29th Jun, 2022

Coventry council tax refunds: More than £800k unclaimed in closed accounts

MORE THAN £800,000 of unclaimed Coventry council tax could be refunded from closed accounts.

Coventry City Council says the funds sit as a ‘liability’ in council coffers in case they are redeemed at some point.

There is £882,515 credit made up from unclaimed council tax sitting in 6,213 accounts.

Many councils will automatically refund taxpayers when they close their account.

But Coventry council will only refund on request, after a credit balance statement is sent to the account holder.

And it will only write off balances if there is no possibility of tracing the account owner.

Nationally, there is at least £230million in overpaid tax sitting in council coffers, MoneySavingExpert.com claims.

It comes from data the website gathered under the Freedom of Information Act from over 280 councils shows across England, Scotland and Wales.

The website says people aren’t aware they pay council tax a month (or sometimes a year) ahead.

This means it’s common to be in credit when someone moves home.

Many people are entitled to claim it back – although many do not know about this option.

The website states that a person is most likely to be able to claim if they’ve moved out of a council or local authority area in the last 26 years (since 1993), and weren’t paying by direct debit.

A Coventry City Council spokesperson said: “The amount is an accumulation of credit balances over the years from 1993 onwards.

“We have a system in place which monitors credits on an ongoing basis and seeks to proactively refund credit balances as they occur.

“Whenever an account is closed with a credit balance a statement is issued to the tax payer to show the amount of the credit. “The statement is issued to the forwarding address where this is known or to the last known address where we do not have a forwarding address.

“Credit balances sit as a liability in the council’s accounts in recognition of the fact that they may be claimed at any point.

“A credit balance would only be written off where the council has no realistic prospect of locating the customer to refund the credit.”

Other reasons closed accounts can end up in credit can include closing the account before the point up until which you’ve paid.

Many others forget to cancel a payment and some will get a retrospective discount – which could be because a property is rebanded.

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