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Trunch businessman slams court warning over £1 council tax bill

PUBLISHED: 17:47 03 January 2012

Michael Moore received a letter from the council telling him he had council tax arrears of £1.00.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Michael Moore received a letter from the council telling him he had council tax arrears of £1.00. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

A north Norfolk businessman has blasted a council for threatening him with court action over tax arrears - of just £1.

Michael Moore was dumbfounded when he received a letter informing him of the outstanding balance of his council tax, which warned him if he did not pay the measly sum within five days he would be issued with a summons to magistrates court.

The 79-year-old from Trunch said he was tempted to argue the “ridiculous” case in court but ended up paying the fee to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) in person.

“I thought it was a huge joke,” he added. “The postage alone is 40-something-pence so they have spent half their pound before they even got it.

“I went down to the council offices and all the girls in that office were horrified that this had been sent out.”

Mr Moore pays his council tax half yearly in March and October but the arrears letter did not arrive at his door until the Saturday before Christmas, and was his first indication that he had an outstanding balance.

The Brewery Road resident, whose family business includes a farm and three hotels, calculated that he had underpaid his council tax and understood NNDC had a duty to collect all rates.

But he has slammed the authority for going to the extreme of sending him a letter over such a small sum and thought the outstanding bill could have been settled in a much simpler fashion.

He said: “Why don’t they just add on a pound next year? Anybody in a normal business would do just that or even forget it, life goes on. Often I write cheques out and round it up to the nearest pound.

“I think it’s a little bit ridiculous, the petty nature of the whole thing.”

Peter Battrick, NNDC spokesman, said a number of letters like Mr Moore’s had been sent to homeowners with small council tax arrears, as the authority was doing some “housekeeping” at the end of 2011 to clear outstanding bills before it begins using a new computer system later this year.

Mr Battrick added: “The individual amounts might appear relatively small - although we drew the line at £1 - but the actual number of these meant the total due was a few thousand pounds and it is our duty to make every reasonable attempt to collect council tax due to the council.

“We are pleased that many people are paying the amounts due, even thought they are individually quite small.

10 comments

  • They are bullies. My monthly payments are always up to date yet two years out of three they have sent the baliffs round. Ends up costing them money. Breckland should be ashamed. They don't even reply to e-mails

    Report this comment

    Jacob Burns

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

  • Big deal, these are computer generated, unlike his ego

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

  • It is true that some taxes are adjusted in the following period. However, is this really viable for council tax given that the need for adjustment is a relatively rare occurence? What is not clear here is why there was an outstanding balance in the first place. My perception from the article is that Mr Moore is publicising the fact that he is unable to pay the full due amount in the 2 instalments and is simply projecting his administrative incompetence onto NCC.

    Report this comment

    AE

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

  • Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

  • If he was that worried about costs etc, why did he drive to the council offices to pay in person when he spent more than £1 on fuel to get there and back!

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

  • "V", leaving the the small amount aside, what a strange and deeply cynical post. Are you suggesting that Councils shouldn't collect the Council tax?

    Report this comment

    Jaguar

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

  • The council pigs at the trough have to be fed and get their excessive pay & expenses from somewhere.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

  • Sense and sensibility it isn't at the Council, but then the real world is another place for them

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

  • Jaguar. If there has been an under or overpayment in tax, then your tax code is adjusted for the following year. The council could have adjusted his council tax for 2012 - 2013 to take this £1 into account and saved money on the postage and time. But then that is too easy for the jobsworths to think of ?

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

  • AE is on the spot. Up here, "Businessman" = Crook.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

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