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Council Tax after death

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  • Council Tax after death

    My Father died a year ago. I'm executor of the estate. I have been granted probate and I've divided the estate as per Will. At the time of death I notified the local council (Bolton). They notified me that no council tax was liable. They took my details and I didn't hear anything from them until this morning. They have sent me a bill for 6 months council tax, and notified me that after death there is a 6 month grace period at their discretion.

    Q1) Is the executor personally liable for this?
    Q2) I don't live in the UK and what powers would they have to recover the amount?

    I used a Public Notice (25) in The Gazette if that makes any difference...

    Can anyone advise? I have contacted the council and they're demanding the money.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: Council Tax after death

    Hi 223Vmax ...

    I have checked the recent council tax prescribed law on this one and it states ::

    When a property had been occupied by a single person, who either owned or rented the property. and that person dies, the property is exempt from council tax payment for as long as it remains unoccupied, and until probate is granted.
    Following a grant of probate, a further six months exemption is possible as long as the property remain unoccupied and has not been sold or transferred to someone else.
    It is important that the executor(s) keep the council tax office informed of:
    • the date probate is granted,
    • details of the transfer or sale of the property or the end date of the tenancy,
    • when the estate is settled.

    During this time the council may contact the executors periodically to review entitlement to the exemption.
    Six months from the date probate is granted the full council tax will be due to be paid by the executors of the estate.

    Has the property been empty since the date of death and did it stay empty in the six month period following the granting of probate? Was the property owned or tenanted? It seems that the council has granted you a 'discretionary' six month exemption form the date that Probate was granted and is now charging the executor(s) of the estate. Bills normally sent out simply state' The Executor(s) of ... the previous named taxpayer' .

    Additional advice regarding Council Tax Liability for Executors ::


    Council Tax Liability for Executors
    Executors are the people appointed in the will to deal with the estate of a person who has died.
    When probate is granted a document is issued to the executor providing them with the authority to deal with the estate.
    If, after probate is granted ownership of a property is transferred to a beneficiary of the will, any liability for council tax passes to the beneficiary.
    If for any reason after probate has been granted the property remains under the control of the estate for more than six months, a full council tax charge is due. The executor is responsible for making payment of the council tax.
    The executor is not personally liable for council tax charges, and payment should be made from the deceased estate.
    If the executor cannot make payment for any reason they should contact the council immediately.

    From this, I am reasoning that the executor has no personal liability for the due council tax but must oversee its payment either from the estate or pass notice to the beneficiary of the property who will become liable ( if there is a property to be beneficial from ).

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Council Tax after death

      Originally posted by Snoopy1948 View Post
      Hi 223Vmax ...

      I have checked the recent council tax prescribed law on this one and it states ::

      When a property had been occupied by a single person, who either owned or rented the property. and that person dies, the property is exempt from council tax payment for as long as it remains unoccupied, and until probate is granted.
      Following a grant of probate, a further six months exemption is possible as long as the property remain unoccupied and has not been sold or transferred to someone else.
      It is important that the executor(s) keep the council tax office informed of:
      • the date probate is granted,
      • details of the transfer or sale of the property or the end date of the tenancy,
      • when the estate is settled.

      During this time the council may contact the executors periodically to review entitlement to the exemption.
      Six months from the date probate is granted the full council tax will be due to be paid by the executors of the estate.

      Has the property been empty since the date of death and did it stay empty in the six month period following the granting of probate? Was the property owned or tenanted? It seems that the council has granted you a 'discretionary' six month exemption form the date that Probate was granted and is now charging the executor(s) of the estate. Bills normally sent out simply state' The Executor(s) of ... the previous named taxpayer' .

      Additional advice regarding Council Tax Liability for Executors ::


      Council Tax Liability for Executors
      Executors are the people appointed in the will to deal with the estate of a person who has died.
      When probate is granted a document is issued to the executor providing them with the authority to deal with the estate.
      If, after probate is granted ownership of a property is transferred to a beneficiary of the will, any liability for council tax passes to the beneficiary.
      If for any reason after probate has been granted the property remains under the control of the estate for more than six months, a full council tax charge is due. The executor is responsible for making payment of the council tax.
      The executor is not personally liable for council tax charges, and payment should be made from the deceased estate.
      If the executor cannot make payment for any reason they should contact the council immediately.

      From this, I am reasoning that the executor has no personal liability for the due council tax but must oversee its payment either from the estate or pass notice to the beneficiary of the property who will become liable ( if there is a property to be beneficial from ).
      Tags [MENTION=49370]Kati[/MENTION] for sign-posting to whomever. I assume this is [MENTION=39710]des8[/MENTION] forte.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Council Tax after death

        Hi and welcome

        Agree with Snoopy

        Have you settled the estate yet?

        Did your father own or rent his home?

        Assuming he owned it,
        1) was it left to a particular beneficiary and has change of ownership been registered and if so when?
        2)was it sold so the proceeds could be distributed and if so when?

