Attachment of earnings with no notice of court hearing or N56 expenses form

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EmmaTBMC
Posts: 10
Joined: 05 May 2016 12:38

#1 Attachment of earnings with no notice of court hearing or N56 expenses form

Post by EmmaTBMC » 25 May 2016 10:53

I don't know if anyone can help me here as this is not about bailiffs per say but an attachment of earnings order sent for Council tax arrears.

We new we were falling behind with the council tax and struggling to pay anything towards it as the amount just got higher and higher (unfortunately we are stuck in a house we can no longer afford with excruciatingly high council tax band - we are trying to move to solve this). We contacted the council, explained our situation adn they said that it sounds like we would be entitled to council tax and to have it back dated so they would put any procedure on hold waiting the outcome of this. We applied and are still waiting to hear back with a decision.

Two days ago we got a letter saying they have made an attachment of earnings to my husbands pay and when we rang up to ask how that had happened were told that the hold was discretionary and that they will take £340 out of his pay each month! We cannot afford to eat if this happens! They said there was nothing to be done and we couldn't do anything about it.

Researching this we should have been notified by the court of a hearing and given a N56 form to fill out which has definitely not happened - does this mean it can be set aside? I think we can apply for an amendment but I am so annoyed that we weren't even notified as we would have certainly filled in the expenditure form to help us with the proceedings.

Any help would be most appreciated.

Mark1960
Posts: 3813
Joined: 20 Mar 2013 11:36

#2 Re: Attachment of earnings with no notice of court hearing or N56 expenses form

Post by Mark1960 » 25 May 2016 11:57

In order to have applied the AOE, the council will have first been required to obtain a liability order-This is how the sequence should have gone:

1. You fall into arrears. They write to you giving you 7 days to bring the account back up to date.
2. (the above usually happens once more if you fall into arrears again, although its discretionary the second time and won't apply if you'd paid nothing at all in that tax year)
3.You fall into arrears again. They write to you demanding that you pay the whole years tax in full within 7 days.
4. You don't pay. They issue you with a summons regarding a liability order hearing.
5. A liability order is granted.
6. They write to you advising of the LO and ask for further information.
7. If you don't agree a repayment plan with them at this point, they will either send bailiffs round or apply an AOE.

You will have to have had all the above letters/notices in order for the process to be lawful. You need to check with the council to ensure that you have received them all-They are mandatory, not optional, with the possible exception of the letter at point 6, which may be mandatory but its open to debate.

If you think that you are entitled to council tax relief, then you should write a formal complaint to the CEO of the council, explaining the issues here. I would stick my neck out and say that you probably won't be entitled to any relief/help, judging by the amount of deductions being made from your husbands wages

EmmaTBMC
Posts: 10
Joined: 05 May 2016 12:38

#3 Re: Attachment of earnings with no notice of court hearing or N56 expenses form

Post by EmmaTBMC » 25 May 2016 12:30

we definitely didn't get a summons or liability order as far as I'm aware just reminder letters saying that we were in arrears and that they would get one if this was not paid - Would the summons have been for a hearing at court I could have attended?

Even if they did send me this do they still have to inform me of the court proceedings for the attachment of earnings? As far as I am aware we should have been notified and a N56 form sent out to investigate income and expenditure which hasn't happened either.

I don't know where the sum of £340 came from - my husband gets take home of £1600 and our rent is £770, our bills and debts rack up to £400+ and we have 2 children as well as ourselves to feed and clothe etc. The council never asked us to fill out an expenditure form either so I really don't know how they have come up with this.

Should I go the court directly? Can I do a section 14 declaration or something saying we had no knowledge of the court proceedings?

Mark1960
Posts: 3813
Joined: 20 Mar 2013 11:36

#4 Re: Attachment of earnings with no notice of court hearing or N56 expenses form

Post by Mark1960 » 25 May 2016 12:41

There are no court proceedings required for an AOE. Once they have a LO and your employment details, they may set the AOE up without your knowledge or permission.

You don't get a LO, this is just a rubber stamping exercise to enable councils to enforce the debt. They get a list of all debtors who the magistrate granted LO's to. You need to contact the council as to why you didn't get the summons and see what they say.

You were entitled to attend the hearing but quite honestly, there wouldn't have been much point-It wouldn't have changed anything. You can ask the council for a copy of any paperwork received after the LO was issued and see what they come back with.

A LO enables the council to deduct 17% of a persons wage after tax, if the earn between £1420 & £2020 per month. For a take home pay of £1600, the deduction should be £272.

If you do have an application for relief in at present, you should complain, as I said previously. Your husband needs to check what is being taken out. It is 17% of what he takes home after tax and insurance.

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Pote Snitkin
The Watcher
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Joined: 28 Apr 2014 09:43
Location: In your loft, waiting

#5 Re: Attachment of earnings with no notice of court hearing or N56 expenses form

Post by Pote Snitkin » 25 May 2016 14:20

If the deduction would cause you hardship and you can show this, you can appeal to the council to reduce the percentage they take. It's not easy to get them to do this, and there is as far as I know no official procedure, but the option is there.

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