A COUNCIL has filed for legal action against hundreds of people who have clocked up an unpaid tax bill of more than £130,000.
East Staffordshire Borough Council appeared at court this week, seeking to have liability orders granted against 300 people for non-payment of council tax totalling £65,666 and 20 who failed to pay non-domestic – or business – rates, adding up to £71,625.02
It comes as part of the continuing war on Uttoxeter’s tax cheats in which the borough council has filed for legal action in previous months seeking to recoup more than £1 million.
Most of the unpaid bills relate to the current financial year, the council said.
Now the orders are granted, it will allow the authority to pursue the cash owed to it by other means such as deductions from earnings or benefits.
Residents in East Staffordshire currently pay some of the lowest council tax rates in the country.
Tax has not risen in the borough for the past four years.
Robert Oxley, from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said it was about striking the balance between punishing those deliberately avoiding paying tax and helping those who could not afford to.
Mr Oxley 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.”
East Staffordshire Borough Council said residents in the borough had been 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.
Any council taxpayer or non-domestic rates payer who is experiencing difficulties in paying their tax after their initial bill is sent can contact the council by phoning 01283 508030 or visiting the Customer Service Centre in the Market Place, Burton.