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Legality of Council Tax

Challenges to the legality of council tax

The Freeman on 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.

You do not have a choice as to whether you are liable for council tax; liability for council tax is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This statute sets out a local authority’s rights to demand council tax to fund services and determine who is liable to pay.

Your liability for council tax is not dependent on, and does not require your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council. Any such assertion to the contrary is incorrect and there is no legal basis upon which to make this argument.

Withholding payment

Anyone who withholds payment is likely to have recovery action taken against them, and in extreme cases this could lead to committal proceedings and a custodial sentence.

Should you have concerns over the payment of your council tax, you should seek legal advice rather than relying on other incorrect or misleading information.

If you wish to obtain independent advice regarding Council Tax, please speak to an established advice agency such as Citizen's Advice rather than misleading internet sources or social media posts. The advice given by such sources is inaccurate and will not help your situation.

Getting help with paying

If you are on a low income and are struggling to pay your Council Tax, you may be entitled to Council Tax support which can reduce the amount you are expected to pay.

North Herts Council has a generous Council Tax Support scheme and residents on a very low income may find they are not expected to pay anything towards their Council Tax.

Queries about legislation

Some residents have asked whether Acts and Statutes are an obligation on them, and 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. If you have questions regarding other Acts of Parliament or laws, these should be directed to a legal professional, not the council.

Very occasionally we get people who are convinced that using an older law, not those that specifically cover the Billing and Collection of Council Tax, means they don’t have to pay council tax and there are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of council tax. Anyone drawing on these for advice should exercise caution and seek proper legal advice before using them as a defence against council tax liability that is incorrectly based on contract, consent and common law.

While we do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about council tax, we reserve the right to refuse to respond to lengthy spurious enquiries that focus on hypothetical arguments that have no basis in statute which use our resources at the expense of other taxpayers.

The legislation that covers council tax is freely available from the government website, including:

  • Local Government Finance Act 1992
  • Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992
  • Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011

Common challenges to paying Council Tax

Below are some of common challenges and requests, along with our responses to them:

Challenge or request Response
I'm a Freeman of the Land and am not liable. Being a Freeman of the Land does not mean someone can choose which laws they adhere to and which to ignore.
Provide an autographed lawful contract with you, with both of our autographs. Some people consider council tax is a contract and, as such, requires a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement. Council tax is determined by statute – a contract is not required. Any reference to the Companies Act, Contracts Act, Bills of Exchange Act or other acts regarding companies or contracts is irrelevant.
Provide evidence that I've agreed with you that you can lawfully collect an alleged debt from me. As above, this is inconsequential as there hasn't been an exchange of contracts or agreement. Neither of these are required by law for the levy and recovery of council tax.
Provide evidence that I'm lawfully obliged to pay council tax. The hierarchy of who is considered the liable party is contained in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 c14 Part 1, Chapter 1, Sections 6 to 9. Individual agreement 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 to, and is payable by, whoever is the liable party. This is determined by reference to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and The 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.
Provide documents containing a wet ink signature. A signature is not necessary for the billing of council tax, and no wet ink signature is mandatory on a court summons. Summonses no longer require a signature of any sort, including electronic ones.
Provide a VAT invoice. Council tax is deemed outside the scope of VAT and we are unable to provide a VAT invoice. Our VAT number is 198 1981 08
State whether you are a company or a corporation. North Herts District Council is a local authority within the public sector. We do not have a company number.