Council tax and much more: the vital work of the council revenues team
Revenue collection, debt recovery, business rates, discount management, energy rebates. Especially in Times Like These (as Foo Fighters once sang) the Epsom & Ewell Borough Council revenues team plays a vital part in our community.
Their responsibilities and links with Citizens Advice were discussed at the Town Hall last month. Our staff and volunteers met team management as part of CAEE continuous training and development.
Sam Williams, Head of Council Tax Revenues, and Sarah Lewis, Senior Debt Recovery Officer, spoke warmly about our work with them to support residents through the last 3 difficult years. They were kind enough to say they couldn’t have achieved what they did without us!
What they do
A lot!! They must manage efficiently the payments due (and unfortunately overdue) from 35,000 domestic and 1,800 non-domestic properties. A quick look at the scale and range shows why Citizens Advice help for people in difficulty is so important.
The aim is always to calculate the lowest level payable before they send out the first notice.
Some groups of tax-payers are eligible to apply for discounts. The team must review the different situations of a range of individuals. single people, students, care leavers, severely mentally impaired and those with a disability. More about discounts here.
The team is also responsible for recovering debts when payments are not made on time. It wouldn’t be fair to those who do pay to not try to recover the debts due. They do their best to help people before they go into arrears and give them many chances to discuss the issue. Falling behind with payments.
Low income support
Then there is a separate council tax income discount based on the financial means of households with households with working age people. All households on low incomes can apply; there are 4 categories with a rising scale of reductions.
For people aged 66 or over on low income the council’s benefits team manages council tax support. It is up to them to apply via an online application form.
Another involvement is the government’s energy rebate. Direct debit tax payers automatically receive a £150 band A-D discount. Non-DD payers must apply online, but a Grants Funds Allocation team manages the process and we’re pleased they will provide paper forms if someone is struggling. The grants team will also manage the next stage of the discretionary Housing Support Fund when details are known later in July.