Ensuring customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship

The request was successful.

Dear Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council,

A council taxpayer who owes more than just the current year's liability runs the risk of incurring additional recovery costs through a further application for a liability order if payments which are intended for the current year's liability are allocated by the council's computer to the previous year's liability. This would most likely happen where a non specific payment is made and the computer software is set to automatically allocate these payments to the oldest year's debt.

Councils computer systems have the necessary flexibility to be set to allow non specific payments to be allocated to the arrears or the current year's liability.

I understand that the majority of billing authorities have their computer software set to ensure that their customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship, i.e. so non specific payments are allocated to the current year's liability.

How does Hinckley and Bosworth Council have its computer software set to deal with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Faye Biddles, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Gwyn

 

Thank you for your information request, our response is attached.

 

Kind regards

 

Faye Biddles

Information Governance Officer

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council

 

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Dear Faye Biddles,

Thank you for stating that 'the system automatically allocates the payment to the oldest debt'.

Would you please confirm whether or not any measures are in place to check that allocating an unmatched payment to the oldest debt in these circumstances would have the consequences of putting the current year's liability also in arrears, and if so, in accordance with R. v Miskin Lower Justices [1953] 1 Q.B. 533, whether the payment would be moved in respect of the current year's account to avoid unnecessary recovery action, additional costs etc.?

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Faye Biddles, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Dear Gwyn

The council tax team look at the cash postings every report day and transfer any payments where it appears that it has been auto allocated to the wrong year. This procedure reduces the risk of unnecessary recovery action being taken.

Kind regards

Faye Biddles

Dear Faye Biddles,

Thank you for clarifying the matter. It is encouraging that Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council is apparently mindful of the principles surrounding the appropriation of payments and implement them.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth