This blog post answers the question “Will Council Tax Contact Me?” It describes the fines and penalties applicable to council tax defaulters. Responding to council tax notices is a legal responsibility and should not be ignored.

Will council tax contact me?

Council tax will contact you in a period of 7 days after you have missed your monthly payment.

Council tax bills are delivered to taxpayers in March every year, people who miss their payments are given a period of 7 days to comply and then legally compelled to pay the entire year’s council tax. 

So council tax can take you to court for legal proceedings and then the court decides the case given your reasons for non payment. An individual cannot directly be visited by or reached through telephone, email or mail except to be served a notice or reminder. 

The legal proceedings for non payment are conducted by the Crown Prosecution Service, not by council tax.

I have received a letter from HMRC asking me questions, what should I do?

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs might be asking you a question to clarify something they don’t understand and they might be asking you to send them some particular documents.

Set up a folder that will hold all of the letters about the enquiry between you and HMRC including copies of any documents sent. You should also include any notes of telephone calls that you have made giving dates and the name of the HMRC officer you spoke to

HMRC uses enquiries to make sure that you are paying the right amount of tax.

What happens if you forget to inform council tax of something like a change in circumstances?

Some extra duties get imposed on you as a punishment which are a certain percentage of the tax.

The failure to produce, within the prescribed time limits, a declaration or an act containing the indication of the elements to be taken into account for the basis or the payment of the tax entails the application, on the amount of the duties imposed payable by the taxpayer or resulting from the declaration or the document filed late, an increase of: has:

  • 10% in the absence of formal notice or in the event of filing of the declaration or deed within thirty days of receipt of formal notice, informed by letter, of having to produce it within this time limit ; 
  • 40% when the declaration or the document has not been filed within thirty days of receipt of formal notice, notified by registered letter, to have to produce it within this period; vs. 80% in case of discovery of occult activity. 
  •  the 10% increase shall apply from the first day of the seventh month following the passing of the periods of six months and twenty-four months provided for. The 40% increase applies when this declaration has not been filed within ninety days of receipt of formal notice.
  •  the 10% increase is increased to 40% when the filing follows the disclosure of assets abroad which have not not been reported

What fines will be levied on inaccuracies made in a council tax declaration?

    The inaccuracies or omissions noted in a declaration or an act containing the indication of elements to be retained for the base or the liquidation of the tax as well as the restitution of a debt of tax nature whose payment was unduly obtained from the government lead to the application of an increase of:

  •     40% in the event of deliberate breach
  •     80% in the event of abuse of rights; it is reduced to 40% when it is not established that the taxpayer had the main initiative of the act(s) constituting the abuse of rights or was the main beneficiary
  •     80% in the event of fraudulent manoeuvres or concealment of part of the price stipulated in a contract 

. An increase of 80% applies to the duties due in the event of rectification of the fact: 

  •  Sums appearing or having appeared on one or more accounts which should have been declared
  • Sums appearing or having appeared on one or more capitalization or investment contracts of the same nature which should have been declared 

What fines are imposed on tax fraud in the UK? 

Fines or increases applied against legal persons for serious breaches characterized by the defrauding (tax fraud) of a minimum of £50,000 and the use of a fraudulent maneuver, may be subject to fines by HMRC. These penalties apply unless the breaches have already been investigated in a complaint about tax evasion by HMRC.

This published decision relates to the nature and amount of the rights defrauded and the fines and increases applied, the name of the taxpayer as well as, where applicable, the professional activity and the place of exercise of this activity.

 The decision taken by the administration is notified to the taxpayer.

It cannot be carried out before the expiry of a period of sixty days from the notification of the publication decision and is made on HMRC’s website for a period which may not exceed one year.

 When the illegal payment is seized, a copy of the referral is sent to the taxpayer, who is invited to present his written observations to HMRC within thirty days.

In the event of an appeal relating to taxes and fines or increases presented after the expiry of this same period, the publication is withdrawn from HMRC’s website until a court decision definitively confirms the validity of the decision to publish.

HMRC is required to make public on its website any jurisdictional decision relating to taxes and fines or increases that have been published.

Your inaccurate documents or statements can land you in trouble

Except in cases of force majeure, the omissions or inaccuracies noted in a document entail the application of a fine of £15 per omission or inaccuracy, without the total of the fines applicable to the documents having to be produced simultaneously being able to be less than £60 or more than £10,000. 

The fine is increased to £150 in the event of a first offense committed during the current calendar year and the three preceding years. 

Any delay in the payment of the sums gives rise to the application of an increase of 10% of sums not paid within the prescribed deadlines. However, when the payment of an additional withholding tax turns out to be more than 30% lower than the amount of the additional amount that should have been paid, the rate of this increase is equal to half the difference between the amount of the complement due and that of the complement paid

The downward modulation of the tax levy gives rise to the application of an increase of 10%, when the amount of the last estimated levy, calculated  and increased, where applicable, by the amount of the payments not returned proves to be lower by more than 10% of the amount of the debit which would have been made 

Delays in payments of council tax add a fine for this unpaid amount that accumulates over the time since the payment has been missed. 

