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Internal staff guidance on local taxation - Payment allocation

Adam Adams made this Freedom of Information request to The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

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Dear The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman,

The guidance (immediately below) I believe is (or has been) used by LGO investigators, but conflicts with other guidance (below that). Has the LGO guidance been reviewed or is it still followed?

http://legalbeagles.info/forums/showthre...

"Internal staff guidance on local taxation

Section 7 – Common faults that result in complaints to authorities and to us

Payment allocation

The allocation of payments can give rise to problems, especially when there are arrears or summonsed debt.

Council officers do not watch each account and decide where each payment will go. The computer system will allocate it, according to some simple rules. Usually payments which are exactly equal to instalments or exact multiples of instalments will be allocated to the current instalment debt. After a summons is issued the computer may then allocate instalment payments to any arrears – as the right to pay by instalments is been lost once a final notice has been issued. "

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

"LOCAL AUTHORITY REVENUES

PAYMENTS–APPROPRIATION

Where several accounts are payable to the local authority by one debtor, the debtor may, when making a payment which is insufficient to discharge all the debts, appropriate the money paid to a particular debt or debts and if the payment is accepted as so appropriated it must be applied in the manner directed by the debtor.

It may be, as frequently happens, that payments are received without any indication of appropriations by the debtor and in these cases the creditor may apply the payments as he best thinks fit (Peter v Anderson (1814) 5 TAUNT 596). The allocation will eventually have to be communicated to the debtor but this is frequently done at the time of payment in the form of the receipt.

The debtor has first choice but his right to appropriate must take the form of a communication of his intention. This communication may be express or implied but should be clear enough for the creditor to know that his own right of appropriation cannot arise (Stepney Corporation v Osofsky (1937) 3 All ER 289). It follows that it is not essential for there to be a specific expression by the debtor as to which account is to be credited. The intention may be gathered from other circumstances or implied by the debtor's conduct. The amount paid may so obviously relate to a specific liability that it would be an unwarranted assumption to allocate it elsewhere (R v Miskin Lower Justices (1953) 1 QB 533).

Once an election is made by the creditor and communicated to the debtor, it is irrevocable (Albermarle Supply Co Ltd v Hind and Co (1928) KB 307)."

Yours faithfully,

Adam Adams

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

This is to acknowledge receipt of your email. If you are making a request for information, you should get an acknowledgement from us within the next 2-3 days with a reference number and a date by which we will respond to your request. Please note, however, that this address is only for use in relation to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act and subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act. If your email is in relation to a new complaint please follow this link to a complaint form<http://www.lgo.org.uk/forms/ShowForm.asp...> or call 0300 061 0614 to speak to one of our Advisers, as the FOI Officer cannot deal with your complaint.

[another test with borders]

NOTICE - This message contains information intended only for the use of the addressee named above. If you have received this message in error please advise us at once and do not make any use of the information.

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Adams

Please find a letter attached in response to your request below.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Information & Records Manager | DL: 0330 403 4734 |
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman's office |
www.lgo.org.uk |

show quoted sections

Dear Foi Officer,

Thank you for the prompt reply.

Yours sincerely,

Adam Adams

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

This is to acknowledge receipt of your email.  If you are making a request
for information, you should get an acknowledgement from us within the next
2-3 days with a reference number and a date by which we will respond to
your request. Please note, however, that this address is only for use in
relation to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information
Act and subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act. If
your email is in relation to a new complaint please follow this link to a
[1]complaint form or call 0300 061 0614 to speak to one of our Advisers,
as the FOI Officer cannot deal with your complaint.

 

[2]another test with borders

 

NOTICE - This message contains information intended only for the use of
the addressee named above.  If you have received this message in error
please advise us at once and do not make any use of the information.

References

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Dear The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman,

Hopefully you can confirm that the advice has been withdrawn until the legality is checked out. The following is especially untrue.

" After a summons is issued the computer may then allocate instalment payments to any arrears – as the right to pay by instalments is been lost once a final notice has been issued. "

The right to pay by instalments is lost once a final notice has been issued only in the sense that the remaining balance of the relevant year's liability becomes payable by the customer. In other words, the billing authority MAY pursue recovery, initially by applying to the Magistrates' court for a Liability Order. However, this has no bearing on the customer's right to elect which year's liability his payment is credited to (whatever amount is paid), so if he has an outstanding sum from a previous year and he wants his payment to be allocated to his current liability then it is his lawful right.

Further more, if the customer does not make his election clear on making payment, the billing authority is obliged to allocate it to the account which is most beneficial to the customer.

Yours faithfully,

Adam Adams

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

This is to acknowledge receipt of your email.  If you are making a request
for information, you should get an acknowledgement from us within the next
2-3 days with a reference number and a date by which we will respond to
your request. Please note, however, that this address is only for use in
relation to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information
Act and subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act. If
your email is in relation to a new complaint please follow this link to a
[1]complaint form or call 0300 061 0614 to speak to one of our Advisers,
as the FOI Officer cannot deal with your complaint.

 

[2]another test with borders

 

NOTICE - This message contains information intended only for the use of
the addressee named above.  If you have received this message in error
please advise us at once and do not make any use of the information.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.lgo.org.uk/forms/ShowForm.asp...

