What do you reckon to this?

What do you reckon to this?

Postby kliff » Wed May 12, 2010 7:47 pm

A friend of mine has appealed to his local council for a reduction in CT under S13a LGFA 1992 and had an outright rejection, this is the story so far; comments please? (good, bad or indifferent :wink: )


Dear

Thank you for your communication of the 6th April, received 12 April 2010 by Royal Mail.

Sir, I respectfully refer you to the following paragraphs in your letter:

1. “I have reviewed your income and expenditure information and whilst it is difficult to comment on some of the expenditure it appears to me that £50.00 per month on your television and £200.00 per month on phones is excessive.”

With all due respect sir, by what qualification do you come to that presumption; I request that you explain how you came to the conclusion that that is “excessive”!

It’s absurd, absolutely preposterous, that you make such a statement! It is quite clearly your opinion (“I have reviewed……” and “……it appears to me…….”) and has no bearing on the issue or anything else to do with my pleading so therefore I request that you keep your opinions to yourself. Next you’ll be saying that you don’t see why I have to spend x,y,z amount on food, gas and electricity!!!! I would like to compare my family living expenses with yours and see where I thought YOU could make “savings”; after all, using your ethic, you would be entitled to my opinion on the matter!!!!

I would now respectfully draw your attention to the following paragraph:

2. “Having reviewed the case using the information you have provided regarding your circumstances and taking into account your current income and expenditure I see no valid grounds to reduce your council tax for 2010/11 to nil as requested. Unfortunately, neither do I agree to your request to reduce your outstanding council tax arrears to nil.”

Sir, Is it safe for me to assume that as YOU have consistently used the term ‘I’ in your letter, YOU have sole discretion as to the outcome of any such request?

Please could you clarify, with explicit detail and in layman’s terms, the council’s established processes and policy/s that you have used to determine that “I” do not have “valid grounds” for receiving a favourable review only an outright rejection? As part of your explanation, I request that you use and include the information and figures that you believe correct as conveyed to you by me as it has been my experience in the past that imparted information has been misconstrued and/or simply overlooked/ignored. And whilst we are on the subject on imparted information; NOT ONCE HAVE I BEEN ASKED TO FILL IN AN “OFFICIAL” MEANS TEST OR FOR THAT MATTER, ANY OTHER “OFFICIAL” INFORMATION FORM; I HAVE ALWAYS VOLUNTEERED THE INFORMATION IN GOOD FAITH AND OF MY OWN VOLITION!

Upon receipt and due consideration of the requested information/clarification, I advise you for and on the record, that I may decide to exercise my right to appeal your decision and present what I consider to be, your opinionative letter as evidence that it is my belief that my request was not considered with due fairness and without bias or that it was EVEN based on my current financial circumstances using established council policy and procedures.

And, further, I also respectfully request acknowledgement of this email BY RETURN and that in future all communications regarding this matter be conducted via my preferred method of contact, email.



and the reply received today:


Dear

Thank you for your email dated 4 May 2010.

The reason I have I have used the term "I" in my letter is because I am the designated officer to determine and decide on applications for reduction of council tax under section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

I have based my opinion about the level of your expenses on my officers experience at Magistrates Courts, who have in the past deemed these expenses excessive when assessing income and expenditure for "means enquiries" and committal hearings.

I have been advised that you have not been requested to complete any "official" income and expenditure form is because you have already provided these and providing them again on a Council form would not be of any benefit.

I can confirm that I have asked Mr, my Revenues and Benefits Manager, to review your emails to the benefits section that have not been responded to, and I trust you will hear from him shortly.

In making my decision I have taken into account, the information you have provided, the period of the debt, your payment record and the Council's local policy regarding this matter.

You state that you want to appeal against my decision. The only right of appeal for this decision is to the Director of Corporate Services. Can you please confirm if you would like to add any further evidence that can be submitted with your appeal. If there is please forward it to Mr. as he will be compiling the appeal papers.

Yours sincerely,

My consent is neither expressed nor implied.
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Re: What do you reckon to this?

Postby Jim » Wed May 12, 2010 8:29 pm

Hi kliff. Seeking a reduction under S13a LGFA 1992 is an interesting approach but your friend is still trying to play their game and play it according to their rules. Therefore, he's almost certainly up the creek without a proverbial. What do we think the chances are that the Director of Corporate Services will be completely impartial in his consideration of an appeal? There's a couple of "next steps" I can think of that I would consider if I was in your friends position:

1) Write back to the "designated officer" and instruct him not to submit your appeal without your express written approval. This could stall the process and leave them hanging (indefinitely, ideally)

2) Write to the Director of Corporate Services and ask him for evidence (upon his full commercial liabiility and under penalty of perjury) that any appeal will be given impartial consideration

3) Hit them with a fee schedule so you can begin issuing bills of your own with which to offset the liability.

Good fortune, friend. Keep fighting the good fight.

:peace:

J
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Re: What do you reckon to this?

Postby kliff » Wed May 12, 2010 8:39 pm

Jim wrote:
1) Write back to the "designated officer" and instruct him not to submit your appeal without your express written approval. This could stall the process and leave them hanging (indefinitely, ideally)


Yep thought of that one, the first letter already says "Upon receipt and due consideration of the requested information/clarification, I advise you for and on the record, that I may decide to exercise my right to appeal your decision" :grin: so that gets a reiteration.....

Jim wrote:
2) Write to the Director of Corporate Services and ask him for evidence (upon his full commercial liabiility and under penalty of perjury) that any appeal will be given impartial consideration


And that :wink:

Jim wrote:3) Hit them with a fee schedule so you can begin issuing bills of your own with which to offset the liability.


Not a freeman (yet) so......
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Re: What do you reckon to this?

Postby Veronica » Wed May 12, 2010 8:52 pm

They make up rules to suit themselves. They don't even keep to their own rules. Dancing with the Devil will get your toes trodden on.

IMHO (and FWIW) a complete waste of time + effort on your friend's part ... but nevertheless I wish him well.
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Re: What do you reckon to this?

Postby kliff » Wed May 12, 2010 9:00 pm

Cheers guys, sentiments relayed, if anything happens I'll keep you posted for reference.
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