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Am I liable for Council Tax?

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  • Am I liable for Council Tax?

    My wife died in January 2011 The property was in her sole name and was/am the named executor.
    After her death I continued living in the property and all council tax paid in full on time, nothing missed or late (with 25% discount for single occupancy). I remarried and then paid full Council tax.

    I have had a house in France since 1999 and in 2013 I/we became officially resident in France (> 182 days/year). In April 2017 we moved to live in France full time and put the house up for sale (which it still is...). The council continued to demand full council tax even though the property was unoccupied and for sale, as it is being sold fully furnished. I contested this and was pointed to minutes that decided no discount on unoccupied properties (although if not furnished I was told I would get a discount).

    Anyway, those minutes referred to the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

    On reading https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1992/14/section/6 I began wondering whether I should be paying anything at all, as since 2013 I have had my main residence in France and have been paying my taxes in France. I have no interest in the property other than being the executor of the late owner, although I did live there several months each year until April 2017.

    Any advice welcome.

    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

    Each council seems to have their own rules, a discretionary matter I believe. If there is furniture in place then yes there is CT liability. Just been through this as an executor.

    And the bad new is that you will also be responsible for water charges, unless it's meterred.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

      Council Tax liability is not a discretionary measure however certain council tax discounts are delegated powers - that is they have to allow for a discount but that discount can be zero.

      S6 of the LGFA92 is purely determining liability, it has nothing to do with any discount or exemption. Liability is determined first under S6 and then the assessment of any charge follows. Who is the legal owner of the property and what happened when the estate was settled ? This is key to the situation.

      A property that is unoccupied and unfurnished used to get a 6 month class but that was abolished in England a few years ago. Now, a council can offer a zero reduction if they wish, they can also do so on furnished and unoccupied property.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

        thank you for the comments. I am more interested in the legal situation regarding residency as defined in S6. I do not seemingly meet any of the conditions for liability as I have no freehold nor leasehold nor tenancy interest and I am not classed as resident as my main residence is in France..

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

          Originally posted by Gprit View Post
          thank you for the comments. I am more interested in the legal situation regarding residency as defined in S6. I do not seemingly meet any of the conditions for liability as I have no freehold nor leasehold nor tenancy interest and I am not classed as resident as my main residence is in France..
          And this is why the issue I raised regarding ownership as it is important to the overall position regarding s6. Was the estate settled and who has the current ownership of the property ?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

            The estate has never been formerly settled in respect of the property.
            The reason: The property (and mortgage) was in the name of my late wife. I was/am the sole executor...BUT have never been able to transfer to may name because the land registry would not transfer the name as there was a mortgage interest. The mortgage company would not transfer it to my name as they classed it as new lending and they no longer lent for mortgages. Catch 22.
            So...the property at the Land Registry is still solely in the name of my late wife and the mortgage has been deemed as Executor of the late Mrs xxxxxx.

            Only when sold will the property revert to my name as sole beneficiary.

            Again I would restate that my residence and main residence is in France.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

              Originally posted by Gprit View Post
              thank you for the comments. I am more interested in the legal situation regarding residency as defined in S6. I do not seemingly meet any of the conditions for liability as I have no freehold nor leasehold nor tenancy interest and I am not classed as resident as my main residence is in France..
              If the legal interest is vested in the estate then the estate is responsible via the executor for the council tax liability on an unoccupied property. The council can then pursue the estate via the executor for the balance which is due.

              If no grant of probate or of letters of administration was made then a Class F exemption would be due on the property but it that goes ahead the exemption only applies for 6 months from that date. One of the issues with council tax is that a deceased estate doesn't always cease to accrue a council tax charge.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

                There was Grant of Probate, but I still don't understand the liability re section 6 as theh executor is NOT resident, nor has a freehold nor leasehold nor tenancy interest, and it is not a main residence. No-where in that legislation do I see anything regarding executors....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

                  Originally posted by Gprit View Post
                  There was Grant of Probate, but I still don't understand the liability re section 6 as theh executor is NOT resident, nor has a freehold nor leasehold nor tenancy interest, and it is not a main residence. No-where in that legislation do I see anything regarding executors....
                  Where the property remains in the deceased estate then the estate is liable. The executor is responsible for payment by virtue of administering the estate regardless of whether they are personally liable or not. Reg 58 of the council tax (administration and enforcement) regs 1992.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

                    Think of it this way: You still expect the council to look after the property in terms of police, fire brigade etc so why should that be without a cost.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

                      Thanks for pointing out the regulation and your time.
                      The Council have been at paints to point out that the Council Tax is not a tax for services but a PROPERTY tax!!

                      Anyway, thanks again.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Am I liable for Council Tax?

                        Originally posted by Gprit View Post
                        Thanks for pointing out the regulation and your time.
                        The Council have been at paints to point out that the Council Tax is not a tax for services but a PROPERTY tax!!

                        Anyway, thanks again.
                        Technically they are right in that it's not intended as a service provision tax - the money is intended to fund the council and it may then, along with other monies, be spent on services. A long winded route but it removes any argument over service provision and council tax payment...

                        Comment

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