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Council Tax

Requested on
Wed 5th September, 2012
Reference
FOI 2201
Resolution
Information provided

Question

1.What Authority do Charnwood Borough Council (CBC) claim to collect tax and who is the billing Authority?
2.Please supply a copy of their license and seals for proof of Authority to collect Tax?
3.Is the Billing Authority a Private company?
4.What Region does the Billing authority cover?
5.Is the Billing Authority a private company?
6.Does CBC trade under any other entities and what are they?
7.Does CBC or their other trading entities have a board of Directors?
8.Is CBC a Unitary Authority?
9.Provide full disclosure of the taxes CBC collect for domestic and non domestic liabilities and what services (commercial and non commercial) those taxes are used for.
10.Clarify how much of council tax payer’s money is put into pension schemes and break this down into specific departments.
11.How much money is CBC holding on account?
12.Do CBC have an Internal Memoranda of your staff’s instructions in dealing with Council Tax arrears, please supply?
13.Please provide a copy of the record whereby Fiscal Policy changed in that court action would be taken against an individual for non-payment of Council Tax;
14.Please provide a copy of your Code of Conduct;
15.How many Bulk Court Summonses’ did CBC issue in the last Council Tax year and what was the total fee collected for the cost of issuing them?
16.What is the actual cost to CBC for issuing Bulk Court Summonses’ and what was profit margin for the last council tax year?
17.When CBC issues a summons why do they not appear in the Magistrates’ Courts Official Court Diary?
18.Why do CBC lay claim at a Magistrates’ Court out of the Borough in which they operate or were the person they making alleged claim lives?"

Answer

1.What Authority do Charnwood Borough Council (CBC) claim to collect tax and who is the billing Authority?
Charnwood Borough Council is the billing authority and collects council tax under the Local Government Finance Act 1992

2.Please supply a copy of their license and seals for proof of Authority to collect Tax?
As stated above, the authority to bill and collect Council Tax is provided under the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

3.Is the Billing Authority a Private company?
No

4.What Region does the Billing authority cover?
Charnwood

5.Is the Billing Authority a private company?
No

6.Does CBC trade under any other entities and what are they?
No, although we do have an Arms Length Management Organisation (Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing) which runs our Council Housing Stock.

7.Does CBC or their other trading entities have a board of Directors?
Charnwood Borough Council does not have a board of Directors
Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing has a board of Directors

8.Is CBC a Unitary Authority?
No

9.Provide full disclosure of the taxes CBC collect for domestic and non domestic liabilities and what services (commercial and non commercial) those taxes are used for.
Please refer to the attached Council Tax leaflet

10.Clarify how much of council tax payer’s money is put into pension schemes and break this down into specific departments.
Attached is a spreadsheet showing the employers pension contribution for 2011/12 broken down per department.
The Council is funded from several sources including Government Grants, charges for certain services and rents from Council Houses as well as Council Tax, therefore it is not possible to say how much of the Employers Pension Contributions are paid out of Council Tax.  Total Council Tax in 2011-12 was £6.85m whilst Government Grants amounted to £10.7m and rents from Council Houses and other Housing Properties were £18.7m

11.How much money is CBC holding on account?
As at 31 March 2012, which is the council's financial year end, the council held net balances of £18.3m in a mixture of cash and investments.  However, this balance varies on a daily basis depending on the inflow and outflow of cash to the council

 
12.Do CBC have an Internal Memoranda of your staff’s instructions in dealing with Council Tax arrears, please supply?
No.  Staff are trained on and work to the relevant legislation

13.Please provide a copy of the record whereby Fiscal Policy changed in that court action would be taken against an individual for non-payment of Council Tax;
Under schedule 4 of The Local Government Finance Act 1992 it states that:
(a)the authority concerned may apply to a magistrates’ court for an order (a “liability
order”) against the person by whom the sum is payable;
(b)the magistrates’ court shall make the order if it is satisfied that the sum has become payable by the person concerned and has not been paid.

14.Please provide a copy of your Code of Conduct
The council has many Codes of Conduct.  Please could you specify what function the code of conduct you would like to receive covers?

15.How many Bulk Court Summonses’ did CBC issue in the last Council Tax year and what was the total fee collected for the cost of issuing them?
9,821 summonses were issued for Council Tax during 2011/12, in respect of 7314 accounts. The cost associated with the issue of a summons last year was £62.50 per account.

16.What is the actual cost to CBC for issuing Bulk Court Summonses’ and what was profit margin for the last council tax year?
Summons costs (£62.50 per summons last year), reflect the Council’s costs associated with accounts subject to recovery/enforcement action. This includes direct and indirect costs, including the payment of £3.00 to the Magistrates Court for each summons issued.

17.When CBC issues a summons why do they not appear in the Magistrates’ Courts Official Court Diary?
This should be directed to the Magistrates’ Court. Summonses are issued by Charnwood on behalf of the Court.


18.Why do CBC lay claim at a Magistrates’ Court out of the Borough in which they operate or were the person they making alleged claim lives?
This should be directed to the Magistrates’ Court. It is for the Court Service to decide at which Court cases should be heard.

Further to your request below, please find our responses below.  Where you have stated that you did not receive the attachments in our original response, please accept my apologies.  This may be due to restrictions on our server when sending out large emails.  I have where possible included links to relevant council WebPages to keep the size of the email down.

1.What Authority do Charnwood Borough Council (CBC) claim to collect tax and who is the billing Authority?
Charnwood Borough Council is the billing authority and collects council tax under the Local Government Finance Act 1992

Your reply: I am not asking you for a statute I am asking who or what does CBC claim gives them authority to collect taxes?

