Debtor Write Off Policy | City of Casey
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17 October 2017

Debtor Write Off Policy

3.1

Definitions

Council

means Casey City Council, being a body corporate constituted as a municipal Council under the Local Government Act 1989

Councillors

means the individuals holding the office of a member of Casey City Council

Council officer

means the Chief Executive Officer and staff of Council appointed by the Chief Executive Officer.

Debt

an amount of money owed, including an alleged debt

Debtor

a natural person (which includes a company or corporation) obligated or allegedly obligated to pay a debt

Scope

Council has two types of debts that can be owed to it, those that are charges or charged against a property (predominantly rates) and those that are not charged against a property. The latter generally relates to services that have been provided to a resident or community member. This policy applies to general debts which are not related to a property or rates. 

Context

Council has a number of services that it provides to residents and members of the community for the payment of a fee or charge. Fees and charges are considered and approved annually by Council in the budget development process.

A number of fees and charges are levied after the provision of the service, consistent with industry practice, which requires a debtors invoice to be issued, which the debtor is then required to pay.

After the expiry of Council’s trading terms, there are numerous steps that Council can take to recover any outstanding monies that are owed from debtors. This can include reminder notices, other verbal or written communication and negotiation of payment arrangements, but can also escalate to include refusal of further services and referral of the debt to a specialist debt collector. Recovery of Council’s debt will be in accordance with Council’s Debt Recovery Policy.

Unfortunately, there will also be situations, as a result of various circumstances where difficulty will be experienced with recovering a debt, and the debt collection process can reach a point where it is inappropriate, overly expensive or uneconomic to pursue further action. In these situations, it may be more cost effective for Council to write off the debts, rather than pursuing further action.

This Policy shall be read in conjunction with Council’s Debt Recovery Policy and Financial Hardship Policy.

Policy

At the discretion of a Council officer with delegated authority, Council will write off a debt in the following circumstances:

    1. The debtor has left the address given and cannot be traced;
    2. The amount is too small for legal action to be taken, or is not economically viable to pursue further;
    3. The debtor is deceased and the amount is uncollectable;
    4. The debtor has become bankrupt;
    5. Recommendation of the debt collector that the amount is not collectable;
    6. The debt is subject to a decision of a legal judgement or court order; and
    7. Difficult circumstances as assessed by the relevant Community Services officers.

In addition to the above, a summary of write-offs is to be submitted to Council at least annually.

Administrative updates

It is recognised that, from time to time, circumstances may change leading to the need for minor administrative changes to this document. Where an update does not materially alter this document, such a change may be made administratively. Examples include a change to the name of a Council department, a change to the name of a Federal or State Government department, and a minor update to legislation which does not have a material impact. However, any change or update which materially alters this document must be by resolution of Council.

Review

The next review of this document is scheduled for completion by 31 July 2021.

Roles and responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Chief Financial Officer in consultation with the relevant Managers to maintain and apply the Debtor Write Off Policy.

Council policy documents change from time to time and it is recommended that you consult the electronic reference copy to ensure that you have the current version. Alternatively you may contact Customer Service on 9705 5200.

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