Ipswich doctor owes thousands for four years of unpaid council tax
An doctor has been ordered to pay off a lump sum of the £5,398.55 he owes in council tax.
Dr Salaheddin Elbishari, of Daundy Close, Ipswich, failed to pay £1952.95 in 2011/12, £1858.38 in 2012/13, £1869.46 in 2013/14 and £1870.46 in 2014/15.
On each occasion, the 57-year-old was summonsed to court, where a liability order was granted but bailiffs were unable to levy the balance and costs.
A warrant was issued for him to attend an inquiry in 2014, when he claimed to have lost £20,000 to an investment scam, and had stopped working between June 2014 and January 2015 after breaking an arm and being “shot at” in Libya, but offered to pay £200 and monthly instalments of £30.
He failed to produce medical documents or even turn up to a further hearing, where a warrant was issued for his production at another hearing that May, when Elbishari agreed to pay £100 a month – on top of current tax year payments. But the instalments stopped in July and he owed another £1870.46 for 2014/15.
Bailiffs again failed to gain entry to his address and another means inquiry was arranged for October, when Elbishari asked for a further adjournment because he “had patients to see”.
Council prosecutor Nigel Upson went to court this week to apply for Elbishari’s committal to prison if payment could not be made for the remaining £5,398.55.
He told Ipswich magistrates the doctor had shown “culpable neglect” in not paying the balance. Although Elbishari had paid £300 a month since January, he failed to keep up with payments for the current tax year and stopped paying altogether in August.
“When sent a bill, telling him what would be collected for the current financial year, he refused to agree and cancelled his direct debit,” said Mr Upson, who explained that Elbishari was continuing to pay this year’s tax but not the monthly £300.
Elbishari, a father-of-three, who earns £3,300 a month, said the council “broke its agreement” by requiring both payments.
“I expected payments to be reduced to £130 when I was told to pay the new year,” he added.
“I realised after three months that this wasn’t what I agreed.”
Magistrates further adjourned the matter in order for Elbishari, who declared £390 of fuel among his monthly outgoings, to produce a complete record of all finances since 2011. First, he was ordered to pay a lump sum of £900.