Richmondshire District Council

New policy for non payment of council tax

A new policy which could see committal to prison for people in debt to Richmondshire District Council has been recommended for approval.

It would be used where all other enforcement action to recover non payment from council taxpayers and non domestic ratepayers has been exhausted.

Members of the District Council’s Corporate Board last night (14 September 2021) agreed that a new council tax and non-domestic rating policy should be introduced - to be used as a last resort.

They were told that the council is finding it increasingly difficult to collect debt owed to them by other traditional methods. These include the use of enforcement agents, direct deductions from earnings/benefits, payment arrangements and bankruptcy/insolvency proceedings.

“This policy is one which you would hope never to use,” said Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Helen Grant. “However, in recent years there has been a small but increasing number of cases where tax has not been paid and we have no option but to consider committal to prison.

“We will always take action proportionate to the debt and that strikes a balance between the loss of income to the council and the cost of recovery – and the effect on the customer. Council tax is essential to allow us to continue to provide services and failure to collect could see a reduction in them or increased costs to other taxpayers and ratepayers.”

Committal to prison proceedings will commence only when approved by the Chief Executive (or officer with delegated powers) when all other methods of enforcement have failed and will be considered alongside the council’s policy on vulnerability.

Taxpayers that find themselves in a situation where they cannot pay are urged to seek assistance by contacting the council’s Revenue and Benefits service at the earliest possible stage to see what help maybe available to them.

The new policy will be considered by Full Council later this month.

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