Laws of appropriation regarding Council Tax payment allocation

The request was successful.

Dear Southwark Borough Council,

In regard to FOI Request (FOI 720193) relating to the allocation of council tax payments where there is more than one year's liability outstanding, Southwark Borough Council stated the following (so far as is relevant):

" • If the payment amount does not exactly match an instalment the payment is automatically allocated to the most recent financial year.
......
Prior to 10 October 2016, payments that did not exactly match an instalment and were not received to settle a particular Liability Order were allocated to the oldest debt first."

I understand that according to case law, the approach taken before 10 October 2016 was the correct way to allocate payments which did not exactly match an instalment (unspecified payments).

It was held in 'Devaynes v Noble (1816) 1 Mer 529' that unspecified payments are presumed to be appropriated to debts in the order in which the debts are incurred and if no election is made the earliest debts are paid first (from the judgment):

“it is the first item on the debit side of the account, that is discharged, or reduced, by the first item on the credit side.”

Q. Will the council please provide whatever information it holds to justify its decision to review its approach from one which complied with the laws of appropriation to one that does not?

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Davis

Stuart Shorttle, Southwark Borough Council

Southwark Council - Information request

Our reference: 806594

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Dear Stuart Shorttle,

Can this request please be dealt with as it is delayed. By law, the Council should have provided its response by 31 July 2017.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J Davis

Shorttle, Stuart, Southwark Borough Council

Dear Mrs J Davis,

I can confirm that a response to your FOI request is currently with our Senior Management for sign off.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Shorttle

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Dear Shorttle, Stuart,

Thank you. I appreciate you keeping me informed.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J Davis

Shorttle, Stuart, Southwark Borough Council

1 Attachment

 

Dear Mrs J Davis,

 

Your recently made a Freedom of Information request to Southwark Borough
Council. Please find attached our letter  in response to your request. We
apologise for the delay in sending this response.

 

 

 

 

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Shorttle
Freedom of Information Officer
Floor 2, Hub 1
Office: 020 7525 2651
Email: [1][email address]    
Website: [2]www.southwark.gov.uk

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.southwark.gov.uk/

Dear Shorttle, Stuart,

"Our Response:

The council does not hold any information relating to the justification of the decision to change it practise in respect of the allocation of payment(s) that do not match an instalment (unspecified payments)."

For the avoidance of doubt, can you please clarify that there are no Council Tax admin/recovery officers at Southwark Borough Council who know why a decision was suddenly made to alter the way it allocates unspecified payments?

The most likely reason would have been to ensure that your customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship. I understand councils can choose between allocating unspecified payments to the current year or oldest debt by operating a parameter (see link).

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3...

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J Davis

Shorttle, Stuart, Southwark Borough Council

Dear Mrs J Davis,

The council has responded to the FOI question that was asked. If you would like the council to treat your question below as a new FOI request then please advise.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Shorttle.

Dear Shorttle, Stuart,

Please appropriately separate the contents of my 7 August 2017 email so the clarification sought is dealt with and any information you consider to be additional is dealt with as a new request.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J Davis

Shorttle, Stuart, Southwark Borough Council

Dear Mrs J Davis,

On the basis of your email dated 21 Aug 2017 can you please confirm that your require that the following sentence is your new FOI request.

For the avoidance of doubt, can you please clarify that there are no Council Tax admin/recovery officers at Southwark Borough Council who know why a decision was suddenly made to alter the way it allocates unspecified payments?

Yours sincerely

Stuart Shorttle
Freedom of Information Officer
Floor 2, Hub 1
Office: 020 7525 2651
Email: [1][email address]
Website: [2]www.southwark.gov.uk

Dear Mr Shorttle,

"For the avoidance of doubt, can you please clarify that there are no Council Tax admin/recovery officers at Southwark Borough Council who know why a decision was suddenly made to alter the way it allocates unspecified payments?"

The above was the clarification I was seeking.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J Davis

Stuart Shorttle, Southwark Borough Council

Southwark Council - Information request

Our reference: 828246

Dear Stuart Shorttle,

With regards FOI reference: 828246, the response is delayed. By law, Southwark Borough Council should normally have responded promptly and by 22 September 2017.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J Davis

Shorttle, Stuart, Southwark Borough Council

1 Attachment

 

 

 

Dear Mrs J Davis,

 

Your recently made a Freedom of Information request to Southwark Borough
Council. Please find attached our letter and file   in response to your
request. We apologise for the delay in responding to this request.

 

 

 

 

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Shorttle
Freedom of Information Officer
Floor 2, Hub 1
Office: 020 7525 2651
Email: [1][email address]    
Website: [2]www.southwark.gov.uk

 

The email you received and any files transmitted with it are confidential,
may be covered by legal and/or professional privilege and are intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you have received this in error please notify us immediately. If you
are not the intended recipient of the email or the person responsible for
delivering it to them you may not copy it, forward it or otherwise use it
for any purpose or disclose its contents to any other person. To do so may
be unlawful. Where opinions are expressed in the email they are not
necessarily those of Southwark Council and Southwark Council is not
responsible for any changes made to the message after it has been sent.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.southwark.gov.uk/

Mrs J Davis left an annotation ()

Response:

'The Income Manager amended the process effective 10 October 2016 so that payments are allocated to the current year’s debt if the payment amount does not match an instalment amount or a payment arrangement for arrears. The Income Manager did this to prevent recovery action on the Council Tax payer’s current year’s debt. Of course, if the customer wishes for the payment made to be used for previous years debt then they have the option to advise us of this and we would allocate the payment as per their wishes.

By allocating payments to the current year’s debt the Council is preventing further charges being applied to their Council Tax account.'

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