Council Tax: Understanding the Law | Council Tax: Understanding the Law | Oldham Council

Council Tax pays for the services in your area. Without this, we could not provide essential services to our communities, or help those in need.

Council Tax is not a direct charge for services provided or for individual services received; it is a tax paid to your local council.

The amount collected is paid into a central fund to enable the Council to provide services for the benefit of everyone.

The legislation that covers Council Tax is freely available from the GOV.UK website including:

Can I withhold payment of my Council Tax bill?

You do not have a choice of whether you are liable for Council Tax, as liability is determined in accordance with the Council Tax legislation. It is not dependent upon either your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the Council.

Anyone who withholds payment, and does not have a suitable defence against liability, will have recovery action taken against them and may have additional costs to pay as a result of that action.

Freeman of the land

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.

You do not have a choice as to whether you are liable for Council Tax and being a 'freeman' does not exempt anyone from paying Council Tax.

There are many misleading articles and templates on the internet, regarding the legality of Council Tax.

Whilst we do our best to answer all relevant enquiries, we reserve the right to refuse to respond to enquiries that focus on hypothetical arguments, that have no basis in statute and which inappropriately use our resources and time at the expense of other taxpayers.

Anyone drawing on these movements for advice, should exercise caution and seek proper legal advice before using them as a defence against Council Tax liability.

In the following section, we'll provide you with some key information about the legal aspects of Council Tax. This includes details on why councils are obligated by law to charge Council Tax, and why it's crucial for residents and the wider public, to comply with this obligation.

The Local Government Finance Act 1992

Some residents consider that Council Tax liability requires a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement. Liability for Council Tax arises under Section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This means a contract is not required, and 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 misunderstanding over contracts is ‘Please provide evidence that I’ve agreed with you that you can lawfully collect an alleged debt from me.’ This is inconsequential, as there hasn’t been an exchange of contracts or an agreement.

Providing evidence that residents are obliged to pay Council Tax

The Local Government Finance Act 1992 is an Act of Parliament, that has been in force since 6 March 1992. It imposes a legal duty to local authorities, to collect Council Tax.

What evidence is there that you have the lawful authority to use the fictional name of “XXX” for the purposes of making money

A Council Tax bill can legally be addressed to “The occupier” or “The owner,” which still must be paid.

Whether a name is legal or fictional, is irrelevant for the purposes of Council Tax. It is charged to and is payable by, whoever the liable party is.

This is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. 

Providing confirmation that 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. 

Documentation without a wet ink signature

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.

VAT invoices

Council Tax is deemed outside the scope of VAT, so we are unable to provide a VAT invoice. 

Please state whether you are a company or a corporation

Oldham Council is a Local Government Body, established by the Local Government Act 1972, and is not a company created under the Companies Acts

I have not given my consent, authorising Oldham Council to hold my data Under Regulation 8, of the Data Protection Act 2018

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 and performance of the controller’s official function, conferred by an enactment or rule of law.

Providing evidence of which companies Oldham Council has shared personal data with

The Council publishes this information online, and it can be accessed using the following links.

Provide a true bill that complies with the Bills of Exchanges Act 1882

All councils follow legislation according to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, which contain the requirements regarding Council Tax bills.

If a liability order is granted without my presence, consent, and opportunity to bring all of the above to the attention of those concerned and involved, I WILL have no choice but to seek lawful advice with regards to proceeding with a claim for fraud against those involved

If you have a dispute regarding the granting of a Liability Order against you, then you need to contact the Magistrates Court within 21 days, via a request for the case stated.

You only accept legitimate communication through a recognised official service and needs to be sent following universal Postal Union convention rules. You say no other forms of communication will be accepted. This includes bailiff action, using private organisations, hand-delivered or electronic notices

Anyone who ignores Council Tax communications, issued directly by the Council, or by their appointed representatives and withholds payment, will have recovery action taken against them.

Where a liability order was granted, I require a copy of the liability order for which notice of liability order was received

At the Magistrates’ Court Hearing at which Liability Orders are considered, a full list of those granted is produced and signed.

The list contains the names and addresses of those Council Tax payers against whom an order was granted together with the amount they owe, inclusive of costs awarded.

This list is produced electronically, and an electronic copy is kept by both the Local Authority and the Magistrates’ Court in which the orders were granted.

The granting of a Liability Order is a legal process, approved in open court and as such cannot be evidenced in the form of a document.

Full disclosure of financial evidence

The Council publishes its financial information online, please see the link below for further information.