Dear Ryedale District 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 Ryedale District Council have its computer software set to deal with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?
Please find attached the response to your recent Freedom Of Information
Freedom of Information
Tel: 01653 600666
[Ryedale District Council request email] | www.ryedale.gov.uk
Ryedale District Council | Ryedale House | Malton | North Yorkshire | YO17
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Thank you for your reply.
Re; "A customer receives at least a reminder and final notice prior to us issuing a summons. If they have made payment which is not accounted for when they receive these notices, they can contact us and we will always endeavour to resolve the matter and advise the customer about allocation of payments to avoid the situation occurring again."
I would like to query the above element of your response.
It is not the purpose of statutory notices (reminders, final notices etc.) to alert customers that the billing authority may have wrongly allocated payments. The notices are to inform the customer that they need to pay a certain amount by a due date to avoid further action being taken. This is one reason why statutory notices can not play a legitimate part in the appropriation process, another being they cannot be relied on as the law provides that a taxpayer has only a limited number of chances before no more reminders are issued.