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10 years' Council Tax bill...

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  • 10 years' Council Tax bill...

    Hi,

    Many thanks for allowing me to join your forum.

    I hope that you can help us. If not, please could you direct us to someone who can. I am awaiting a reply from the CAB, but i am aware that they are spread very thin.

    We moved on to a friendís land in September 2007, living in a converted horse lorry, with our family. In 2008 we bought a share of the land, applied for planning permission, which was granted, and have lived since 2009 in a static caravan on the land., with no issues. I am self employed, pay many thousands of pounds annually in income tax and VAT , yet
    at no point have we been made aware that council tax is liable for people living in a caravan of any description. We have been travelling for economic reasons since the Council tax was introduced to replace the Poll Tax sometime in the last century, and have never been invited to pay this tax or been aware that we were liable to do so.

    After registering to vote in the Referendum last year, we received an invitation from our (English) council earlier this year, to furnish them with the names of the 4 members of our family, and how long we have been living here. All this information was given to the planning department of the council in 2008, as part of our planning application at the time.

    We today received a council tax bill, dating back to January 2007, totalling £11,956.97, due in 7 monthly payments of £1708 , the first being due on the first of September.

    We think that this is a bit rich, as we have never received notification of liability (Band A) until we received a letter last week. We are very appreciative of the services that the Council Tax pays for, and are happy to pay it, now that we are aware of our liability. But surely they could have told us this at least in 2008, when we received planning permission to live here, and in the process made them aware of our having lived here since September 2007.


    Please could you advise us on this matter. For instance, how many years back pay can they really demand, and can we spread the payment out more than that?



    Hope that you can help us with this, we are really quite shaken by this.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

    The valuation office are responsible for banding a property / pitch - until they do so the local authority cannot issued a council tax demand notice however once it's banded the council will issue a demand notice from the date the banding is determined to have existed from (in this case 2007). The issue of planning requirements is a different issue and does not relate to council tax (council tax could be due even without valid planning permission) so the planning department have no specific need to know whether the property was banded or not.

    There's no particular legal issues to stop the council from issuing the demand notice now for a retrospective period - there is no backdating limit in legislation - and there is no requirement to spread previous years charges over move than one payment, with a 14 day payment window. The fact they've spread the arrears to March 18 is more than they are required to do,

    Craig

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

      Well, that is a surprise. I really did think that there must have been some mistake.

      At least they are wrong about the first 9 months of occupancy; this is proven in the council's records.

      I would welcome a different interpretation, but i guess you know a lot more about this than me. Many thanks.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

        [MENTION=92682]lgfa92[/MENTION] ... Is there no way to spread the charge over the whole year (at the very least)??
        Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.

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        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

          Originally posted by Kati View Post
          @lgfa92 ... Is there no way to spread the charge over the whole year (at the very least)??
          Assuming it's England.

          On an ongoing council tax demand a person, where they've not lost the right to pay by instalments, can have the council tax payments spread through to March (i.e 12 payments if it's the whole year).

          Technically this option to spread instalments does not apply to arrears (hence the 14 days payment in legislation for them) however there may be some leverage in it for the OP. If all of the monies, including the ongoing charge, are shown on one demand notice then any adjustments to instalments will affect all of the balance on that notice - unless the local authority manually created a separate council tax account for the arrears. This means that to apply the spread of payments, to which the OP is legally entitled the council has two options - apply it to all of the monies or apportion the bill in to two (current year and arrears). In most cases the council won't go to the hassle of splitting it and will just spread the whole amount across to the end of the year.

          Anything spread further than the statutory periods is at the council's discretion only.

          Craig

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

            yes, were are in England.

            We have been offered to pay in instalments until march 2018, which is good of them, i guess.

            My main point is more that we cant see how it is possible for the council to not ask us for any council tax for 10 years (despite having being made aware of our living here for all that time, 9 years ago), then to ask for all of it to be paid within less than a year.

