Widow fined for paying council tax 5 days late

Echo: Jeanette Everton Jeanette Everton

A CASH-strapped widow has slated the decision to drag her to court for not paying her council tax on time as a “complete waste of taxpayers’ cash.”

Cleaner Jeanette Everton, 53, was sent a summons because she regularly needs to pay her £97 bill a few days late, although she pays the full amount every month.

Although she is on the poverty line, when she appeared at Basildon Magistrates’ Court, Mrs Everton ended up being given an array of extra fines, including a £95 court fee even though she didn’t step inside a courtroom.

Instead Mrs Everton, of High Road, Vange, was seen outside the court by an official who dealt with her case within two minutes.

She said: “I was literally there for two minutes, even though I had to take the day off work.

“I don’t know who the man dealing with me was. He didn’t even tell me.

“He just said to me ‘I’ll deal with you here’. He then asked me how I was going to pay the rest of my council tax bill upfront, which was £670.

“I told him there’s no way I could do that. He then issued me with a £95 court fee, a £45 admin charge and £50 for failing to pay the balance of my bill!

“I wanted to see a judge and to explain the situation. Isn’t that the point of going to court?

“I was told ‘that’s not going to happen’.

“Why was I charged a court fee for sitting in a court corridor?”

Mrs Everton said she is still in exactly the same situation as before. She said: “This man didn’t seem to understand that I couldn’t pay and in the end I just walked out.

“I have no idea what the situation is now. I’m worse off and none the wiser.

“I told the man I can’t pay the money as I don’t have it.

“I’m not lying. I live alone. I don’t drink, smoke, have a mobile phone or even central heating.”

Mrs Everton, who works for Coryton Oil Refinery, earns £6.92 an hour and gets no state benefits.

Because she gets her £240 wage weekly she has to juggle her money, which means her council tax bill gets paid between two and five-days late.

She said: “I am an easy target because I actually do pay, albeit a bit late.

“They can’t get blood out of a stone.”

Phil Turner, councillor responsible for resources, said: “Firstly, we cannot comment on individual cases.

“However, Basildon Council offers a range of options to help residents pay, but the most effective and efficient way to pay is by Direct Debit.

“If you are liable for paying your council tax, then it is your social responsibility to pay in full and on time and the vast majority of our residents do just this, perfectly.

“Costs that are incurred due to late payments are passed on in order to minimise the cost incurred by other tax payers who pay on time and in full.

“If anyone fails to meet their responsibility to pay on time, our statutory duty means we will collect all the money due for the entire year and not just for the missed payment.

“Of course, on top of this they will also have to pay the cost of a court summons.

“We are here to help residents who can’t pay, not those who won’t pay. If a resident can’t pay, then they should get in contact with the council and our professional staff will gladly help them with their circumstances.”

Comments (19)

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1:17pm Tue 27 Sep 11

John the resonator says...

As Nebs pointed out last time Jeanette Everton is probably entitled to about £40-50 weekly in working tax credits and housing benefit. I had hoped she would have been advised about all this either by the council or at court. I really hope she makes enquiries about that now.

I also think it was a disgrace she was dealt with by a runner in the corridor rather than letting the court hear her case. I thought that was everybody's right. Why was it 'not going to happen?' She was denied justice in my view.

Given the whole reason she is struggling to pay on such a low income I really really cannot see how fining her is going to help.

Madness unless there is more to this case than revealed.
As Nebs pointed out last time Jeanette Everton is probably entitled to about £40-50 weekly in working tax credits and housing benefit. I had hoped she would have been advised about all this either by the council or at court. I really hope she makes enquiries about that now. I also think it was a disgrace she was dealt with by a runner in the corridor rather than letting the court hear her case. I thought that was everybody's right. Why was it 'not going to happen?' She was denied justice in my view. Given the whole reason she is struggling to pay on such a low income I really really cannot see how fining her is going to help. Madness unless there is more to this case than revealed. John the resonator
  • Score: 0

1:21pm Tue 27 Sep 11

jojo221 says...

this story really annoys me, this woman lives on the breadline, asks for no handouts and PAYS her tax etc albeit a few days late and yet they treat her like this! She has explained why she is late paying-they are NOT helping her with her situation because if they were they would move the date she needs to pay then she wouldnt be late. How about you chase after those who cheat and lie to the state! Jeanette, i am on your side
this story really annoys me, this woman lives on the breadline, asks for no handouts and PAYS her tax etc albeit a few days late and yet they treat her like this! She has explained why she is late paying-they are NOT helping her with her situation because if they were they would move the date she needs to pay then she wouldnt be late. How about you chase after those who cheat and lie to the state! Jeanette, i am on your side jojo221
  • Score: 0

1:25pm Tue 27 Sep 11

wickham says...