Charnwood Borough Council hold no further information

2.Please supply a copy of their license and seals for proof of Authority to collect Tax?
As stated above, the authority to bill and collect Council Tax is provided under the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

Your reply: As tax is collected under seal, does this mean the Local Government Finance Act and the collection of council tax has Royal assent?

Charnwood Borough Council hold no further information

6.Does CBC trade under any other entities and what are they?

No, although we do have an Arms Length Management Organisation (Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing) which runs our Council Housing Stock.

Your reply: Does this mean that all council houses are privately owned by Charnwood Neighbourhood housing, you say rents from Council Houses and other Housing Properties were £18.7m, is this profit and how much of this go into the councils pension fund? What other Housing properties do you refer to?

Charnwood Borough Council own their housing stock, Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing manage that stock on CBC’s behalf.

The following link will take you to the current years budget book which shows details of the HRA (Housing Revenues Account)

https://www.charnwood.gov.uk/files/documents/2012_13_budget_book_v3/2012-13%20Budget%20Book%20v3%2021082012.pdf

7.Does CBC or their other trading entities have a board of Directors?

Charnwood Borough Council does not have a board of Directors
Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing has a board of Directors

Your reply: Does CBC or entities have articles of association? a trust with a trust indenture?

are they incorporated or unincorporated?

Charnwood Borough Council is a local authority established by statue

9.Provide full disclosure of the taxes CBC collect for domestic and non domestic liabilities and what services (commercial and non commercial) those taxes are used for.

Please refer to the attached Council Tax leaflet

Your reply: I could see no leaflet attached and this is not considered full disclosure, please supply full disclosure of how CBC spend the council tax payer’s money.

The Council Tax leaflet can be found at http://www.charnwood.gov.uk/files/documents/council_tax_and_rates_2010_11_leaflet1/council%20tax%20and%20rates%20leaflet%202012%20-%2013.pdf

The councils annual accounts can be found at http://www.charnwood.gov.uk/pages/annual_accounts

10.Clarify how much of council tax payer’s money is put into pension schemes and break this down into specific departments.

Attached is a spreadsheet showing the employers pension contribution for 2011/12 broken down per department.

The Council is funded from several sources including Government Grants, charges for certain services and rents from Council Houses as well as Council Tax, therefore it is not possible to say how much of the Employers Pension Contributions are paid out of Council Tax.  Total Council Tax in 2011-12 was £6.85m whilst Government Grants amounted to £10.7m and rents from Council Houses and other Housing Properties were £18.7m

Your reply: I could see no spreadsheet attached and I am not asking how the council is funded, I wish to establish how much of council tax payer’s money is used to fund the pension schemes of CBC’s employees. What percentage of Council Tax in 2011-12, which was £6.85m, is paid into CBCs pension schemes and break this down into      specific departments. Does any of the money from Government Grants (£10.7m) go to fund the pension schemes of CBC’s employee’s?

Please find attached the spreadsheet mentioned above. 

The Council is funded from several sources including Government Grants, charges for certain services and rents from Council Houses as well as Council Tax, therefore it is not possible to say how much of the Employers Pension Contributions are paid out of Council Tax.  Total Council Tax in 2011-12 was £6.85m whilst Government Grants amounted to £10.7m and rents from Council Houses and other Housing Properties were £18.7m

11.How much money is CBC holding on account?
As at 31 March 2012, which is the council's financial year end, the council held net balances of £18.3m in a mixture of cash and investments.  However, this balance varies on a daily basis depending on the inflow and outflow of cash to the council

Your reply: Does the council pay tax on this and how much interest was made on money and investments held on account for last financial year?

The council do not pay tax on its investments.  In the financial year to 31 March 2012, the council earned £363,000 on interest and investment income.

13.Please provide a copy of the record whereby Fiscal Policy changed in that court action would be taken against an individual for non-payment of Council Tax;

Under schedule 4 of The Local Government Finance Act 1992 it states that:
(a)the authority concerned may apply to a magistrates’ court for an order (a “liability
order”) against the person by whom the sum is payable;

(b)the magistrates’ court shall make the order if it is satisfied that the sum has become payable by the person concerned and has not been paid.

Your reply: Where does it say that in the above quote that the authority can print, put on a signature under delegated authority, and send out their own summonses and Liability orders?

Summonses are produced by the Council and issued from the Council offices, on behalf of the Magistrates Court. The summons is a Court document which may only be issued with the authority of the Court. 

14.Please provide a copy of your Code of Conduct
The council has many Codes of Conduct.  Please could you specify what function the code of conduct you would like to receive covers?

Your reply: Please provide a list so I can select which function of code of conduct is of public interest.

The following link provides the overall officer code of conduct: http://www.charnwood.gov.uk/files/documents/officers_code_of_conduct/33%20OFFICERS%27%20CODE%20OF%20CONDUCT.pdf

16.What is the actual cost to CBC for issuing Bulk Court Summonses’ and what was profit margin for the last council tax year?
Summons costs (£62.50 per summons last year), reflect the Council’s costs associated with accounts subject to recovery/enforcement action. This includes direct and indirect costs, including the payment of £3.00 to the Magistrates Court for each summons issued.
Your reply: What other payments does CBC make to HMCTS or The Magistrates’ Court?

Please could you clarify whether you are requesting information which just relates to Council Tax, or for the Council as a whole?

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