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Adams

Please find attached a letter in response to your request below.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Information & Records Manager | DL: 0330 403 4734 |
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman's office |
www.lgo.org.uk |

show quoted sections

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Adams

Please find attached a letter in response to your request below.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Information & Records Manager | DL: 0330 403 4734 |
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman's office |
www.lgo.org.uk |

show quoted sections

Dear Foi Officer,

Thank you for your 27 November 2017 correspondence in which you state that the guidance is still current though my emails have been passed on and and comments noted.

There is something which may be beneficial for the Ombudsman to note which concerns a decision (17 010 896) where it is stated in paragraph 5 that "if someone has Council tax arrears, and does not pay the exact amount stated on the current bill, then the system allocates the payment to the arrears."
https://www.lgo.org.uk/decisions/benefit...

This is not always the case. Council Tax processing systems used by billing authorities can generally be set so that if someone has Council tax arrears, and does not pay the exact amount stated on the current bill, then the system allocates the payment in one of three ways.

1. payments allocate to the in-year liability
2. payments allocate to arrears
3. payments are treated as floating cash

Cannock Chase District Council (the billing authority concerned) even though the system allocates payments which do not exactly match the amount stated on the current bill to the arrears, clearly have checks in place so that payments are transferred to the in-year account in an attempt to avoid additional unwarranted enforcement. In the circumstances (i.e there was insufficient payment) enforcement action was not avoided but would have been if the payment exceeded the the amount stated on the current bill or the aggregate of payments exceeded the amount.

Yours sincerely,

Adam Adams

FOI Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

This is to acknowledge receipt of your email.  If you are making a request
for information, you should get an acknowledgement from us within the next
2-3 days with a reference number and a date by which we will respond to
your request. Please note, however, that this address is only for use in
relation to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information
Act and subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act. If
your email is in relation to a new complaint please follow this link to a
[1]complaint form or call 0300 061 0614 to speak to one of our Advisers,
as the FOI Officer cannot deal with your complaint.

 

[2]another test with borders

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.lgo.org.uk/forms/ShowForm.asp...

Dear The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman,

I would like to know if the "Internal staff guidance on local taxation" (Section 7) has been revised since the LGO last stated on 27 November 2017 that it was still current.

The reason for asking is because the decision of 28 December 2018 (Bromley Borough Council 18 000 514) suggests it might have (paragraph 10):

https://www.lgo.org.uk/decisions/benefit...

Yours faithfully,

Adam Adams

FOI Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

This is to acknowledge receipt of your email.  If you are making a request
for information, you should get an acknowledgement from us within the next
2-3 days with a reference number and a date by which we will respond to
your request. Please note, however, that this address is only for use in
relation to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information
Act and subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act. If
your email is in relation to a new complaint please follow this link to a
[1]complaint form or call 0300 061 0614 to speak to one of our Advisers,
as the FOI Officer cannot deal with your complaint.

 

 

[2]another test with borders

 

References

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1. http://www.lgo.org.uk/forms/ShowForm.asp...

Mandy Cashmore, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

 

Our ref: 18/238

           

Please quote our reference when contacting us and, if using email, please
put the number in the email subject line

 

If telephoning please contact: 0330 403 4734

Email address: [1][lgo request email]

 

 

Dear Mr Adams

 

INFORMATION ACCESS REQUEST – REFERENCE 18/238

 

 

I acknowledge your request for information received on 07 January 2019.

 

 

We aim to respond to all requests within 20 working days, and therefore
you can expect my response to be issued by 01 February 2019.

 

 

If you have made your request electronically, you can expect our response
to be sent electronically.

 

 

Please see our Privacy Notice for those making information access requests
at: [2]https://www.lgo.org.uk/privacy

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Mandy Cashmore

Information and Records Officer

 

References

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2. https://www.lgo.org.uk/privacy

Mandy Cashmore, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Adams

 

INFORMATION ACCESS REQUEST – REFERENCE 18/238

 

 

Please find attached my response to your request for information received
on 07 January 2019.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Mandy Cashmore

Information and Records Officer

T: 0330 403 4734

E: [lgo request email]

 

[1]SCO logo final jpeg for email signatures

 

Listen - Understand - Communicate - Learn

 

[2]www.lgo.org.uk

 

References

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Dear Mandy Cashmore,

"My response
The guidance, as a whole, was revised in October 2018 but there were no major changes to section 7."

What were the changes please and can you say whether the guidance is publicly available?

Yours sincerely,

Adam Adams

Mandy Cashmore, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

I am out of the office until Monday 18 February 2019.

Mandy Cashmore, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Adams

 

INFORMATION ACCESS REQUEST – REFERENCE 18/238

 

Thank you for your email dated 17 February 2019.

 

Please accept my apologies for the delay.  The guidance refer have
referred to isn’t published so I have asked a colleague to create a
document from the guidance detailed on our intranet.

 

I attach a copy of the previous version and the revised version from
October 2018.

 

I hope this is of assistance.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Mandy Cashmore

Information and Records Officer

Tel: 0330 403 4734

 

[1]SCO logo final jpeg for email signatures

 

Listen - Understand - Communicate - Learn

 

[2]www.lgo.org.uk

 

References

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