Bailiffs seize £1m unpaid tax

Halifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall
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Bailiffs employed by Calderdale Council have recovered more than £1m in unpaid taxes in the last two years.

Four bailiff agencies helped to recover £713,000 in council tax last year, as well as £227,960 in business rates.

More than £65,000 was also received by the council through bailiffs between April 2011 and March 2012 for parking fines, sundry income and overpaid housing benefit.

Calderdale Council currently use two debt collection agencies, but four were employed during the last two years to recover the money.

In a statement, Calderdale Council said: “We take the issue of non payment of council tax very seriously.

“Council tax helps pay for services in Calderdale. The Council takes into account the amount of income it will collect from council tax in its budget calculations.

“To collect council tax debt there will first be a reminder letter. If the debt is still unpaid, this will lead to a magistrate’s court summons, and ultimately other options such as taking money from pay or benefits. Sending bailiffs to collect outstanding council tax is a last resort, and the Council will always explore other ways to collect any outstanding income before involving bailiffs.”

The government announced earlier this year that laws to tackle aggressive bailiffs will be introduced next year.

Bailiffs will be banned from entering homes at night, properties where only children are present, and will be stopped from using any physical contact.

They will also no longer fix their own fees, because set fee scales will be brought in.