MORE than £43,000 of unpaid council tax and business rates has been “written off” in only three months, it has emerged.
New data has been published by Worcester City Council based on collection performance between July and September this year.
About £12,000 of it came from the collapse of two business rate accounts from unnamed companies, one of which went bust while the other vanished without trace – known as “absconding”.
The write-off means all the relevant bodies which benefit from taxes and business rates take a hit on their balance sheets – including the city council, fire and police services, and County Hall.
A report on the move says written records on each write-off are kept on a database and can be reinstated if any new details come to light which enable the debts to be chased.
Reasons for people not paying council tax can vary, but it can include residents moving away, people dying, and those who refuse to pay, who are liable for prosecution.
Councillor Andy Roberts, the city council cabinet member for finance, said: “It’s always worth saying these cases are not forgotten about, and if new information comes to light we will pursue them.
“These are not just Worcester City Council’s debts, but those of the council tax preceptors across the county.”
The revenues and benefits department, a shared service across south Worcestershire, has written off 68 different cases, totalling £31,000 of that money.
The remaining £12,000, which has been written off by the city council, applies to the two firms which went bust or vanished.
In the previous two financial years more than £1 million has been written off – £297,000 in 2011/12 and £760,000 in 2010/11 when bosses decided to lump a list of historic unpaid taxes together.
About 98 per cent of the taxes owed to the council was collected last year, a small improvement on 2010/11.
Overall, £48 million was handed over in council taxes and £37 million in business rates.