Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Payment on Demand

I've tried the web page, I've tried e-mail. I've gone back to paper and a typewriter. Having got nowhere in nearly 12 months with paying my council tax, I've bitten the bullet and written to the Chief Executive of my local council. I'll let you know what the response is. Here's the letter: Dear Mr. Alltimes Over the last few months I have exchanged several emails with your team regarding the payment of council tax. Having moved into a newly-constructed property, I used your website to alert you to my desire to pay the necessary tax. I was initially advised that it wouldn’t be possible as there was no such property where I claimed to live:
“It would appear that we have flats 1-9 but NOT 11 on our data base … I apologise for any inconvenience caused but we are unable to register you until the valuation office contact us and advise that your property exists.”
I checked and rechecked the details and assured your officers that there was indeed a property at the address I claimed to live at – after all, I was standing in it at the time. I was then advised that an inspection was needed to ensure that the property existed or perhaps to give it a reference number – I was never clear which:
“I made a report on this property on 22.11.04 as I recall I contacted the developer direct Your property number is 00018660110041”
Meanwhile, I had successfully added myself to the electoral roll and was even receiving deliveries via the Post Office, increasing my confidence that my address did indeed exist. Eventually, I was advised that it should all be ok:
“I write to confirm that you have now been registered for the payment of council tax. Your new council tax account number is 64583982 and a demand will be issued once the valuation office have contacted us to confirm the banding of this property.
You should receive a letter from the valuation office confirming which council tax band your property is listed as”
Later, I was told that I needed to get my property valued – this despite the fact that it had only recently been built and I was the first occupant. I’ve since tried to get it valued, writing to another part of government, but have yet to receive a response. Perhaps they don’t believe I live here either?
“If you wish to chase up the matter of the banding on your property, you will can do this by contacting the Valuation Office”
Whilst I make little use of council services, as far as I’m aware, I would prefer to pay council tax as I believe I am obliged to. I have no desire, however, to navigate further the bureaucracy of local and central government to do so, given that I have failed to make much of a route map so far. Perhaps you could send a bill based on your estimate of the value of the property and arrange for a valuation to be conducted at a later date that suits, whether by the Valuation Office or by someone who can look at my mortgage statement which clearly states how much I paid. I would be delighted to begin making payments as soon as you are ready to issue a demand.

2 comments:

  1. Yet another classic example of "joined up" government...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous6:39 pm

    http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=2103982005

    Jerry Fishenden speaks.

    Regards,
    Ian

    ReplyDelete