FOI Request - Credit Balances as at 1 Oct 2014

Request 101000291932

This is a request for information, filed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We wish to obtain the information, from the Council, relating to unclaimed Credit Balances. We are aware that all Billing Authorities hold on account sums of money that are due to be returned to ratepayers and for a variety of reasons have not been repaid and maybe considered untraceable by the Council. This maybe because Companies do not know that there is an overpayment, they may have moved premises, merges and/or changed their name or simply ceased trading. In such circumstances, the monies could be due to the creditors of that company. Exacta shall use the information requested to trace those businesses who have failed to claim such credit balances.

We therefore request a breakdown of credit balances as at 01/10/14 accrued since your earliest records, for the amounts owing to all “incorporated” companies within the authorities billing area, including

• The name of each business in respect of which Non-Domestic Rate credit balances remain payable;
• The value of overpayment in each case which remains unclaimed;
• The year(s) in which overpayment was made; and
• The hereditament address

Please note that no personal data (as defined under the Data Protection Act 1998) is requested and any personal data contained within files concerning Non-Domestic Rates is exempted from this request.

This request is made on the basis that such information is accessible under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and that, save for the possible exemption detailed above, no exemptions available under this Act, apply to this request. Neither, is it the case that the witholding of information could be argued to be in the public interest. We, therefore, look forward to receiving this information within the statutory limit of 20 working days.
We would also like to make it clear that we are not, at this stage, applying under the Re-Use of Public Sector Regulations (SI 2005 No. 1515).

Response 07-11-2014

Non-Domestic Rate accounts which are in credit as the result of an adjustment or an overpayment are routinely dealt with as part of the daily duties of the Council's Revenues staff.

Newly-created credits are quickly refunded by users and this ensures that credit balances do not remain on accounts. The only exception occurs when staff are dealing with a dispute on an account or are awaiting information to allow the issue of the refund cheque to the appropriate payee.

In addition to these factors, some cheques are not cashed within the six-month period which will result in such a cheque being cancelled and the rates account again temporarily becoming overpaid.

I can, therefore, confirm there are no credits on Non-Domestic Rates accounts other than those the Council is currently unable to refund due to one of the factors that I have identified.

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