Hundreds facing court for unpaid council tax bills

ALMOST 400 people are facing legal action from Boston Borough Council this month after failing to pay their council tax.

A total of £181,872.24 is currently being pursued by the authority, with 389 cases due to be heard in court on Monday if payment is not made in time.

The amount, revealed following a Freedom of Information Act request, is on top of £102,378.07 that remains unpaid.

Boston Borough Council claims to have one of the best collection rates for council tax in the country, routinely picking up 96 per cent of the bills. It pursues collection for six years, managing an almost 100 per cent success rate in the end, figures show.

Coun Raymond Singleton-McGuire, the authority’s portfolio holder for finance, told The Standard: “The council uses every means at its disposal to collect council tax, and is successful in collecting 99 per cent over the long term – a good rate of collection.”

The people currently facing an appearance before magistrates are just some of the hundreds of people who have been prosecuted by the authority. Many more are now being dealt with through liability orders, which the court issues when a council tax bill remains unpaid.

The order allows the council to take action to retrieve money which it is owed through means including sending bailiffs to people’s homes, taking money directly from a person’s earnings and even applying for committal to prison.

Legal action is only taken after several reminders and a statutory final notice have been sent to retrieve the funds. After a summons has been issued, if an arrangement is not made to pay the money, the case is sent to court.

Several weeks ago it was revealed at a meeting of the borough council that the authority had decided to write off £62,388.67 in council tax debt.