tax for Properties X and Z remained due..

...After the Council applied for the order Mr F made further payments of £941 to this account. These payments were allocated to outstanding debts from 2011/12 to 2014/15 as they did not match exact instalments. When the Court granted the liability order it decided that those payments would remain allocated to the earlier debts. The 2015/16 council tax was therefore still owing..."

The statements above (which reflect the council's actions) do 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. Essentially what can be taken from the judgment is that where a debtor makes no reference as to where 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

Information Governance, Hull City Council

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Town Clerk's Service
Hull City Council
The Guildhall

 

Information Governance, Hull City Council

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information Request - 001906/19

 

With regard to your Freedom of Information request received on 16
September 2019, please find our response below.

 

 

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]?

 

 

A.

The Council acted upon the original instruction of the Council Tax payer.

 

Please refer to the following parts of the Ombudsman’s decision:

 

39. In March 2015 the Council applied for a liability order for Property X
of £5,365.73. In court Mr F said he had been paying the council tax for
Property X but the Council had wrongly allocated the payments to Property
Y’s account. The court was unable to grant the liability order for
Property X. The Council transferred funds from Property Y to Property X’s
account.

 

62. This is a misunderstanding. After the Council wrote to Mr F on 31
January 2015 he told the Court in March 2015 that all his previous
payments had been for Property X. The Council therefore transferred these
payments – at his request – from Property Y’s account to Property X’s.
This created a new debt for Property Y and the January 2015 letter was no
longer relevant. One of the liability orders granted in January 2016 was
for this Property Y debt.

 

 

 

We hope that you will be satisfied with our response and should you
require any further information then please do not hesitate to contact
us. 

 

 

Should you wish to complain about our response in any way this must
initially be done by e-mailing [1][Hull City Council request email] or by
contacting us at The Information Governance Team, The Guildhall, Alfred
Gelder Street, Hull, HU1 2AA.

 

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review then you
may take your complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the
government body established to enforce the legislation.

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House Water Lane,

Wilmslow,

Cheshire,

SK9 5AF

 

Web site: [2]https://ico.org.uk

Report a concern: [3]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/

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Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 (national rate)

 

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[5]www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence

 

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

 

Information Governance Team

Town Clerk's Service

Hull City Council

Tel: 01482 300300

show quoted sections

Dear Information Governance,

I will put my request another way. Regarding paras 46 and 65 of the LGO decision........

"46. Mr F made further payments totalling £941 by cheque for Properties X and Z, his covering letters said which debts these payments were for. Because his payments did not match specific instalments, they were automatically allocated to the oldest debts.

65. With regards to the council tax charges for Properties X and Z. The liability order granted in January 2016 was for 2015/16 council tax arrears. After the Council applied for the order Mr F made further payments of £941 to this account. These payments were allocated to outstanding debts from 2011/12 to 2014/15 as they did not match exact instalments. When the Court granted the liability order it decided that those payments would remain allocated to the earlier debts. The 2015/16 council tax was therefore still owing."

Where did the council obtain the advice/authority that enabled it to determine that it would be appropriate for the council to automatically 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

Information Governance, Hull City Council

Dear Sir or Madam

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information Request - 002145/19

 

With regard to your Freedom of Information request received on 15 October
2019, please find our response below.

 

Q.

Re FOI 1906/19 - Council tax payment allocation in accordance with R. v
Miskin Lower

 

I will put my request another way. Regarding paras 46 and 65 of the LGO
decision........

 

"46. Mr F made further payments totalling £941 by cheque for Properties X
and Z, his covering letters said which debts these payments were for.
Because his payments did not match specific instalments, they were
automatically allocated to the oldest debts.

 

65. With regards to the council tax charges for Properties X and Z. The
liability order granted in January 2016 was for 2015/16 council tax
arrears. After the Council applied for the order Mr F made further

payments of £941 to this account. These payments were allocated to
outstanding debts from 2011/12 to 2014/15 as they did not match exact
instalments. When the Court granted the liability order it

decided that those payments would remain allocated to the earlier debts.
The 2015/16 council tax was therefore still owing."

 

Where did the council obtain the advice/authority that enabled it to
determine that it would be appropriate for the council to automatically
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
[1]http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?fil...

 

Or here?

[2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

6093337.pdf

 

 

A.

Further to our response of 4 October 2019 Hull City Council holds no
further recorded information that will answer your request.  Hull City
Council decision is to abide by the ruling of the LGO and any issues with
this must be directed to the LGO.

 

 

 

We hope that you will be satisfied with our response and should you
require any further information then please do not hesitate to contact
us. 

 

 

Should you wish to complain about our response in any way this must
initially be done by e-mailing [3][Hull City Council request email] or by
contacting us at The Information Governance Team, The Guildhall, Alfred
Gelder Street, Hull, HU1 2AA.

 

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review then you
may take your complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the
government body established to enforce the legislation.

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House Water Lane,

Wilmslow,

Cheshire,

SK9 5AF

 

Web site: [4]https://ico.org.uk

Report a concern: [5]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/

Email: [6][email address]

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 (national rate)

 

ICO states that any emails you choose to send to them, or that they send
to you, are not secure as email messages can be intercepted.

ICO asks that you include a contact telephone number on any emails you
send to them. 

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Information Governance Team

Town Clerk's Service

Hull City Council

Tel: 01482 300300

show quoted sections

Dear Information Governance,

Thank you for your response which is quoted below for convenience:

"Further to our response of 4 October 2019 Hull City Council holds no further recorded information that will answer your request. Hull City Council decision is to abide by the ruling of the LGO and any issues with this must be directed to the LGO."

Firstly, I would have expected that there would be further recorded information that would answer my request because when a decision is made with potentially legal implications the council is required to consult the Monitoring Officer and such procedures should be formally recorded. A decision that requires setting the parameters of a council tax payment processing system to automatically allocate non-specific payments to the oldest account rather than to the in-year account is one such decision.

Regarding the second point, the ruling of the LGO is irrelevant to the request as the case was referred to merely for demonstrating the way that HCC allocate payments in conflict with the judgment in R v Miskin Lower Justices. Furthermore, you must be aware that the LGO does not make decisions based on proper legal advice and routinely finds in favour of the Local Authority because this is the way government intended the organisation to function. To put it another way, the LGO's decisions are not worth the paper they are written on.

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are S Staffordson please sign in and let everyone know.