Jeanette, Please go and get free legal advice from the Citizens Advice about appealing your fine and court costs, as far as I can see you have not refused to pay your C.Tax, nor where you given the opportunity to see the Court.
Jeanette, Please go and get free legal advice from the Citizens Advice about appealing your fine and court costs, as far as I can see you have not refused to pay your C.Tax, nor where you given the opportunity to see the Court. wickham
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Tue 27 Sep 11

juliahumanbeing says...

And now some of this woman's circumstances are written up in a public place for people to comment on. The same thing happens all over the country - council's hounding people for what they don't have. Not meeting their statutory obligations let alone moral ones.

Council statement sounds lovely doesn't it: "we're here to help" - not really true though is it. Anyone who still believes that we live in the sort of society that has a safety net of welfare and provision is deluding themselves.
And now some of this woman's circumstances are written up in a public place for people to comment on. The same thing happens all over the country - council's hounding people for what they don't have. Not meeting their statutory obligations let alone moral ones. Council statement sounds lovely doesn't it: "we're here to help" - not really true though is it. Anyone who still believes that we live in the sort of society that has a safety net of welfare and provision is deluding themselves. juliahumanbeing
  • Score: 0

1:34pm Tue 27 Sep 11

bazza 1 says...

wickham wrote:
Jeanette, Please go and get free legal advice from the Citizens Advice about appealing your fine and court costs, as far as I can see you have not refused to pay your C.Tax, nor where you given the opportunity to see the Court.
Well said "Wickham". How is it that Joe public, who pay their taxes, get penalised just because we are easy meat. I wonder how much council tax is paid by the residents of Dale Farm, and if the information is available under the freedom of imformation act. It might make interesting reading.
[quote][p][bold]wickham[/bold] wrote: Jeanette, Please go and get free legal advice from the Citizens Advice about appealing your fine and court costs, as far as I can see you have not refused to pay your C.Tax, nor where you given the opportunity to see the Court.[/p][/quote]Well said "Wickham". How is it that Joe public, who pay their taxes, get penalised just because we are easy meat. I wonder how much council tax is paid by the residents of Dale Farm, and if the information is available under the freedom of imformation act. It might make interesting reading. bazza 1
  • Score: 1

1:44pm Tue 27 Sep 11

wickham says...

You raise an excellent point bazza regarding Freedom of Information, I am not that clever in finding out these sorts of things (maybe it is the irish in me rofl). But I will give it a good try.
You raise an excellent point bazza regarding Freedom of Information, I am not that clever in finding out these sorts of things (maybe it is the irish in me rofl). But I will give it a good try. wickham
  • Score: 0

1:45pm Tue 27 Sep 11

John the resonator says...

wickham wrote:
Jeanette, Please go and get free legal advice from the Citizens Advice about appealing your fine and court costs, as far as I can see you have not refused to pay your C.Tax, nor where you given the opportunity to see the Court.
Absolutely agree. I can't get my head around the idea of being dealt with in the corridor without the opportunity to put her case to the court. It seems to be a complete failure in our justice system.

And the code words are deny-care (true).
[quote][p][bold]wickham[/bold] wrote: Jeanette, Please go and get free legal advice from the Citizens Advice about appealing your fine and court costs, as far as I can see you have not refused to pay your C.Tax, nor where you given the opportunity to see the Court.[/p][/quote]Absolutely agree. I can't get my head around the idea of being dealt with in the corridor without the opportunity to put her case to the court. It seems to be a complete failure in our justice system. And the code words are deny-care (true). John the resonator
  • Score: 0

1:58pm Tue 27 Sep 11

hughie-s says...

bazza 1 wrote:
wickham wrote:
Jeanette, Please go and get free legal advice from the Citizens Advice about appealing your fine and court costs, as far as I can see you have not refused to pay your C.Tax, nor where you given the opportunity to see the Court.
Well said "Wickham". How is it that Joe public, who pay their taxes, get penalised just because we are easy meat. I wonder how much council tax is paid by the residents of Dale Farm, and if the information is available under the freedom of imformation act. It might make interesting reading.
You can check council tax band for a property here........

http://www.voa.gov.u
k/cti/InitS.asp?lcn=
0
[quote][p][bold]bazza 1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wickham[/bold] wrote: Jeanette, Please go and get free legal advice from the Citizens Advice about appealing your fine and court costs, as far as I can see you have not refused to pay your C.Tax, nor where you given the opportunity to see the Court.[/p][/quote]Well said "Wickham". How is it that Joe public, who pay their taxes, get penalised just because we are easy meat. I wonder how much council tax is paid by the residents of Dale Farm, and if the information is available under the freedom of imformation act. It might make interesting reading.[/p][/quote]You can check council tax band for a property here........ http://www.voa.gov.u k/cti/InitS.asp?lcn= 0 hughie-s
  • Score: 0

2:14pm Tue 27 Sep 11

bob7 says...

