Debts written off after company fails

COMMUNITY leaders have agreed to write-off more than £62,000 of unpaid council tax owed by a company whose affairs are in the hands of the receivers.Suffolk Coastal has decided to bite the bullet and accept that it will never get the money back.

COMMUNITY leaders have agreed to write-off more than £62,000 of unpaid council tax owed by a company whose affairs are in the hands of the receivers.

Suffolk Coastal has decided to bite the bullet and accept that it will never get the money back.

It was owed the tax by Leigh Estates (UK) Ltd, which owns 243 homes previously used for USAF personnel at Rendlesham.

When the air force vacated Bentwaters in 1993 many of the properties became empty and the liability for council tax became the responsibility of Leigh Estates as the owner.

Since then the properties have been let for periods of time but in between tenants liability for council tax fell to Leigh Estates.

Suffolk Coastal cabinet member Robert Whiting said: “Leigh Estates went into receivership sometime in 1993 or before and the council has never been able to collect the council tax due for the periods when the properties were empty.

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“The total amount owed by the company is £62,409 in respect of 243 different dwellings on the estate. Council tax has been and continues to be collected from the individual occupiers whenever the properties were occupied.”

An administrative receiver had been appointed to look after the company's affairs but Suffolk Coastal is an unsecured creditor.

Mr Whiting said: “The administrator has indicated that he will not pay the outstanding council tax. Advice has been sought from the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV) and the only option open to this authority to recover the debt is to apply for a charging order.

“However, in order to do this the debt on any one of the properties must exceed £1,000.

“The council's records have been examined and this situation applies in only one of the 243 cases where the council is owed money.”

The council could also petition in court for the company to be wound up to try to recover the debt but another council has already tried this and failed.

Mr Whiting said this meant there were “no viable options” open to the council and so the debt had been written off.

Do you think the council's action is the right thing to do? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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