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Worthing Borough Council (19 019 228)

Category : Benefits and tax > Council tax

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 26 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mr X complains about the way the Council has dealt with his council tax support. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint because the matter is out of time and there was a right of appeal to a Valuation Tribunal.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains about the way the Council has dealt with his council tax support.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone can appeal to a tribunal. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to appeal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(a), as amended)
  2. The Valuation Tribunal deals with appeals against decisions on council tax liability and council tax support or reduction.
  3. We cannot investigate late complaints unless we decide there are good reasons. Late complaints are when someone takes more than 12 months to complain to us about something a council has done. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26B and 34D, as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the comments of the complainant and the Council and the complainant has commented on the draft decision.,

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What I found

  1. Mr X complains about council tax decisions made in 2016 and 2017 regarding his council tax support entitlement and subsequent bailiff enforcement.
  2. I see no reason why such complaints could not have been made to this office within 12 months of the matters arising. Further, any dispute about entitlement or recovery of council tax support was a matter for the Valuation Tribunal. The tribunal is an independent, expert body whose decisions are binding on the Council. I therefore consider that it would be reasonable to pursue an appeal in this case.

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Final decision

  1. I do not intend to investigate this complaint because the matters are out of time and could be appealed to a Valuation Tribunal.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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