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

The request was successful.

Dear Melton 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 Melton Council have its computer software set to deal with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Reception, Melton Borough Council

Dear Customer

 

Thank you for contacting Melton Borough Council.  You can expect a
response within the next 10 working days.

 

You may be able to answer your query from our website www.melton.gov.uk

 

Have you signed up? You can now manage your Council Tax account online
through MyAccount

 

If your enquiry is of a more urgent nature please contact Customer
Services on 01664 502 502.

 

Many thanks

 

Customer Services

 

 

Melton Borough Council

Our Ref: 786208

Directline: 01664 502 502

Email: [1][Melton Borough Council request email] 

Date: 18/10/2017

Miss Gwyn Worth,
 

Dear Miss Worth,

Freedom of Information Request

Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 dated 17/10/2017. We can confirm receipt of your
request and we will be issuing a response within 20 working days.

In the meantime, if I can be of any further assistance then please do not
hesitate to contact me.

Yours Sincerely,

Linda Burn,
Customer Services Teamleader

References

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1. mailto:[Melton Borough Council request email]

CSC FOI, Melton Borough Council

2 Attachments

 

 

Hi

 

In response to the above FOI I can confirm that the Council Tax computer
software re Melton Borough Council Council tax payments is set to allocate
non- specific payments to the current years liability

 

Kind Regards

Alison

 

Alison Wilson

Financial Support Officer

Melton Borough Council

Tel 01664 502464

 

[1]www.melton.gov.uk

[2]Description: Melton Borough Council@MeltonBC

[3]lottery

 

FOI Summary: Dear Melton 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 Melton Council have its computer
software set to deal with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's
liability? Yours faithfully, Gwyn Worth .

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.melton.gov.uk/
3. https://www.meltonlottery.co.uk/

Dear CSC FOI,

Thank you for your response. I consider Melton Borough Council has provided the information I requested. The purpose of this exercise was to ascertain whether or not the principles surrounding the appropriation of payments were being adhered to.

R v Miskin Lower Justices (1953)

It was held in R v Miskin Lower Justices, that where an amount obviously relates to a specific liability, it would be an unwarranted assumption to allocate the payment elsewhere.

If no instruction is given at the time of payment, then the council has a duty to allocate payment to the account which it is most beneficial to the debtor to reduce. That would be in the majority of cases the current liability if the consequences of allocating payment to the arrears meant that the customer was subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs etc.

I understand by the council allocating unmatched payments to the current liability that it is the council's priority to ensure that unspecified payments are allocated to the account which is least burdensome for the debtor, and consequently the laws surrounding the appropriation of payments are being complied with. The circumstances would imply that this was the debtor's intention as the consequences of doing otherwise would be to put the current year's liability also in arrears.

If it appears I have misunderstood anything by what I have stated I would appreciate if you would correct me.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

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