Liability, legislation and general information about Council Tax
Council Tax pays for the services in your area. Without this, we could not provide essential services or help those in need.
Our authority to charge Council Tax comes from the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This statute, created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown and subsequent statutory regulations set out a local authority’s rights to demand Council Tax to fund services and who is liable to pay.
Council Tax is not a direct charge for services we provide. It is a Statutory Tax levied on occupiers (and some owners) of dwellings within the council's area. Nor is Council Tax a direct charge for individual services received; the amount collected is paid into a central fund to enable us to provide services for the benefit of the community as a whole.
The Freeman of the Land movement and similar groups commonly believe that people are only bound by the contracts and laws they have consented to. However, contract law and alleged rights under common law are not the same as legislation relating to the administration and collection of Council Tax.
Your liability to pay
You do not have a choice of whether you are liable for Council Tax, as liability is determined in accordance with the statutory law. Being a ‘freeman’ does not exempt anyone from paying Council Tax.
Your liability for Council Tax is not dependant on and does not require your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council. An assertion to the contrary is incorrect and has no legal basis. If you have any concerns over the charging of Council Tax, please seek proper legal advice, rather than relying on internet sources, before withholding payments.
The legislation that covers Council Tax is freely available from the government website www.legislation.gov.uk, including:-
We have provided the legislation that authorises councils to charge Council Tax and we will endeavour to answer all relevant Council Tax enquiries, however, we will not respond to lengthy enquiries that focus on ancient legislation or hypothetical arguments which do not appear to have any legal basis. These enquiries use our limited resources at the expense of other taxpayers. If you have concerns over the charging of your Council Tax, please seek reputable legal advice.
How to correctly challenge (appeal) your Council Tax bill
If you feel you should not be liable for Council Tax, or if you think your property should be exempt, the amount charged is incorrect, that any Council Tax Support is calculated incorrectly or if you consider a penalty has been applied incorrectly, you have the right of appeal. That right and the process is set out in the legislation.
Any appeal should initially be made in writing to the Council Tax & Benefit Service. You must explain what you are appealing against and give reasons why. We will consider your appeal. If you remain dissatisfied, you have a further right of appeal to an independent tribunal within two months of being notified of our decision (or two months from your initial appeal, if no decision is made within that time).
Making an appeal does not allow you to withhold payment or part payment of Council Tax. However, if your appeal is successful, any overpayment will be allowed or refunded.
You also have the right to challenge your Council Tax band, providing certain criteria exists.
Acts and Statutes
Some customers have asked whether Acts and Statutes are an obligation on them, asked about the difference between a Statute and Law and other similar questions regarding legal matters. Acts of Parliaments are Statutes which set out the law. The council exists to provide essential services to residents.
If you have questions regarding other Acts of Parliament or laws, these should be directed to a legal professional, not the council.
Requests for information about Council Tax and Business Rates
Before making a request for information, see our guide to information we publish and follow the process of how to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
A Freedom of Information request (FOI) is about data the council holds. Questions asking us if we are bound by Acts, Statutes etc do not constitute an FOI.
If you have a question about liability, follow the appeal process above. We will direct you to seek independent professional legal advice if you question whether you are bound by UK law.
Our responsibility to charge and recover Council Tax
The council has a responsibility to charge and recover Council Tax, but this does not mean it introduces a fiduciary relationship.
Some specific queries we’ve been asked are: -
- Provide an autographed lawful contract with you, with both of our autographs.
- Some residents consider that Council Tax is a contract and requires a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement. As mentioned above, Council Tax is a creature of statute, and a contract is not required. Therefore, any reference to the Companies Act, Contracts Act, Bills of Exchange Act or other acts regarding companies or contracts is irrelevant.
A variation of this question is ‘Please provide evidence that I’ve agreed with you that you can lawfully collect an alleged debt from me.’ Again, this is inconsequential, as there hasn’t been an exchange of contracts or agreement. Neither is required for the levy and recovery of Council Tax.
- Provide evidence that I am lawfully obliged to pay Council Tax.
- The hierarchy of who is considered to be the liable party is contained in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 c14 Part 1, Chapter 1, Sections 6 -9. Individual agreement of this is not necessary.
- Provide evidence that you have the lawful and contractual authority to use the legal fictional name of “XXX” for the purposes of making money.
- Whether a name is legal or fictional is irrelevant for the purposes of Council Tax. Council Tax is charged and is payable by whoever the liable party is, which is determined by reference to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.
- Provide confirmation the debt exists lawfully.
- The issue of a Council Tax Demand Notice (the bill) creates the debt. A signature or agreement from a resident is not necessary for Council Tax, it is a tax, not a contract. The Magistrates Courts (Amendment) Rules 2019 removed the requirement for a signature on a Court summons. Previous case law has clarified that the use of a rubber stamp or an electronic signature are both valid for the purpose of the court signing a summons.
- I’m a Freeman of the Land and am not liable.
- Considering yourself to be a Freeman of the Land does not mean you can choose which laws you adhere to and which you ignore.
- Please state if you are a company or a corporation.
- BCP Council is a local authority within the Public Sector and as such, it is not a company or a corporation.
- Please provide evidence that you have my consent to hold my data.
- Under Regulation 8 of the Data Protection Act 2018, we do not require your consent to process data that is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of the controller’s official function conferred by an enactment or rule of law.
- I won’t accept correspondence that isn’t signed, agreed with or I haven’t got a contract with.
- Anyone who ignores Council Tax communications or withholds their payment, will have recovery action taken against them. As explained, there is no requirement for your consent, agreement or a contract to be liable for Council Tax.
- The summons is illegal as it wasn’t issued by the court.
- The summons is issued by the Magistrates Court, when the application (complaint) is approved and endorsed by the court’s Legal Advisor and the council informed of the outcome. The summons may then be printed by the complainant, and this is the normal custom in relation to all summonses. It is the responsibility of the person applying for a summons to serve it on the respondent and Rule 99 of the Magistrates Court Rules 1981 sets out how that may be done, which includes by post. There is no agreement between the courts and Local Authorities to do this, as it is the legal duty of the Local Authority. Therefore, the summons is issued by the court, but printed on their behalf, and posted by the Local Authority.
- I want a copy of the liability order
- The Magistrates Court, who award Liability Orders publish a list of the names and addresses of those charge payers against whom an order was granted, together with the amount they owe. The granting of a Liability Order is a legal process and not an actual document, as such, it cannot be evidenced in the form of a document. We produce Liability Order Notices to inform the debtor, but this is not a legal requirement.