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East Staffordshire tax dodgers face £200k debt despite council tax freeze

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: March 10, 2014

Burton Town Hall

Burton Town Hall

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A COUNCIL owed more than £200,000 in unpaid tax is pursuing hundreds of more cheats – as another freeze is proposed.

East Staffordshire Borough Council has been granted liability orders against another 367 people for non-payment of council tax and 24 who failed to pay non-domestic – or business - rates, totalling more than £200,000.

The latest war on Uttoxeter’s tax cheats comes after the borough council filed for legal action over a £640,000 tax shortfall in January and £300,000 in February, meaning in total the authority is seeking to recoup more than £1 million.

The latest unpaid council tax case comes to a total of £122,261, while the authority lost out on £84,510.88 in business rates.

Most of the bills relate to the current financial year.

The borough council appeared at Stafford Magistrates’ Court and was granted permission to pursue the cash owed to it by other means such as deductions from earnings or benefits.

Julian Mott, leader of the council, said the authority would aim to freeze council tax in 2015-16 – making it the fifth time tax has not risen in the borough.

Residents in East Staffordshire currently pay one of the lowest rates in the country

Robert Oxley, from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, has said: “Tough action should be taken on those who refuse, while others who are simply struggling with rising bills should be helped with easier ways to pay.

“Keeping council tax low is the easiest way to ensure people don’t struggle to pay, while the council should always differentiate those who can’t pay and those who won’t pay.”

The authority said residents are offered initiatives to help them pay tax in instalments, while people struggling to meet payments were urged not to bury their heads in the sand.

Help and advice with paying council tax is available by calling the authority on 01283 508030.

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