A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Local Democracy Reporting Service has revealed that, as of Wednesday, May 10, Powys County Council has £698,638.92 in its coffers from overpaid bills.
Although there is no legal requirement for any council to notify individuals that they have overpaid their council tax, which is normally paid in 10 monthly payments from April to February each financial year, authorities will issue a closing bill if there change in circumstance such as moving house.
If there is any credit on a householder’s account, it should count as payment towards a new bill.
The Limitation Act 1980 would “signify” that taxpayers have six years to try and claim back the overpayment.
The umbrella organisation, which represents all 22 council tax bill issuing authorities, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) explained that unclaimed overpayments stay with the council unless they are refunded.
Eventually that money could become part of a council’s finances to be used on services.
A WLGA spokesman said: “After a period of time councils probably will have a ‘write back’ provision in their write off policy to absorb the balances.
“Some authorities report that they review such credits after eight to 10 years.”
The WLGA advise residents to check their council tax bill and if it is in credit to contact the council and request a refund.
The spokesman said: “Simply enquire with the local authority providing as many details as possible in relation to the account/property the taxpayer is concerned about.
“Records extend to 1993.
“Where a clear entitlement to the money exists councils would reverse the write back and refund.”
In Powys there are 64,030 residential properties subject to Council Tax.
Of these 10,411 are in the Band D category which is used as the standard for comparing Council Tax across the country.
This year in Powys the average Band D Council Tax bill is £1,913 which is above the Wales average of £1,879.