Two firms which ran restaurants in Dumbarton and Balloch have had their tax debts written off after closing down.
West Dunbartonshire Council has agreed to write off a total of £173,915 in National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR) owed by companies across the area, which have ceased trading.
A list of seven firms owing over £5000 were presented to the local authority’s corporate services committee last week.
It showed the majority of the companies were based in the Clydebank area.
In Dumbarton, Stoneyground Limited which operated The Stonefield Carvery restaurant dissolved in 2020 and had £24,386.96 of NNDR debt in 2019/20.
Meanwhile, Balcony on Loch Lomond Ltd, which ran a restaurant at Lomond Shores, in Balloch went into liquidation in 2020 and owed £12,291.41 in business rates.
The NNDR is a national rate of non-domestic properties and is determined each year by the Scottish Parliament.
All local authorities collect the rates and the monies collected are pooled into a national central fund.
Last week, the Scottish Government announced that retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will pay no rates during 2021/22 to help firms during the pandemic.
Write-off can be due to a number of reasons, for example, a company has ceased trading or a review of outstanding cases has now deemed that the debt is irrecoverable.
Where a company has ceased trading through liquidation or administration the council is classed as an unsecured creditor and a report which went to the meeting said in these cases it is “extremely unlikely” that any recovery of the outstanding monies will be received in full.
Finance chief Stephen West told councillors that all of the debts on the list, some of which date back to 2012, were deemed as irrecoverable, predominately due to the businesses being liquidated, dissolved or in sequestration.
Although the debts are treated as written off, should any circumstances change whereby debts can be collected, the council will pursue them.
The committee also agreed to write off uncollectable miscellaneous debt of £83,000 dating back to 2017, of which more than £15,000 is due by residents who died with no estate to pay the money. A further £42,000 of the sum outstanding was deemed untraceable with £25,000 owed by residents or organisations for a range of council services.
Last year the council collected £14.8m of £18.5m of annual miscellaneous debts.
Councillor Ian Dickson, chair of corporate services, said: “The council pursues all outstanding debt through the corporate debt team which takes appropriate action to recover money owed through various means available including using debt management partners to help trace individuals and businesses.
“We also provide support to anyone struggling to pay, and a range of options to assist, once all avenues have been exhausted, the debt is passed for sheriff officer involvement.”
Councillor Iain McLaren, vice chair of corporate services, added: “Our staff work tirelessly to ensure all public monies owed to the council are collected where possible.
“Some of these debts go back more than 20 years and despite our best efforts, they are now deemed irrecoverable.
“It is the view of officers that these debts will not be recovered and should be written-off.
“If any new information comes to light, the council will actively pursue this debt.”