Recent statements in this category are shown below:
Statement Upheld Council tax 11-May-2021
Summary: Ms X complained that the Council should not have passed a council tax debt to bailiffs and they did not acknowledge her vulnerability. She also complained the amount of council tax she was charged was too high. We found the Council should have referred her case to its welfare team to assess if her account should be with bailiffs. In the course of the investigation the Council provided inaccurate information about the bailiff fees that had been applied. It also stated the fees had been withdrawn. This was not the case, only some of the fees were withdrawn. We recommended a payment to Ms X to refund the remaining fees she paid and to recognise the time and trouble she was put to pursuing her complaint. However, we found no fault with the way officers dealt with Ms X or with the way council tax deductions were applied.
Statement Not upheld Council tax 05-May-2021
Summary: Mr B complains the Council has not paid him a full council tax refund. He says the Council will only refund him half and the other half to his former partner, even though he solely paid the tax. The Ombudsman does not find fault in how the Council processed the refund.
Statement Upheld Council tax 29-Apr-2021
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about a Council error involving the complainant's council tax. This is because the Council has offered a fair and proportionate remedy.
Statement Upheld Council tax 27-Apr-2021
Summary: Ms X complained the Council applied Council Tax to an annex on her house despite the annex being exempt. Ms X complained the Council sent the Council Tax charges to debt collection agencies causing additional debt collection charges. The Council has admitted fault for charging Council Tax and has refunded Ms X the overpayments she made. The Ombudsman found the Council was at fault for charging council tax despite having the relevant information to know the property was exempt and the subsequent debt collection activity. The Council agreed to the Ombudsman recommendations to refunds any debt collection charges and provide Ms X with an apology and £900 for the avoidable distress, frustration and financial hardship it caused.
Statement Not upheld Council tax 09-Apr-2021
Summary: Mr B complains the Council failed to treat him as a vulnerable debtor due to his disability. We do not find fault with the Council.
Statement Upheld Council tax 08-Apr-2021
Summary: Mr X complains about the way the Council sought to recover his council tax debt. He says the Council threatened him with bankruptcy. Mr X says he now has a large loan that he struggles to repay, which means he has defaulted on his mortgage and utility bills, and means he has not been able to pay this year's council tax. He says it has also had an impact on his physical and mental health. The Ombudsman finds the Council at fault for poor record keeping. However, the Ombudsman does not find the fault caused Mr X injustice. The Ombudsman does not uphold the rest of Mr X's complaint.
Statement Upheld Council tax 06-Apr-2021
Summary: Mr X complains about the way the Council dealt with his wife's council tax appeal request. We will not investigate this complaint because the Council has apologised and any injustice caused is speculative.
Statement Upheld Council tax 01-Apr-2021
Summary: Mr J complains the Council is trying to enforce an old council tax debt. He says this is unfair, as he cannot now prove he cleared the debt. The Council notes there is no legal time limit on council tax debt enforcement. Our view is the Council was at fault, as it cannot demonstrate it tried to trace Mr J in the intervening years. It is not fair for the Council to now collect the debt when its own delay has prevented Mr J from being able to challenge it. The Council has accepted our recommendations to not pursue the debt. So we have completed our investigation.
Statement Not upheld Council tax 25-Mar-2021
Summary: Mr X complains that the Council refused to refund money he paid to enforcement agents with respect to an alleged council tax debt. I have stopped investigating this complaint. The Council offered to refund the money and so no further action by the Ombudsman is needed.
Statement Upheld Council tax 18-Mar-2021
Summary: Ms Y complains the Council failed to credit payments she made under a payment agreement to her arrears and current year's liability. The Council is at fault as it did not clearly explain that a payment arrangement made in January 2020 did not cover the current year's Council Tax liability. But this lack of clarity did not cause significant injustice to Ms Y.