Non Payment of Council Tax (FOI-683)
Dear ***** *****,
Thank you for your request of 1st August 2018. We apologise for the extreme delay in issuing this response.
In your request, you ask for “the number of people fined for not paying Council Tax and the amount of money collected by Hackney Council in fines for people who have not paid Council Tax for the years 2014-2015 to 2018-2019 to date”.
Please be aware that when you refer to people being “fined”, it has been presumed that you mean people who have incurred additional recovery costs. In Hackney, costs of £69.50 are added at the point of a summons being sent, with a further £8.50 recovery costs added if and when a liability order is granted by the Magistrates Court. For the purposes of this response, figures have been given for both the total number of summonses and liability orders issued in each year. These figures represent the overall number of documents sent, (one to each person named as being jointly and severally liable), rather than the number of accounts, which will be considerably fewer. Please note, though, that although more than one notice may be sent in respect of each account, only one set of costs will be raised.
Please also be aware that the costs collected figure has been divided into the costs collected for each year as at the end of that year, and the costs collected in that year for previous years (which cannot be split into individual years). The total for each year, which is the literal figure you have requested, is therefore the combination of these two component parts and not just the costs collected for the relevant year alone.
With all of this in mind, the figures you have requested are:
Year Summons Liability Orders Total costs collected
2014/15 23,227 19,487 2014/15 -610,431.19
Prev. yrs -493,517.07
2015/16 23,598 21,696 2015/16 -550653.42
prev. yrs -539225.04
2016/17 23,244 17,504 2016/17 -511994.24
Prev. yrs -509705.74
2017/18 19,048 16,121 2017/18 -419,837.28
prev. yrs -432,881.53
2018/19 8,148 8,108 2018/19 -54,001.20
(to date) Prev. yrs -207,941.08
You will see from the above that the level of costs both raised and collected has been steadily declining year on year. This reflects the Council’s commitment to offering practical advice and assistance to those who are experiencing financial difficulties, the aim being to keep them from entering into the formal recovery cycle by accepting longer term arrangements, variable payment dates, etc.
The Council is also adopting a referral programme whereby anyone who advises the Council that they are having difficulty making payment is offered the opportunity to be referred to a recognised debt management or financial advice organisation, including the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, so that their finances can be properly reviewed, all benefit entitlements and/or potential areas to make savings can be explored, and ultimately, an affordable payment programme can be agreed in regards to their Council Tax debt.
It is hoped that by taking these actions, fewer people will enter into the recovery cycle, with its associated additional costs, and that those already subject to recovery action will gradually be able to bring their accounts back up to date. The aim is that, in time, these measures will help more people to move from making payments in arrears to making their payments on time, which will be hugely beneficial for them, but also beneficial to others in the Borough who do make their payments on time and to the Council itself as its monthly income stream improves and becomes more stable.
If you are dissatisfied with this response and wish to appeal, please respond to this email to request an Internal Review.
If you are still not satisfied following the Internal Review, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner.
Information Commissioner"s Office
0303 123 1113
London Borough of Hackney