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

The request was successful.

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

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Council Tax, Bradford City Council

Dear  Void
 
Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI
Act)
 
Thank you for your enquiry which was received on 05/10/2017 This matter is
now receiving our attention and we aim to have a response out to you by
02/11/2017, within the period of 20 working days allowed for disclosure.
 
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of the information.  We will also provide an explanation if any
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deciding whether or not to release the information.
 
Should you have any queries regarding your request, please feel free to
contact us at [Bradford City Council request email] quoting the reference no: FOI-OCT26
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Revenues and Benefits Service
 
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Council Tax, Bradford City Council

Dear Gwyn Worth
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
Reference no: [436485]
 
I refer to your request dated 05.10.2017 under the Freedom Of Information
Act asking to supply the following information:
 
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 Bradford City Council have its computer software set to deal with
non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Gwyn Worth
 
 
The Council’s response is set out below:
 
There are 26 payment rules which apply to an incoming payment.These rules
are designed to allocate the payment received to the correct financial
year within an account. If the payment fails to match one of these rules
it will be applied to the oldest years summons  debt within that
account.If a Customer complained that a payment had been allocated
incorrectly the payment would be reallocated. Costs could be incurred  on
any years debt if  the payment fell short of the bill payment plan or  the
payment arrangement or a combination of all payment arrangements.
Customers are encouraged to contact the Revenues team to make payment
arrangements if  they are struggling to pay the standard instalment
schemes.
 
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, if you are not
satisfied with the reply to your request you can ask for a review. A
request for a review must be submitted within 40 working days by
contacting [Bradford City Council request email] or by writing Information Governance Team,
Bradford Metropolitan District, 5th Floor, Britannia House,Hall Ings,
Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1HX.
 
If you are still not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review you
have the right of appeal to the Information Commissioner who can be
contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545700       URL: [1]http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk
 
Yours sincerely
 
David Lickley
Revenues and Benefits Service
 
This email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted
information and is intended solely for the individual to whom it is
addressed. It may contain sensitive or protectively marked material and
should be handled accordingly. If this email has been misdirected, please
notify the author immediately. If you are not the intended recipient you
must not disclose, distribute, copy, print or rely on any of the
information contained in it or attached, and all copies must be deleted
immediately. Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any
software viruses, any attachments to this email may nevertheless contain
viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to identify. You should
therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any
documents. Bradford Council will not accept any liability for damage
caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document
supplied with this email. Emails may be subject to recording and / or
monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation.
 
For Freedom of Information request, please visit our website
[2]http://www.bradford.gov.uk/foi before you submit a request as you may
find the information and data that you want in the data that we already
publish in our Publication Scheme.  The Scheme has a significant amount of
information which is available to you, without the need for a specific
request, and describes how we work and how to obtain information published
by our various departments.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
2. http://www.bradford.gov.uk/foi

Dear Council Tax,

Thank you for stating that 'if the payment fails to match one of these rules it will be applied to the oldest years summons debt within that account'.

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

Council Tax, Bradford City Council

Your email has been received and will be dealt with by the Council Tax
section at Bradford Metropolitan District Council.

 

Notifications of a change of address, requests for discounts / reliefs /
exemptions or more complex enquiries requiring amendments to Council Tax
computer records will be processed within 20 working days. Unless we need
to query the information you have provided, you will normally receive a
new or adjusted bill rather than an email response.

 

Our aim is to reply to all other correspondence and enquiry e-mails within
5 working days. Please do not send follow up e-mails before this

period has expired as these are dealt with in date order and this will not
lead to the enquiry being prioritised.

 

Information about Council Tax and on-line payment facilities are available
on the Council’s website at:

 

[1]www.bradford.gov.uk/counciltax

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.bradford.gov.uk/counciltax

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