Hundreds facing court action in crackdown on council tax dodgers
COUNCILS are waging war on people who fail to pay their council tax.
Hundreds of residents are facing court action every month as authorities clampdown on tax dodgers.
Yesterday, 130 cases of alleged non-payment were brought before Lincoln Magistrates' Court by North Kesteven District Council.
And new figures from the City of Lincoln Council show 421 liability orders were made against residents last month.
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A liability order is granted by magistrates and gives a local authority powers to enforce payment of a council tax debt.
Councils are increasingly seeking to have liability orders made against debtors because it allows them to explore a range of options to recover the cash.
Paul Taylor, revenues manager at the City of Lincoln Council, said: "Liability orders give us various options to recover the debt, including recovering council tax from earnings or benefit payments, right through to using bailiffs, bankruptcy and even committal to prison.
"If someone misses a payment on their council tax, they will first get a reminder. If payment is still not made, we apply to the magistrates' court and ask that they issue a summons to the taxpayer to attend court and show why payment hasn't been made.
Mr Taylor said: "While we will always take action to recover unpaid council tax, I would ask anyone who is having difficulty with payments to get in touch with us as soon as possible to ask for help, before we need to take action in court.
"We can offer benefit advice and payment options, which can help people who find they are struggling with their payments."
Since 2007, North Kesteven District Council has been named the best- performing authority in the country for council tax collection. The authority collected 99.3 per cent of its dues last year.
Revenues manager Mike Carr, said: "Yesterday's hearing is in respect to 130 cases of unpaid council tax, amounting to about £70,000, and five cases are being heard for unpaid business rates of about £64,000.
"It is important that we keep on top of missed payments in fairness to the majority of the residents who do pay without fail.
"The council believes it has had a very good recovery process in place and takes a firm but fair action against people who default on payments.
"The council also has support measures in place to help people who default on payments and good partnerships with enforcement agents."