New scheme could see council tax debt reclaimed from Coventry residents' earnings - The Coventry Observer

11th Aug, 2022

New scheme could see council tax debt reclaimed from Coventry residents' earnings

Felix Nobes 6th Jul, 2019

COVENTRY City Council will pilot a scheme which could see council tax debt reclaimed from the earnings of non-paying residents.

It seeks to tackle £5million in unpaid council tax, council chiefs say.

Through the trial, which will roll out from July 8, non-paying customers who are employed or have an income will be contacted to start paying their debts.

If they do not comply, the scheme would see them have debt deducted directly from their earnings through their employer.

The council is one of 29 local authorities teaming up with HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) to use debt information sharing powers enshrined in law in 2017.

The Digital Economy Act 2017 allows councils to obtain employer and income information from HMRC for people who have failed to pay council tax.

They can then secure an order from local magistrates court forcing them to pay.

They added that the council works closely with advice providers to support vulnerable residents who are struggling with debt.

They say anybody who finds themselves in a position where they cannot pay their council tax should contact the local authority immediately to discuss their situation.

The pilot will be reviewed after a year and a decision will then be made whether to roll the programme out to all councils in England and Wales.

Cabinet member for finance Coun John Mutton said: “Last year the amount of council tax collected by the revenues team was more than £9.3million up on the previous year.

“It’s important to work hard to maximise revenue collections especially at a time when the national government is reducing the amount of funding it provides to local authorities.

“We need to keep improving, and linking with the HMRC will allow us to potentially increase the money we put into vital frontline services and services for our most vulnerable residents. It’s about holding people to account.

In 2018/19 the council collected 95.7 per cent of council tax. A total amount of £142.8million.

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