Council Tax and business rates recovery procedure policy

The council's aims

Our aims are to:

  • help minimise debts to the authority and improve the council’s income levels through the efficient and effective collection of Council Tax and business rates
  • effectively pursue all amounts due to the council so that all taxpayers and ratepayers who have the ability to pay do so
  • ensure that the debtor’s circumstances (where known) are taken into account when deciding the most appropriate form of recovery action to take
  • treat individuals consistently and fairly, regardless of age, sex, gender, disability, race and sexual orientation
  • protect individual rights under Data Protection and Human Rights legislation

A prime intention of the council is to operate sensitive debt recovery procedures which do not place the individual in hardship and where possible do not affect a business’s financial viability. This will be achieved by having realistic, flexible methods of payment that can be adapted to the circumstances of the taxpayer or ratepayer.

Prevention is the first essential step in the effective recovery of debt. There are a number of measures that can be taken to minimise indebtedness at an early stage which reduces the necessity for costly enforcement action. This not only reduces cost but also works towards avoiding potential hardship for taxpayers and ratepayers.

To achieve this we believe it is essential that we promote early contact with taxpayers and ratepayers, establish the correct amount that is payable and make mutually acceptable arrangements to pay.

At all stages of billing, collection and recovery of Council Tax and business rates, the council will give customers the opportunity to make individual arrangements to pay. Where a customer defaults on the arrangement this facility will be withdrawn and the most appropriate recovery action then be taken (e.g. attachment of earnings).

The council will promote the take-up of all available reductions for Council Tax and business rates to reduce our customers’ liability where circumstances allow.

The council when discharging the functions to which this policy relates will comply with the relevant legislation and have regard to relevant government guidance and policy.