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Council Tax and Electoral Register

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  • Council Tax and Electoral Register

    I'm trying to help someone who is taking loss of SPD to the Valuation Tribunal. The council have gone back to 2008, so it adds up to quite a lot.
    The person is adamant that they are the only person living at the property. There was a fraud investigation and they allowed someone in to demonstrate that only one person lived there, and thought that was the end of it.
    Then (amid a 'right to buy' case at County Court) they were hit for all the backdated loss of discount, and a revised bill for last year, which went to mag court. They challenged the loss of discount months before the hearing, and didn't get a reply.
    I recently advised that they take it to VT, and they have been allowed a hearing 'out of time', the council never advised that they could/should do that.
    They have maintained their payments as if the discount was still applied, and now have EAs trying to collect.
    The council have referred to the fraud investigation outcome to VT, but only provided completed voter registration forms, no other comments or outcome. There are other people on the forms.
    1. Does registering to vote at an address conclusively 'prove' that someone lives there, even if they don't?
    2. Can the council go back more than 6 years to recover a discount they think was wrongly applied?
    3. If the council want to refer to the fraud investigation as 'evidence', do they have to provide a copy of it before the hearing?
    4. Should the council be proceeding with enforcement whilst the VT hearing is outstanding?

    Grateful for any assistance, I'm getting a bit lost in it all.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: Council Tax and Electoral Register

    1. Does registering to vote at an address conclusively 'prove' that someone lives there, even if they don't?
    No - in my experience it's not sufficient to rely just on that (I worked in CTax for a local authority for 10 years before going freelance - it was very unusual, and generally risky, to base a decision just on the electoral roll)
    2. Can the council go back more than 6 years to recover a discount they think was wrongly applied?
    Yes, there is no limit
    3. If the council want to refer to the fraud investigation as 'evidence', do they have to provide a copy of it before the hearing?
    Always worth contacting the tribunal service to check what they can do to help with that as there may be a standard direction they use.
    4. Should the council be proceeding with enforcement whilst the VT hearing is outstanding?
    There's nothing to stop them from proceeding - the charge is deemed to be correct until (and if) the tribunal find otherwise.

    Craig

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Council Tax and Electoral Register

      Thanks Craig, can I ask, is there no time limit on billing/collecting because it's a discount rather than an account?
      Also, is the Tribunal able to award any costs/reparation if the council are found to have acted wrongly? Like they didn't respond to an appeal?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Council Tax and Electoral Register

        Thanks Craig, can I ask, is there no time limit on billing/collecting because it's a discount rather than an account?
        There's no time limit on backdating discounts or council tax accounts - they can take either/all back as far as they are needed.

        Also, is the Tribunal able to award any costs/reparation if the council are found to have acted wrongly? Like they didn't respond to an appeal?
        No - the LGO can 'recommend' compensation etc but the Tribunal has no powers.

        Craig

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Council Tax and Electoral Register

          Regulation 34(3) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 says otherwise?:
          (3) Section 127(1) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980(14) does not apply to such an application; but no application may be instituted in respect of a sum after the period of six years beginning with the day on which it became due under Part V.

          I suppose they can ask for it, but not enforce? Is that what you mean?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Council Tax and Electoral Register

            Originally posted by Adamna View Post
            Regulation 34(3) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 says otherwise?:
            (3) Section 127(1) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980(14) does not apply to such an application; but no application may be instituted in respect of a sum after the period of six years beginning with the day on which it became due under Part V.

            I suppose they can ask for it, but not enforce? Is that what you mean?
            The 6 year limit is only applicable to obtaining the liability order. It starts ticking from when a demand notice is issued - the money only becomes 'due' once the notice is issued for the amount.

            For example:

            A local authority looks at an account in April 2017 and notices the that the discount on the account should not have been granted since 2005.

            The local authority can remove the discount back to 2005 and issue a demand notice for the amount. As the amount cannot be legally due until the demand is issued the 6 years would start ticking only from April 17 when they issued it.

            Craig

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Council Tax and Electoral Register

              Originally posted by Adamna View Post
              I'm trying to help someone who is taking loss of SPD to the Valuation Tribunal. The council have gone back to 2008, so it adds up to quite a lot.
              The person is adamant that they are the only person living at the property. There was a fraud investigation and they allowed someone in to demonstrate that only one person lived there, and thought that was the end of it.
              Then (amid a 'right to buy' case at County Court) they were hit for all the backdated loss of discount, and a revised bill for last year, which went to mag court. They challenged the loss of discount months before the hearing, and didn't get a reply.
              I recently advised that they take it to VT, and they have been allowed a hearing 'out of time', the council never advised that they could/should do that.
              They have maintained their payments as if the discount was still applied, and now have EAs trying to collect.
              The council have referred to the fraud investigation outcome to VT, but only provided completed voter registration forms, no other comments or outcome. There are other people on the forms.
              1. Does registering to vote at an address conclusively 'prove' that someone lives there, even if they don't?
              2. Can the council go back more than 6 years to recover a discount they think was wrongly applied?
              3. If the council want to refer to the fraud investigation as 'evidence', do they have to provide a copy of it before the hearing?
              4. Should the council be proceeding with enforcement whilst the VT hearing is outstanding?

              Grateful for any assistance, I'm getting a bit lost in it all.
              Hi real sorry to hear of your plight , as a fellow commoner , if your "Eligable" you are "Entitled" to the discount applicable .
              If your Entitled and this is denied , then in my common opinion of common law , your being subjected to unlawful excessive taxation without fair hearing or legal representation .
              The investigation can only use the findings , not the fact the investagion took place ,that defines to myself as guilty until proven innocent people, if there is no further charges of a fraudulent nature brought against you the council has no case .
              Need to be real truthful with yourself here .
              Has the period of time expired to challenge the orders at the magistrates court ?
              Last edited by Avalanche; 2nd April 2017, 10:41:AM. Reason: Add content

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Council Tax and Electoral Register

                You don't even need to rely on common law arguments regarding a council tax discount - S11 of the LGFA 1992 specifically provides for it. The valuation tribunal is the remedy for it to give a hearing over any disputes.

                There is no chance of challenging the liability order on the basis of the discount as the court has done nothing wrong - they cannot consider any discounts or exemptions (or lack of) when granting the order - they are specifically barred in law from doing so.

                Craig

                Comment

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