COUNCIL tax investigators in Kirklees are chasing debtors who owe more than £14m.
A special team at the council is engaged full-time in tracking down people who don't pay their council tax.
As of Monday this week, warnings, summonses and court proceedings were going ahead against people who had failed to pay a total of £3.6m from just this year's charges.
The revenues and benefits team is also hot on the trail of £2.6m missing from council coffers because of non-payments in 2003/04.
A spokesman for the service said that they would "rigorously" pursue anyone who chose to dodge the tax rather than pay it.
He added: "So far, since April this year, 59,179 council tax reminders have been issued where customers have fallen behind with their payments.
"In addition, 18,634 summonses to attend court have been issued and 12,463 liability orders have been granted."
The spokesman said the council was tough on tax dodgers and would recover the debt anyway it could.
He added: "The council can use additional powers to recover the debt.
"These can include such as an attachment of earnings, deduction from benefits, a bailiff visit to remove goods and property, a bankruptcy auction, applications for charging or even committal proceedings."
Kirklees tax bosses admitted they were still tracking down decade-old debts.
The spokesman said: "The amount of council tax outstanding on Tuesday this week was £14.25m
"This represents just over 1.45% of the total amount of council tax raised since 1993."
A spokesman for the council said that if all council tax was paid, Kirklees would have, on average, an extra £1.5m a year.
This could pay for more than 70 new teachers or hundreds of thousands of library books.
The spokesman added: "If people stop paying council tax Kirklees will continue to vigorously pursue them for payment.
"By not receiving payments that Kirklees has budgeted for there could possibly be higher council tax rises or a reduction in services or a mix of both."