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Dartford council finds unpaid business rates and council tax totals £1.3m


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Businesses and residents failing to pay the correct tax have been ordered to repay huge amounts of money in unpaid bills after a council investigation.

The probe by officers at Dartford council saw them establish £1.3 million was owed to the public purse.

The council says it needed to recoup £1.3m in unpaid council tax and business rates. Stock image
The council says it needed to recoup £1.3m in unpaid council tax and business rates. Stock image

An investigation carried out by the council's counter fraud team as part of its regular checks into payments into missed and suspicious payments for business rates and council tax bills flagged the issues.

The authority said companies not registered to pay their fees and firms incorrectly receiving reliefs or allowances had been identified.

Officers found several businesses across the borough had not been paying the correct amounts and new bills were issued.

The business rates team recouped £1.2m in backdated payments and the correct bills being issued in future will see another £300,000 a year added to council coffers.

Staff in the council tax team also highlighted households and properties which had not registered to pay and crackdown on those claiming discounts and allowances for council tax they were not entitled to receive.

Dartford Borough Council has urged households and companies to make sure they are paying the right amount. Picture: Google
Dartford Borough Council has urged households and companies to make sure they are paying the right amount. Picture: Google

This led to another £186,000 worth of bills being issued and summoned by the council.

The exact number of businesses and households has not been disclosed.

It comes as the authority urges people and business owners to check they are paying the correct bill as part of Fraud Awareness Week, which fell last week.

The council's counter fraud team has been working throughout the pandemic to make sure public money and statutory payments are made.

Members can be contacted by businesses and the public with concerns and will listen to concerns and provide advice and guidance, a council spokesman said.

The council says the week also highlights the issues fraud has on organisations and in particular the impact to services for public bodies.

Dartford council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con) said: "Making sure we collect the right amount of money is the reason we can keep council tax bills low.

"Business rates and council tax bills provide a vital stream of income that help fund the services we all depend on every day.

"We’re all expected to pay our taxes and business rates, but for those who think they are above that, it’s reassuring to know that the counter fraud team will investigate and recoup any money that could have been lost from our local services."

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