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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Council questioned over tax payments

A Llangollen resident claims Denbighshire County Council has done “absolutely nothing” to let people know that everyone is now legally entitled to spread the payment of their Council Tax over an extra two monthly instalments.
However, this is not the case, according to the authority.
Mike Connolly has written to llanblogger saying:  “I wonder if you would be able to find out precisely when and how Denbighshire Council plan to make the cash-strapped public aware of their right in law to pay their Council Tax for the year 2013/14 over 12 as opposed to ten instalments.

“There was previously a facility to pay over 12 instalments but this was only available to people who could prove severe financial hardship whereas the new right extends to everyone and is the law.

“I did try and find this out for myself  but the final answer I got on 7th February 2013 was that the wording of the leaflet which would make this known was still at the ‘proof-reading’ stage. I find this rather odd given that the bills are due out any moment now.

“In particular what worries me is that all the indications given to me by Denbighshire Revenues Deptartment make clear that this facility will only be available to people who ask for it and the problem which that in turn leads to is that as they do not seem to have done anything to make people aware in advance there is likely to be a very, very limited window during which people can actually make the request and, indeed, they may even run the risk of not starting payment on time whilst they are waiting for a response in which case they may lose their right to pay by instalments at all and so, far from helping people, it might land them in even more trouble.

“I am very concerned that Denbighshire seem to have done absolutely nothing in terms of a campaign to the public to tell them months ago about this new right in law so that people could have got their applications in early and avoided the problems which may otherwise occur.

“There are many, many people in the county who have to make daily choices between buying a loaf of bread and pint of milk or putting money on their electricity meter for light and heat and the ability to make even a small positive improvement in their personal finances i.e. by paying a large household bill like Council Tax over 12 payments instead of 10 could make a huge difference.”

A spokesperson for the county council’s tax department said: The right to 12 monthly instalments was introduced with new legislation in January this year to commence 2013/14.

“In Denbighshire we have offered 12 monthly instalments for a number of years now, (without any conditions as to financial hardship), and many tax payers are already utilising this option.

“As this is the first year that is a legal right we have included details in our money matters booklet which is delivered to all taxpayers with their annual bills.

“This right to 12 months is not limited by application time and can be applied for at any time during the financial year.”

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