        In either case the new owners would be liable for the tax from the date of change of ownership.
        Prior to that date any tax due would come from the estate.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Council Tax after death

          Many thanks for your responses. My Father owned the house and assets have been distributed as per the will. Would I be correct in assuming the council will request payment from the beneficiaries? If so, how would they get beneficiaries information? As a side, minors inherited a substantial portion of the estate.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Council Tax after death

            Originally posted by 223Vmax View Post
            Many thanks for your responses. My Father owned the house and assets have been distributed as per the will. Would I be correct in assuming the council will request payment from the beneficiaries? If so, how would they get beneficiaries information? As a side, minors inherited a substantial portion of the estate.
            The estate is usually liable for debts or over-payments, but not the executor personally - as their role is merely distributing the estate/ holding the deceased's estate on trust. So, no the executor is not personally liable for debts or overpayments. I believe the law is the Trustee Act 1925, am not certain.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Council Tax after death

              Notice was given pursuant to s. 27 of the Trustee Act 1925 in The Gazette. Therefore, is it up to the council to chase the beneficiaries and in this case children?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Council Tax after death

                Originally posted by 223Vmax View Post
                Notice was given pursuant to s. 27 of the Trustee Act 1925 in The Gazette. Therefore, is it up to the council to chase the beneficiaries and in this case children?
                Until the estate passes to the beneficiaries - the beneficiaries merely have a hope and wish for a gift - it's the trustee/ executor who has nominal title (ownership legally) and not the beneficiaries where the estate has not yet been distributed.

                - - - Updated - - -

                Originally posted by 223Vmax View Post
                Notice was given pursuant to s. 27 of the Trustee Act 1925 in The Gazette. Therefore, is it up to the council to chase the beneficiaries and in this case children?
                I see the estate has been distributed, too late for the council. They have a claim against the beneficiaries in principle but unlikely as the estate was liable and as the estate has been distributed the executor or the beneficiaries are no longer liable.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Council Tax after death

                  I don't think you have answered the really relevant questions regarding the property. That is, is it now registered in someone else's name in which case they would be liable.

                  How long did probate take because according to the link snoopy posted there is no CT due until probate.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Council Tax after death

                    Originally posted by JulieM View Post
                    I don't think you have answered the really relevant questions regarding the property. That is, is it now registered in someone else's name in which case they would be liable.

                    How long did probate take because according to the link snoopy posted there is no CT due until probate.
                    The Council Tax claim overpayment, if proven, was against the father during his life, so on his death the claim may have survived for a claim against the now 'deceased's' (testator) estate.' If the claim survived his death it turns into an interest against the assets that the father has: his estate: section 27, TA 1925. As the estate (his late father's property) has not at this point been distributed the executor/ trustee is said to hold the estate on trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries, albeit the trustee/ executor are not liable as they have title (nominally) only. The Council Tax claim where it exists, ie where proven, is simply lost once the executor has duly notified all potential creditors of the death of the debtor: section 27, TA, and the estate has been distributed. There is no claim against the beneficiaries as the beneficiaries were not creditors for the Council Tax.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Council Tax after death

                      For clarity. Council tax was fully paid up until his death - no outstanding arrears. On his death I notified the council who told me no CT payments would be expected for at least 6 months. I am the executor and was granted probate in April this year. The house was sold last month and all proceeds as well as remainder of the estate was distributed as per his Will. After this, I receive a bill from the council asking for CT from April (when Probate was granted) until date of sale. Am I personally liable to pay the CT - I'm guessing not? If this is the case how should I respond to the council. Like I said earlier I am not resident in the UK.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Council Tax after death

                        The claim here seems to be for unpaid council tax for a period commencing 6 months after the grant of probate.
                        It is not against the deceased, but against his estate.
                        Obviously if the ownership of the house changed (sold or given to a beneficiary) during that 6 month period that council tax would not be due from the estate, but from the new owner.
                        Last edited by des8; 16th August 2016, 16:23:PM. Reason: crossed with Vmax, who seems to have answered all questions

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Council Tax after death

                          I would write back to said council referring them to their initial advice and the information in post 2 and request they cancel their demand.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Council Tax after death

                            Forgive me but I don't see any mention of this being a claim for council tax due before death.

                            I read this as being a claim for council tax on a property now . This property may or may not be empty, it may or may not now belong to someone else.

                            According to snoopy , there is no CT due until probate is granted and then a possible 6 months of no council tax.

                            This is is what needs looking at if I have understood correctly. If probate took 6 months and 6 months later the house is still an unsold asset in the estate then CT is due from now. If the house has passed to another owner who is registered then they owe the CT .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Council Tax after death

                              Originally posted by Openlaw15 View Post
                              The Council Tax claim overpayment, if proven, was against the father during his life, so on his death the claim may have survived for a claim against the now 'deceased's' (testator) estate.' If the claim survived his death it turns into an interest against the assets that the father has: his estate: section 27, TA 1925. As the estate (his late father's property) has not at this point been distributed the executor/ trustee is said to hold the estate on trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries, albeit the trustee/ executor are not liable as they have title (nominally) only. The Council Tax claim where it exists, ie where proven, is simply lost once the executor has duly notified all potential creditors of the death of the debtor: section 27, TA, and the estate has been distributed. There is no claim against the beneficiaries as the beneficiaries were not creditors for the Council Tax.
                              That's incredibly useful information and I wish I had access to such during my local authority work as enforcement officer where I had to rely on the council tax billing team for interpretation. I can tell you, from personal experience, that many 'executor' accounts were indeed written off due to misinformation, late information or simply the council being slow. And believe me, council officers hate writing off debts where it is proven, or at least accepted, that they are uneconomic to pursue. There was always public perception that councils were over aggressive in their approach to collecting 'debts of the deceased' but I guess the legal line has to be drawn somewhere to suit all parties. Even in death, it isn't a free lunch, is it? But of course in most cases, there just simply wasn't enough assets left to cover any debts, which was an easier route to commute to write off.

                              Comment

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