Pensioners to get tax windfall?

SENIOR citizens in North Somerset could get a one-off discount in their council tax after auditors found £600,000 in overpayments. The money has added up over the years from people paying up front for the whole tax year and then leaving the district or n

SENIOR citizens in North Somerset could get a one-off discount in their council tax after auditors found £600,000 in overpayments.The money has added up over the years from people paying up front for the whole tax year and then leaving the district or not claiming a discount from a change of circumstances.Council bosses are checking whether a move to give the pensioners a discount with the money is legal.An estimated 20,000 senior citizens living in North Somerset could each receive a £30 discount if the scheme is approved.Weston Senior Citizens' Forum chairman Ken Lacey said the money should go back to taxpayers. He said: "We would welcome the amount to come off the council tax next time it comes around."Councillor Mike Roe said: "I think there could an opportunity to assist some of the more vulnerable members of our community who find it difficult with payments. It could be handed out to senior citizens in the form of a discount in their council tax."Councillor Mike Bell, executive member for finance and performance, said: "Any windfall payments that we get for this will go into the general kitty. When it comes to setting the general budget next year we will decide what to spend it on."I'm not sure there's a case to be met to give all pensioners a discount as the reality is we're living in is a difficult financial climate."People will be paying more now no matter what discounts we give and that's why there needs to be a fairer system of taxation."Members of the finance, policy, performance and scrutiny panel will decide what to do with the money on October 31.


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