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How Hartlepool Borough Council Rips Off Residents Struggling to Pay Their Council Tax Hartlepool residents struggling to pay their council tax should not expect any sympathy from the authority. That’s the lesson to be learned from a comparison of the court charges imposed on residents covering the five local authorities within the Tees Valley Combined Authority. It’s well known that Hartlepool charges the highest council tax of all five authorities but it’s increasingly becoming clear that Hartlepool Council charges the highest rates in a host of other areas too. One such example is that of the charges imposed if the council decides to issue a court summons for the recovery of the amount overdue which can be as little as a few pounds. Charges are split between the Summons Fee and a Liability Order. Summons Fee The Summons Fee is an administration fee charged as the cost of raising a court summons. Generally residents are given 7 days to pay any outstanding amount after the red letter notifying the resident of court action. Any resident unable to pay the outstanding amount within the stipulated 7 days will have the summons fee added to the outstanding balance. Importantly, if the resident manages to pay the outstanding balance within, say, 9 days, will find themselves having to pay not only the original outstanding balance but now also the Summons Fee Liability Order The Liability Order only becomes payable after the case has been before the magistrates court and an order has been issued for payment. At this point, it’s worth noting that all such cases in Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool are now heard in the same Middlesbrough Magistrates Court and by the same Magistrates. Darlington is the only exception because it has retained its own Magistrates Court. Comparison Of the five local authorities within the Tees Valley Combined Authority, no two authorities operate the same scheme for charging residents the costs of potential court action; nor do they charge the same fees - a surprising fact given that the process, courts and magistrates are essentially the same for four of the five authorities. Hartlepool Borough Council stands out as charging the highest Summons Fee of £70 ensuring that, even if a resident in financial difficulty manages to avoid actual court action by paying off any outstanding balance before the court date - a task made much more difficult by the addition of the summons fee to any outstanding balance - the council still maximises the amount it receives by focusing on the pre-court summons fee. Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is the only authority which makes a distinction between those owing less than £200 in council tax and those owing more than £200. For Stockton residents owing less than £200, the total cost of court action would be £30 compared to the £80 charged by Hartlepool Borough Council.
How Hartlepool Borough Council Rips Off Residents Struggling to Pay Their Council Tax Hartlepool residents struggling to pay their council tax should not expect any sympathy from the authority. That’s the lesson to be learned from a comparison of the court charges imposed on residents covering the five local authorities within the Tees Valley Combined Authority. It’s well known that Hartlepool charges the highest council tax of all five authorities but it’s increasingly becoming clear that Hartlepool Council charges the highest rates in a host of other areas too. One such example is that of the charges imposed if the council decides to issue a court summons for the recovery of the amount overdue which can be as little as a few pounds. Charges are split between the Summons Fee and a Liability Order. Summons Fee The Summons Fee is an administration fee charged as the cost of raising a court summons. Generally residents are given 7 days to pay any outstanding amount after the red letter notifying the resident of court action. Any resident unable to pay the outstanding amount within the stipulated 7 days will have the summons fee added to the outstanding balance. Importantly, if the resident manages to pay the outstanding balance within, say, 9 days, will find themselves having to pay not only the original outstanding balance but now also the Summons Fee Liability Order The Liability Order only becomes payable after the case has been before the magistrates court and an order has been issued for payment. At this point, it’s worth noting that all such cases in Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool are now heard in the same Middlesbrough Magistrates Court and by the same Magistrates. Darlington is the only exception because it has retained its own Magistrates Court. Comparison Of the five local authorities within the Tees Valley Combined Authority, no two authorities operate the same scheme for charging residents the costs of potential court action; nor do they charge the same fees - a surprising fact given that the process, courts and magistrates are essentially the same for four of the five authorities. Hartlepool Borough Council stands out as charging the highest Summons Fee of £70 ensuring that, even if a resident in financial difficulty manages to avoid actual court action by paying off any outstanding balance before the court date - a task made much more difficult by the addition of the summons fee to any outstanding balance - the council still maximises the amount it receives by focusing on the pre- court summons fee. Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is the only authority which makes a distinction between those owing less than £200 in council tax and those owing more than £200.
How Hartlepool Borough Council Rips Off Residents Struggling to Pay Their Council Tax Hartlepool residents struggling to pay their council tax should not expect any sympathy from the authority. That’s the lesson to be learned from a comparison of the court charges imposed on residents covering the five local authorities within the Tees Valley Combined Authority. It’s well known that Hartlepool charges the highest council tax of all five authorities but it’s increasingly becoming clear that Hartlepool Council charges the highest rates in a host of other areas too. One such example is that of the charges imposed if the council decides to issue a court summons for the recovery of the amount overdue which can be as little as a few pounds. Charges are split between the Summons Fee and a Liability Order. Summons Fee The Summons Fee is an administration fee charged as the cost of raising a court summons. Generally residents are given 7 days to pay any outstanding amount after the red letter notifying the resident of court action. Any resident unable to pay the outstanding amount within the stipulated 7 days will have the summons fee added to the outstanding balance. Importantly, if the resident manages to pay the outstanding balance within, say, 9 days, will find themselves having to pay not only the original outstanding balance but now also the Summons Fee Liability Order The Liability Order only becomes payable after the case has been before the magistrates court and an order has been issued for payment. At this point, it’s worth noting that all such cases in Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool are now heard in the same Middlesbrough Magistrates Court and by the same Magistrates. Darlington is the only exception because it has retained its own Magistrates Court. Comparison Of the five local authorities within the Tees Valley Combined Authority, no two authorities operate the same scheme for charging residents the costs of potential court action; nor do they charge the same fees - a surprising fact given that the process, courts and magistrates are essentially the same for four of the five authorities. Hartlepool Borough Council stands out as charging the highest Summons Fee of £70 ensuring that, even if a resident in financial difficulty manages to avoid actual court action by paying off any outstanding balance before the court date - a task made much more difficult by the addition of the summons fee to any outstanding balance - the council still maximises the amount it receives by focusing on the pre-court summons fee. Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is the only authority which makes a distinction between those owing less than £200 in council tax and those owing more than £200. For Stockton residents owing less than £200, the total cost of court action would be £30 compared to the £80 charged by Hartlepool Borough
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