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£350k crackdown on single tax fraud

By Wells Journal  |  Posted: September 08, 2012

There has been a crackdown on people pocketing money through council tax fraud

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More than £350,000 has been raised in council tax in Mendip following a crackdown on people incorrectly or fraudulently claiming single persons council tax benefit.

Mendip District Council has been working with Capita Business Services to identify residents living in the Mendip area who have been incorrectly claiming the single person discount on their council tax.

£356,384 in additional revenue has been identified as a result of this review, of which approximately ten per cent will go directly in to the council's accounts.

The review, which took place earlier this year, saw staff trawl through 3,256 single claimant cases.

Of these 645 cases were proven to be claiming incorrectly or fraudulently and their discounts have subsequently been removed.

Haylee Wilkins, customer services, revenues, benefits, and fraud manager said: "This year we have implemented a more rigorous review process than previously and the success rate for detection has improved by over 5 per cent.

"We hope to continue carrying out these reviews so that Mendip residents get this discount where they are eligible for it.

The review was initiated under the banner Protecting the Public Purse which is a joint central government and Audit Commission report focused on the need for local authorities to help prevent and detect fraud.

Councillor Graham Noel, portfolio holder for access to services said: "It's important that these accounts are reviewed regularly as it's easy for a change in your household to be ignored.

"By carrying out these reviews it is just giving residents the prompt that they need to register that change."

Due to the big success of this latest review the council has now decided to make this a regular process and will look to review these claims more regularly.

If you believe you may be eligible for single person discount or would like more information please contact our council tax and benefits team on 0845 300 3352.

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