Ashfield District Council writes off council tax debt

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Nearly £20,000 of council tax and business rates debt has been written off by Ashfield District Council because it was deemed ‘unrecoverable’

The council’s cabinet agreed to write off the debts after being informed that ‘all recovery options have been exhausted’.

It included non domestic rates of £5,732.10 for the period October 2002 to July 2003. The council has no address for the debtor and due to the time passed, it could not be pursued through court.

Non domestic rates of £7,624.33 for the period April 2005 to March 2009 were also written off. This debt related to a social club. The ratepayers have separated and the whereabouts of only one of them is known. They are only in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and have no assets.

The third case is for £6,056.59 of unpaid council tax owed from between April 2002 to March 2011.

This debt is the result of a fraud investigation following undeclared income that led to overpayment of council tax benefit. Payment was being made by the taxpayer, but he has died, leaving no funds in his estate to pay the rest.

A council spokesman said that it collects around 99 per cent of all business rates and council tax due and uses a range of measures to collect outstanding money.

“Occasionally, when the council has pursued the debt for a number of years, a position is reached where it might cost the council more to retrieve the money than the debt is actually worth, and often, in order to save the taxpayers’ money, the debt would be written off as a last resort.

“In some of these cases, where the person is no longer alive, or has been made bankrupt. Where the amount is above £5,000, cabinet makes this decision,” he said.