A mid afternoon moan…

Right, im afraid im going to have a little rant here folks just incase any of you are enjoying the lovely process of trying to sort out council tax exemption and would like some courage in your hour of need.

 Last week, my housemate and I both received a Court summons from Birmingham City Council due to the fact that we had not paid our council tax, thus we also received a rather large cheque much to our shock and horror.  This was because we had not sent off our council tax certificates (as most of you will know, students are exempt from paying council tax)

 The very fact that the council had taken it as far as setting a court date for two weeks time causes me some a great deal of distress.  For several reasons…

 Not only do they know that Selly Oak is absolutely full of students and so it was most likely that in our case, we just had not sent the correct forms off, not infact as they assumed, ignoring the bills, but we weren’t even receiving any council tax bills in the first place! 

Furthermore, in letting it appear that Birmingham city council knew we were students by not sending us any bills or reminders to pay, my housemates and I had miraculously ran up over £100 in ‘charges’.  Is this my friends, due to the amount of paper and ink that the council waste in sending out Court summons to students?

The saga continues… when I rang them this morning to explain the situation, it seemed they were already prepared for my problem as I had a special number to press that dealt with council tax summons.  This tells me I am not the only one in this situation, infact i have gathered that it happens all the time.

And just one last little moan – when i got through to the council, I was also told by an automated voice that my call was placed in a queue and that I would have to wait. My caller number? TWELVE. As you may have gathered, I had to wait a long time, surprise surprise…

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5 thoughts on “A mid afternoon moan…

  1. Classic situation, happens all the time, but the council have to check the dodgers otherwise people would slip through the net all the time

  2. You being caller number 12 might only be an indication that there are 11 other people in Birmingham daft enough to think that living in a student area exempts one from council tax. Sure Birmingham City Council admin is fairly incompetent, but with that in mind, I would have sent them a recorded letter at the start of term with all the council tax certificates from my house. Having admitted you’ve not even sent them, I can’t see what you’re complaining about :) By your reasoning, high earners can move into Selly Oak and not bother to pay the council, just because half of their neighbours happen to be exempt.

    PS. I’m perhaps only being arsey because I just paid £260 in Council Tax yesterday. It hurt. :)

    PPS. On a much more constructive note, as Birmingham Uni clearly don’t do it already (I know a number of Universities do), perhaps you can use this experience to start a campaign to have the Uni automatically send details of its students to Birmingham City Council. Then it would be only those students living outside Birmingham who would need to apply for a certificate. Although I guess that would have its pros and cons. Discuss.

  3. I don’t think that living in a student area makes one exempt from council tax and i certainly did not write that so i resent us students being referred to as ‘daft’. What i was trying to get at is that the council should probably make an effort to remind tenants at addresses where they have received neither paid bills nor student exemption forms to pay the tax. Having a bill for the door would probably serve as a good reminder to send in the certificates. OR the University themselves could remind students to send their forms in asap in order to prevent this great number of court summons being issued to students.

    Can i also remind you that we will all be paying council tax in the near future?! And im pretty sure no one would appreciate this hassle and added stress with 20,000 words to write this term?!

  4. Similarly, I also got bloody angry with the Council and professional bailiffs.

    All started when we moved into our Selly Oak house. Having organised all the tax exemption malarkey I got confirmation of our exemption status. Amusingly, this was after they returned two of my housemates certifs because they were to too faint, needless to say I just returned the same forms by return and they were accepted!!

    Sorry getting lost. So exemption confirmed. We start receiving letters addressed to people totally unknown to us. The envelopes gradually get more colourful. Then we are told bailiffs will be attending our house (threats come over three consecutive weeks!) to remove our possessions.

    Despite the fact the bailiffs receive instruction for the Council, as subcontractors, to pursue unpaid tax, they accused me of someone else’s tax evasion! I contacted some bloody rude operator who told me to sort it out myself i.e. get copies of all docs, proof etc and send to them. But the council have already exempted us! Ridiculous. Gave in eventually, printed a cover letter on the rear of their most recent threat and returned in their own envelope. Childishly, I refrained from attaching a stamp.

    What a joke

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