It would seem that all this lady needs is a few hundred pounds in her account so that she can pay her council tax when it is due. I am guessing that if her bill date was moved by a week it would get paid on time. As it stands paying on time would mean arrears on her account until her next payday so leaving her with charges.
It would seem that all this lady needs is a few hundred pounds in her account so that she can pay her council tax when it is due. I am guessing that if her bill date was moved by a week it would get paid on time. As it stands paying on time would mean arrears on her account until her next payday so leaving her with charges. bob7
  • Score: 0

3:01pm Tue 27 Sep 11

bumper says...

pity they do not get the scum of dale farm in court??

but do not be silly easy picking is a single woman cowards
pity they do not get the scum of dale farm in court?? but do not be silly easy picking is a single woman cowards bumper
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Tue 27 Sep 11

Kim Gandy says...

oh that explains it all... Phil Turner, as effective as an ashtray on a motorbike. Can't comment on individual cases but exceedingly good at sniping at women. My own personal experience is that this man is typical of his type, couldn't give a monkey's about people like Mrs Everton. Any decent councillor would have demanded some answers of those responsible for enforcing this disgusting measure on this innocent woman.

There are plenty of parts of Basildon who never pay council tax. And we all know who they are.

Basildon Council shows itself more and more, daily, that it has all its priorities wrong and right now, given what is going on at Dole Farm, cannot afford to upset too many people.


That said, those of you who keep voting these cranks back in year after year only have yourselves to blame.

There ARE alternatives to the usual liblabcon mob. Use your imaginations.
oh that explains it all... Phil Turner, as effective as an ashtray on a motorbike. Can't comment on individual cases but exceedingly good at sniping at women. My own personal experience is that this man is typical of his type, couldn't give a monkey's about people like Mrs Everton. Any decent councillor would have demanded some answers of those responsible for enforcing this disgusting measure on this innocent woman. There are plenty of parts of Basildon who never pay council tax. And we all know who they are. Basildon Council shows itself more and more, daily, that it has all its priorities wrong and right now, given what is going on at Dole Farm, cannot afford to upset too many people. That said, those of you who keep voting these cranks back in year after year only have yourselves to blame. There ARE alternatives to the usual liblabcon mob. Use your imaginations. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 0

3:35pm Tue 27 Sep 11

John the resonator says...

Uh oh! Look out!
Uh oh! Look out! John the resonator
  • Score: 0

3:45pm Tue 27 Sep 11

ConcernedEssexBoy says...

I know Jeanette personally and you can take it from me that she is a good, hard working woman, who has had a tough time, personally, over the years.

She didn't deserve this. What the council has done to her is a disgrace.

I know one other person who this has happened to and the council gave them no leeway whatsoever, in paying their council tax, even though they were fully willing to pay it in full, not like the types who deliberately try to avoid paying it.
I know Jeanette personally and you can take it from me that she is a good, hard working woman, who has had a tough time, personally, over the years. She didn't deserve this. What the council has done to her is a disgrace. I know one other person who this has happened to and the council gave them no leeway whatsoever, in paying their council tax, even though they were fully willing to pay it in full, not like the types who deliberately try to avoid paying it. ConcernedEssexBoy
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Tue 27 Sep 11

Kim Gandy says...

ConcernedEssexBoy wrote:
I know Jeanette personally and you can take it from me that she is a good, hard working woman, who has had a tough time, personally, over the years.

She didn't deserve this. What the council has done to her is a disgrace.

I know one other person who this has happened to and the council gave them no leeway whatsoever, in paying their council tax, even though they were fully willing to pay it in full, not like the types who deliberately try to avoid paying it.
I know what Basildon are like. Great at enforcing when it comes to the little man; bullying people into submission and hounding decent people with genuine difficulties... but willing to pander to the every wish of the ne'er do well minority.

Offering council houses to illegal squatters is more their mark.
[quote][p][bold]ConcernedEssexBoy[/bold] wrote: I know Jeanette personally and you can take it from me that she is a good, hard working woman, who has had a tough time, personally, over the years. She didn't deserve this. What the council has done to her is a disgrace. I know one other person who this has happened to and the council gave them no leeway whatsoever, in paying their council tax, even though they were fully willing to pay it in full, not like the types who deliberately try to avoid paying it.[/p][/quote]I know what Basildon are like. Great at enforcing when it comes to the little man; bullying people into submission and hounding decent people with genuine difficulties... but willing to pander to the every wish of the ne'er do well minority. Offering council houses to illegal squatters is more their mark. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Tue 27 Sep 11

Kim Gandy says...