When misstating his income, the taxpayer also pays a fine equal to the amount by which this discrepancy in tax is created.

However, when the amount of the deduction made is more than 30% lower than the first amount, the rate of the increase is equal to half of the difference between this first amount and the amount of the deduction. made, related to this first amount.

The increase provided for does not apply when the taxpayer proves that the erroneous estimate of his situation or his income was, in whole or in part, made in good faith on the date of his adjustment request or comes from elements that are difficult to predict at this date. 

 Any delay in the payment of the sums which must be paid to the accountants of the tax administration in respect of taxes gives rise to the application of a 5% increase. This increase applies when more than one-tenth of the payments made are inaccurate. This increase applies to the payments which have not been made within the prescribed time limits.

What penalties can failure to file council tax returns lead to?

 Failure to comply with the obligation to file a return and its appendices electronically or to pay a tax by transfer, electronic payment or direct debit at the initiative of H M Treasury shall result in the application of an increase of 0.2% of the amount of duties corresponding to the returns filed using another method or of the amount of the sums paid using another method of payment. The amount of the surcharge may not be less than £60.

In the absence of duties, the filing of a declaration or its annexes by a procedure other than that required shall entail the application of a fine of £15 per document, without the total of the fines applicable to the documents to be produced simultaneously being less than £60 or more than £150.

Failure to comply with the obligation to file a declaration of sums paid to a third party by electronic means shall result in the application of a fine of £15 per recipient of these sums.

 Failure to comply with the prohibition on paying tax by bank transfer shall result in the application of a surcharge of 0.2% of the amount of the sums paid by this method of payment. The amount of the surcharge may not be less than £60. 

Individual taxpayers who reside in areas where no mobile service is available are exempt from the obligation to file their income tax returns and pay their taxes online until 31 December 2024.

Fines on people who mislead the tax council on behalf of the taxpayer

 When HMRC has  pronounced an increase of 80% against the taxpayer , any natural or legal person who, in the exercise of professional activity of legal, financial or accounting advice or of holding goods or funds on behalf of a third party, has intentionally  provided this taxpayer with a service that directly enables the commission by this taxpayer of the acts, breaches or maneuvers thus sanctioned shall be liable to a fine :

  •  Enabling the taxpayer to conceal his identity by providing a fictitious identity or a nominee or by the interposition of a natural or legal person or any comparable body, trust or institution established abroad
  •  Allowing the taxpayer to conceal his situation or activity by a fictitious act or by the interposition of a fictitious entity
  •  Allowing the taxpayer to benefit wrongly from a deduction from income, a tax credit, a tax reduction or a tax exemption by the irregular issue of documents
  • Or to carry out on behalf of the taxpayer any act intended to mislead HMRC

The fine is equal to 50% of the income derived from the service provided to the taxpayer. Its amount may not be less than £10,000.

In the event of disagreement concerning the actions, failures or schemes of the taxpayer the guarantees and remedies offered to him/her also benefit the person against whom the fine mentioned has been pronounced.

When the increases mentioned in I are the subject of a reduction or a discharge for a reason related to their validity, the fine which was pronounced against the third party is the subject of a reduction decision.

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question “Will Council Tax Contact Me?” Council Tax is a priority debt and must be paid before all other financial obligations as it is owed to the government. 

It is also legally binding on all those eligible so it is better for you to contact council tax and let them know of your payment problems to obtain a reduction rather than escaping or ignoring the warnings issued by the council. If you don’t have any missed or delayed payments, council tax will not need to contact you or take you to court.

Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below :

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Will Council Tax Contact Me?

Can I go to jail for failing to pay council tax?

Yes, you can be sent to jail for 3 months if the court decided that your reason for not being able to pay council tax is not acceptable.

Can bailiffs force entry for council tax debt?

A bailiff cannot force entry into your home to recover council tax debt unless they have already made you agree  to making a ‘virtual’ or non-entry controlled goods agreement (CGA). Bailiffs rarely use force to recover council tax. They will also give you seven clear days before they plan to visit you, these clear days do not include Sundays, Christmas Day or Bank Holidays

What if there are no goods to take (for the bailiffs)?

If the bailiffs come to your house and find that your goods are not worth the cost of them coming in a van to take and sell them they can come at a later date within the next 12 months to find that things have changed and they have something worth selling to cover your debt. They should not take an item worth more than your debt unless it is the only one item available for them to exchange to recover the money you owe.

Citations

Council Tax Arrears

Dealing with council tax arrears

https://www.bradford.gov.uk/council-tax/general-council-tax-information/what-can-happen-if-i-dont-pay-my-council-tax/

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