Councils recover over £1.6million unpaid council tax

Released on June 22, 2017

Over £1.6million in council tax arrears was recovered last year thanks to enforcement action taken by South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils. 

In 2016/17 the councils issued over 5,300 court summonses to people who had failed to pay their council tax.  Magistrates then granted liability orders against 3,600 of those individuals – this meant enforcement action, including the use of bailiffs, could be taken to retrieve the money. 

Almost all of those in arrears then paid the money they owed, however the councils were forced to take further action against 96 people to ensure they paid their fair share towards the cost of providing public services.  

This resulted in 53 people receiving charging orders – which allows the councils to enforce the sale of a persons’ property to retrieve the money.  One person who deliberately failed to pay was sent to prison, while seven were given suspended sentences. 

The councils also recovered and saved a further £167,000 after 62 people were caught claiming discounts on their council tax they weren’t entitled to.  This resulted in nine being prosecuted in court and 47 fined. 

Cllr Jane Murphy, Deputy Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council said: “It’s vital that everyone pays their fair share for the services we provide, such as waste and recycling collections.  Anyone who doesn’t do so puts added pressure on the public purse and effectively cheats all those who do contribute.” 

Cllr Matthew Barber, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Help is always available for anyone who is genuinely struggling to pay, however if someone deliberately refuses to pay we won’t hesitate to take tough enforcement action - this could result in a court appearance, a prison sentence or even someone losing their home.” 

ENDS 

Council tax court proceedings 2016/17

South Oxfordshire

  • issued 2,823 court summonses to people that had failed to pay their council tax
  • Magistrates then granted us liability orders for 1,722 of those individuals - this meant we could actively pursue them to retrieve the money by using bailiffs and other appropriate methods 
  • this resulted in £507,327 council tax arrears being collected
  • however, we still had to take committal action against 65 people who, despite repeated requests and appropriate action, refused to pay their council tax 
  • as a result, we recovered a another £325,000 and four people received suspended prison sentences
  • we were also given permission by the courts to impose charging orders on properties owned by 34 individuals – recovering a further £190,000 in the process

 

 


Vale of White Horse

  • issued 2,552 court summonses to people that had failed to pay their council tax
  • Magistrates then granted us liability orders for 1,911 of those individuals - this meant we could actively pursue them to retrieve the money by using bailiffs and other appropriate methods 
  • this resulted in £469,728 council tax arrears being collected
  • however, we still had to take committal action against 31 people who, despite repeated requests and appropriate action, refused to pay their council tax 
  • as a result, we recovered another £100,803, and three people received suspended prison sentences with one person being sent to prison.
  • we were also given permission by the courts to impose charging orders on properties owned by 19 individuals – recovering a further £60,026 in the process

 

Council tax fraud 2016/17: 

South Oxfordshire

  • 22 people were also caught fraudulently claiming discount on their council tax
  • This ensured we recovered and saved £52,000
  • Three people were prosecuted in court
  • and 16 were fined

 

 

Vale of White Horse

  • 40 people were also caught fraudulently claiming discount on their council tax
  • This ensured we recovered and saved £115,000
  • six people were prosecuted in court
  • and 31 were fined