            Doesn't seem right. I'm happy to pay this year's, and maybe last year's, but if they wanted it earlier, how come they didn't get in touch?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

              Originally posted by Mobile Home Dweller View Post
              yes, were are in England.

              We have been offered to pay in instalments until march 2018, which is good of them, i guess.

              My main point is more that we cant see how it is possible for the council to not ask us for any council tax for 10 years (despite having being made aware of our living here for all that time, 9 years ago), then to ask for all of it to be paid within less than a year.

              Doesn't seem right. I'm happy to pay this year's, and maybe last year's, but if they wanted it earlier, how come they didn't get in touch?
              They can only issue a demand notice once the valuation office have banded a property and added it to the council tax valuation list - if that is delayed then there's nothing the council could do in the meantime as they themselves can't add a property to the valuation list.

              Craig

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

                The council asked the Vluation Office to band the property in April this year.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

                  Originally posted by Mobile Home Dweller View Post
                  The council asked the Vluation Office to band the property in April this year.
                  The council can pass information on to the VO but ultimately the VO make the decision on banding and the date. Until the VO have set a date and a band the council can't do anything regarding charging council tax as there's no entry on a valuation list (which is a legal requirement for council tax to be charged).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

                    Originally posted by Mobile Home Dweller View Post
                    My main point is more that we cant see how it is possible for the council to not ask us for any council tax for 10 years (despite having being made aware of our living here for all that time, 9 years ago), then to ask for all of it to be paid within less than a year.

                    Doesn't seem right. I'm happy to pay this year's, and maybe last year's, but if they wanted it earlier, how come they didn't get in touch?
                    Did you ever approach the CTax department back in 2009 and say "We are resident in a caravan on the property?" I would think that the reason why they didn't get in touch or have the property valued and banded and issue CTax bills was because the Council Tax Department was unaware that you were resident.

                    A lot of people think that if they have informed one department in the council that "They have told the Council". Unfortunately things don't work like that because departments don't pass information on to other departments. The onus to inform Council Tax is always on the person who is resident (i.e. Tenant/ owner-occupier/ Landlord)

                    From what you have said it would appear that the Council tax department have reacted to the voter's roll registration (which they have access to) and from there have referred your property to the Valuation Agency for a CTax inspection and banding.

                    My advice would be to negotiate with the Council Tax Department because the amount is huge and and so are the repayments. They may want their pound of flesh but the people who work there will work with you if you approach them.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

                      The thing is, we were never aware that we were liable for Poll tax, or whatever it is called these days, as we have always lived in a caravan and have been of no fixed address until 10 years ago.


                      So no, we did not ask the council tax dept for a bill. The nice lady from the council told me that if we had built a house and dealt with building control, then this would have flagged up as a new property and they would have got in touch. But as we were granted permission for a travellers' site, they did not think to inform us of our obligations. Although we did receive a rash of communications from double glazing type people for a while afterwards, so they must have told someone with a mailing list.

                      The repayments are now going to be manageable, (£200/month) but seemingly spread over 10 years or more, during which time we will be paying double council tax.

                      I am surprised that the council are permitted to ask for unlimited back payment, but this seems to be the case. Thank you all for your help in this matter.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

                        I am surprised that the council are permitted to ask for unlimited back payment, but this seems to be the case. Thank you all for your help in this matter.
                        It surprised a lot of people because it's not something that comes up too often - I only ever dealt with a handful that went back more than a year or so. One of the ideas behind it was to stop people from deliberately hiding occupation of property to avoid paying but it also then covers other situations, such as yours.

                        At least you've got something in place in respect of the balance though.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 10 years' Council Tax bill...

                          It is a common misconception that if you live in a caravan that you don't have to pay council tax.

                          You may have come across instances when travelling around where you cannot stay sited on a pitch (normal caravan site) for more than 10 months. The reason for this is that if the landowner allows people to stay for longer than 10 months then the site is deemed to be a residential site and therefore liable for council tax. It is one of the reasons why residential site are so hard to find if you have a caravan or even a mobile home. It is also one of the reasons why seasonal pitches are so expensive.

                          Comment

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