I know what Basildon are like. Great at enforcing when it comes to the little man; bullying people into submission and hounding decent people with genuine difficulties... but willing to pander to the every wish of the ne'er do well minority.

Offering council houses to illegal squatters is more their mark.
I know what Basildon are like. Great at enforcing when it comes to the little man; bullying people into submission and hounding decent people with genuine difficulties... but willing to pander to the every wish of the ne'er do well minority. Offering council houses to illegal squatters is more their mark. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 0

5:44pm Tue 27 Sep 11

Andycal 172D says...

Utterly unreasonable behaviour by the Council
Utterly unreasonable behaviour by the Council Andycal 172D
  • Score: 0

5:55pm Tue 27 Sep 11

diane m says...

If you have any problems paying your council tax, they ask you to get in touch.

So you do this and they say we cannot assist you, as you are not in arrears, as soon as you are in arrears, they then issue the Court paperwork (which adds more to the amount already owing).

At this point (and you can pop along to Southend Court as well as Basildon, to see just how many desolate folk this actually happens to, you may be shocked), you will arrive at Court, be met in the hallway and given some options.

The people at Castle Point team, (including a wonderful lady called Sally) do take the time to discuss this fully with you, they will send you an incomings and outgoings form, decide on an amount you can repay and a date and take it from there with you.

There is a real opportunity to ask for help at this point and to get some too. I'm unhappy that the Court part has to occur firstly, adding to the amount and also taking a journey of additional cost (Benfleet/canvey/had
leigh have to attend Southend Court).

I do feel it would be more beneficial to allow discussions to assist firstly, then if an arrangement is set up and fails, that's when Court should be a final event.

I wish this lady all the very best and really suggest she contacts the Enforcement Team at Basildon Council and find a friendly, approachable person there to help you through the next steps.
If you have any problems paying your council tax, they ask you to get in touch. So you do this and they say we cannot assist you, as you are not in arrears, as soon as you are in arrears, they then issue the Court paperwork (which adds more to the amount already owing). At this point (and you can pop along to Southend Court as well as Basildon, to see just how many desolate folk this actually happens to, you may be shocked), you will arrive at Court, be met in the hallway and given some options. The people at Castle Point team, (including a wonderful lady called Sally) do take the time to discuss this fully with you, they will send you an incomings and outgoings form, decide on an amount you can repay and a date and take it from there with you. There is a real opportunity to ask for help at this point and to get some too. I'm unhappy that the Court part has to occur firstly, adding to the amount and also taking a journey of additional cost (Benfleet/canvey/had leigh have to attend Southend Court). I do feel it would be more beneficial to allow discussions to assist firstly, then if an arrangement is set up and fails, that's when Court should be a final event. I wish this lady all the very best and really suggest she contacts the Enforcement Team at Basildon Council and find a friendly, approachable person there to help you through the next steps. diane m
  • Score: 0

6:30pm Tue 27 Sep 11

jolllyboy says...

Advice is not always forthcoming. I have a family member who was given completely incorrect information and was extremely upset because they knew it was wrong. When they rang Newcastle the comment was along the lines of dont they know what they are doing. Guess not. These days noone wants to talk properly to you.Just get rid of you or pass you onto the next person all the time.Unless you know the system it is a constant runaround and the whole thing is THEY DO NOT CARE. They should not be doing the job.
Advice is not always forthcoming. I have a family member who was given completely incorrect information and was extremely upset because they knew it was wrong. When they rang Newcastle the comment was along the lines of dont they know what they are doing. Guess not. These days noone wants to talk properly to you.Just get rid of you or pass you onto the next person all the time.Unless you know the system it is a constant runaround and the whole thing is THEY DO NOT CARE. They should not be doing the job. jolllyboy
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Wed 28 Sep 11

Wiccaqueen says...

issued me with a £95 court fee, a £45 admin charge and £50 for failing to pay the balance of my bill


may i just point out that there is NO charge for failing to pay the balance of a council tax bill
under The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement Regulations) 1992
there is an admin fee for issuing the summons and a court fee these fees however must be reasonable

i think this lady needs to get a formal complaint sent to the CEO of her council
not the revenues department as i think Capita enforce her council tax

and some goods advice before the bailiffs call which could be Equita who are part of the Capita Group of company's
issued me with a £95 court fee, a £45 admin charge and £50 for failing to pay the balance of my bill may i just point out that there is NO charge for failing to pay the balance of a council tax bill under The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement Regulations) 1992 there is an admin fee for issuing the summons and a court fee these fees however must be reasonable i think this lady needs to get a formal complaint sent to the CEO of her council not the revenues department as i think Capita enforce her council tax and some goods advice before the bailiffs call which could be Equita who are part of the Capita Group of company's Wiccaqueen
  • Score: 0

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