Tuesday, October 19, 2021
HomeCulture WarsNow I’m taking council tax to task!

Now I’m taking council tax to task!

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AS you may have seen here , I recently explained to Boris Johnson why I don’t owe any tax. Now I’m in a similar situation with my local council, after receiving a court summons (written in fact by the council) for non-payment of council tax – even though I’ve paid it. Below is my reply – hard copies sent to The Usual Suspects.

Dear Sir/Madam/Other 


CC: Boris Johnson 

CC: Rishi Sunak 

THANK you for your court summons alleging non-payment of council tax received 4 Oct 2021 with the added £60 and threat of being proceeded against and additional costs of an order of non-payment of £40. 

If you check your records, you will see that in fact I have paid council tax since I bought the property in January 2020. However, as you opted for stick over carrot, I decided to see what council tax covered and how many of the council tax services were available during lockdown. Turns out, not many. Which means you owe me money. 

From the list below: 

Police and fire services 

I’m not sure fining people for throwing snowballs, travelling further than seven miles, meeting more than five people outdoors (or two indoors) or checking car registration plates at outdoor food markets would qualify as a ‘service’. 

Leisure and recreation projects such as parks and sports centre upkeep 

Same thing. Parks may well have been open, but only for one person-hour per day and there are – as I’m sure you are aware – 24 hours in each day, which means this fee needs to be reduced. Considerably. Sports centres were closed. 

Libraries and education services 

Closed (no payment) or online (reduced payment). 

Rubbish and waste collection and disposal 

I’ll pay for this one. 

Transport and highway services, including street lighting and cleaning, and road maintenance 

A discount will need to be factored in here, as taxpayers were instructed to stay at home. Therefore, roads were closed to the majority and limits on driving further than seven miles were imposed. As the roads were used less, road maintenance and cleaning services would have been reduced. More fool you if you left the lights on. 

Environmental health and trading standards 

The Government stopped most trading, which can clearly be seen from the plethora of collapsed businesses, empty shops and dilapidated pubs.  

As for the environment: No cars, no planes and a reduction in outdoor activities. Is that the ‘environmental’ service I’m paying for? And, just for the record, a) 250 years ago, the Earth was hotter than it is now and b) chemical trails are not helping, neither are spike proteins, man-made viruses or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). 

Administration and record-keeping, like marriages, deaths and birth, and local elections 

I would like a breakdown as to how much this costs per capita for the county. According to Citizens Advice, I would not be liable for council tax if the property was unoccupied because the person who lived there had gone to care for someone else.  

Between the first lockdown of March 23rd until June 15th, I stayed with an elderly parent, as otherwise they would have seen no one (85 days). I did phone up the council in regard to this, so please check the phone records. Also, there could be a reduction in council tax if someone is on low income, which – working in the leisure industry – I have been. 

The total number of days during which services were reduced (including the tier system and a break for Christmas) comes to 407. Falling within the period March 23, 2020 to July 19, 2021, this equates to 84 per cent of days when full services were not available. This means that my council tax bill should in fact be £216.85 and not £1,355.33. 

According to ‘My Account’ on your website, I have in fact paid a total of £1,713 which means you owe me £1,496.15 or – if taken as an advance payment – I am not in arrears.  

But let’s be generous. As I understand it, since 2020 councils in England have lost 75p in every £1 of the Revenue Support Grant they started receiving in 2015. Therefore, as approximately 50 per cent of council tax now goes towards adult and child care, the amount outstanding which you owe me would come down to £639.65.  

However, I am only prepared to pay towards adult care if you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that none of the funding will go towards the purchase of Midazolam. I don’t want to be dragged into court on some murder charge – especially as you’d probably add it to my bill – in advance. 

Penultimately, I note the threat of punishment for non-payment of council tax (even though I have paid) can be any or all of the following: 

a) Directing your employer to make a deduction from your wages. Being self-employed, I did put it to myself that I might have an amount deducted from my wages, but I also had to point out to myself that there were no wages, courtesy of a needless lockdown and collapsing of the economy (aka a further funnelling of money from the poor to the rich). On that last point, we both agree. 

b) Removing goods to the value of the debt for sale at public auction. As shown above, you owe me money, so please bring a chequebook if you wish to visit, as I don’t fancy coming to your office to remove goods that are probably all flat-pack. 

c) Commencing insolvency proceedings against you. I’m not insolvent, I just don’t owe you any money. 

d) Ninety days jail time (as listed online, though not in your letter thankfully). The annual cost of housing a female (local) prisoner is £35,465 – which equates to £8,866.25 for a three-month stay. Do you seriously think this is sensible use of taxpayer monies? Don’t forget to factor in that when in jail, I won’t be paying council tax. 

You need to get it together and send me an accurate bill, one that reflects the three months I looked after my mother during the first lockdown (Mar 23/2020 – June 15/2020) and the reduction in services. Nobody pays for petrol they can’t get, so why pay for roads, libraries and sports centres you can’t use? 

Lastly: 

1. Summonses must be authorised by a Justice of the Peace or Clerk to the Justices, whose signature should appear on the summons. This person must have personally considered the complaint. However, there is no name or signature. 

2. You can take off the £60 cost of summons. The council provided the summons, not the court (which BTW could be considered as fraud and perjury under the 1911 Perjury Act and a crime under the Administration of Justice Act) and it can’t possibly cost £60 to send a summons. Even taking off the cost of a first-class stamp, that would be the equivalent of £5.94/mile – which is what I’ll charge you if I have to come over and pick up the flat-pack stuff. 

3. How can I be ‘proceeded against as if you have attended’ if I haven’t attended? That would be like saying I’m married to Ryan Gosling even though neither of us attended the wedding. 

Please recalculate and resend (not forgetting to remove the £60) and I will be happy to pay – if I haven’t already. But bear in mind, I can write these letters all day long, so if it’s easier for you to consider me mentally incapacitated, fine. I won’t have to pay any council tax at all.  

In defiance of The System, 

Suzie Halewood 

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Suzie Halewood
Suzie Halewood is a filmmaker with a degree in mathematics.

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