Council threatens bankruptcy action against tax non-payers

PEOPLE who persistently fail to pay their council tax are to be threatened with bankruptcy action under tough new sanctions announced in west Suffolk.

The aim of the new measures announced by the Anglia Revenues Partnership(ARP), which is made up of Forest Heath, East Cambridgeshire and Breckland district councils, is to force wilful non-payers to cough up the cash they owe.

The partnership last night stressed it was not attempting to punish those in genuine difficulty with their council tax payments.

Rona Burt, Forest Heath’s member champion responsible for council tax collection, said: ”In order to keep your council tax bill low, and to be fair to those who do pay their council tax, all councils have to collect the money quickly and efficiently, using every method available to them.

“Unfortunately there is always a small minority of people who choose not to pay or who deliberately avoid payment of their council tax.

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“It is these deliberate non payers we will target.

“The ARP, working on our behalf, will continue to utilise every recovery method available in order to recover unpaid council tax.”

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Finance chiefs at Forest Heath hope the threat of serving bankruptcy petitions against persistent council tax evaders will reap an extra �34,000 each year for the councils’ coffers.

According to council figures, more than 98% of residents pay their council tax within the year it becomes due. A “number of the remainder”, according to Forest Heath, have genuine difficulties in paying their tax.

The council urged anybody in financial difficulty to contact the ARP or the council as soon as possible. Alternatively, there are a number of independent bodies which can assist with debt management.

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