A PENSIONER put Rotherham Council on the spot after they sent him two letters demanding 1p extra council tax following the death of his wife.
RMBC told Ron Peace (89, right) he needed to pay a new, slightly higher amount for March following his bereavement.
But he said he should not have to pay any more anyway as the couple already had a discount due to Jean, his wife of 68 years, having dementia.
The council issued a letter demanding the higher sum — £109.01 instead of £109 — in two instalments, following it up with another statement showing the payment as one instalment, along with an explanatory letter.
Ron, of Bramley, said he should not have to pay a penny more because he was now entitled to the single occupant’s discount.
RMBC stuck to its guns, saying the new figure had been calculated using a part-year rather than whole-year formula — and promised to send Ron yet another letter to explain how it worked out his bill.
Retired design engineer Ron said: “I’d been a carer for my wife for six and a half years until she passed away in February.
“A person who’s got dementia doesn’t count as an occupier of a house so I was classed as a single occupier.
“So, when she passed away, nothing changed.
“For some reason, the council re-calculated my council tax and somehow charged me with a penny.
“My theory was they recalculated the amount and it showed 0.5 p or more at the end, and they rounded it up to 1p.”
“You don’t get overcharged by a penny too often!”
Ron, who pays by direct debit, hit out at the waste involved in sending out the demanding letters, adding: “I don’t know how much a letter costs these days but I’m sure it’s a lot more than a penny.
“I wrote back to them — but I haven’t gotten a reply yet.
“I want my penny back. They overcharged me, haven’t they?”
RMBC finance director Judith Badger said: “The council is legally required to issue a revised bill where there is a change in circumstances, even if that results in no change or only a small change in the amount of council tax due.
“We do appreciate that in this case the consequence of the law is to trigger letters relating to the smallest possible amount of money.
“The council tax system calculates the daily amount that should be discounted from the bill to a number of decimal places and then applies it to the number of days applicable.
“In this case, the original discount was applied for a full year (365 days) but the sad change of circumstances led to the need to recalculate the original discount for less than 365 days and apply a different discount category for the remaining days of the year.
“When each separate discount was correctly rounded to the nearest penny it resulted in a 1p difference in the total bill for the year.
“We will be writing to Mr Peace to provide a full explanation.”