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Liability, legislation and general information about Council Tax

Council Tax pays for the services in your area. With this, the Council provides essential services and helps those in need.

Our authority to charge Council Tax comes from the Local Government Finance Act 1992. It sets out a local authority’s rights to charge Council Tax to fund services and who is liable to pay.

Council Tax is collected by Cotswold District Council on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Police Authority and Town and Parish Councils.

Your liability to pay

You do not have a choice of whether you are liable for Council Tax, as liability is determined by statutory law. If you are the liable person you are required to pay Council Tax.

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. If you have concerns over the charging of Council Tax, please seek proper legal advice before withholding payments rather than relying on internet sources.

Our responsibility to charge and recover Council Tax

The Council is responsible for charging and recovering Council Tax, but this does not mean it introduces a fiduciary relationship.

Current legislation

The liability to pay Council Tax falls under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and later regulations. This is a statute created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown.

The legislation that covers Council Tax is freely available from the government website, including:

Council Tax queries

We will try to answer all reasonable Council Tax enquiries.

We will not respond to enquiries that focus on the following:

  • ancient, historic or outdated legislation
  • requests for contracts requiring the payment of Council Tax
  • hypothetical arguments which do not appear to have any legal basis
  • unfounded notices, appointments or orders which have no grounds in law
  • wilful misinterpretation of the law
  • freeman on the land, sovereign citizens, strawman, etc. type correspondence

While we do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about Council Tax, we reserve the right to refuse to answer correspondence that focuses on unfounded arguments that have no basis in statute which use our resources at the expense of other taxpayers.

If you have concerns over the charging of Council Tax, please seek proper legal advice rather than relying on internet sources.

How to correctly challenge (appeal) your Council Tax bill

You have the right to appeal a decision regarding your Council Tax. Please visit Council Tax bands charges and appeals.

Making an appeal does not allow you to withhold payment of Council Tax. However, any overpayment will be allowed or refunded if your appeal is successful.

Acts and statutes

Some customers have asked whether acts and statutes are apply to them, about the difference between a statute and law and other similar questions regarding legal matters. An Act of Parliament (also called a statute) is a law made in the UK Parliament. If you have questions about 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

Freedom of information request (FOI)

Before making a request for information, see our guide to the information we publish and follow the process of how to make a freedom of information request.

A FOI request is about data the Council holds. Questions such as asking us if you are bound by acts and statutes do not constitute an FOI.

If you have a question about liability, follow the Council Tax appeal process above.

We will not respond to questions about whether you are bound by UK law.

Subject access request (SAR)

Before making a subject access request, please read the information we publish and follow the process of how to make a subject access request.

Making a subject access request is one of your rights. You may ask about data the Council may hold about you as an individual and how it is processed. Questions asking us for agreements or contracts signed or made by you to pay Council Tax or if you are bound by acts and statutes do not constitute a SAR.

Privacy notice

For information about how the Council uses your information for the purposes of administering Council Tax including setting up your account for billing purposes, processing discounts, exemptions etc. please see the Council Tax Privacy Notice.

Frequently asked questions and other information

What if I can’t afford to pay Council Tax?

We understand that recent situation has caused a lot of change and some people are unable to meet previously agreed instalments or payment plans. If you are struggling to pay your annual Council Tax bill you may be entitled to support or assistance. Please check our website for support and benefits; cost of living support or please contact our revenues team.

What if I do not pay?

If you do not pay your Council Tax we are required by law to follow statutory procedures to recover the debt using Council Tax enforcement.

If you are having trouble paying please contact us immediately and we may be able to come to a payment arrangement that you can afford.

Can you provide an autographed, wet ink signature or signed lawful contract with you, with both of our autographs or signatures?

Council Tax is raised and governed by statute, and a contract or signed agreement is not required. Therefore, any reference to the following is irrelevant:

Companies Act; Contracts Act; Bills of Exchange Act; Maritime law; Magna Carta; Coronation Oath Act 1688; other acts regarding companies or contracts.

Can you provide confirmation the debt exists lawfully or I have agreed that you can collect the alleged debt from me?

Council Tax was introduced and is administered under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 by a “billing authority”. The issue of a Council Tax demand notice (the bill) creates the debt. A signature or agreement is not necessary for the levy and recovery of Council Tax. It is a tax, not a contract.

Can you provide evidence that I am lawfully obliged to pay Council Tax or Prove that I am liable to pay?

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 to prove liability.

Can you provide evidence that you have the lawful and contractual authority to use the legal fictional name of “XXX” for the purposes of making money  or i: a living person and am not liable  or i: am not the legal fictional name of “XXX” but am the trustee for the legal fictional name of “XXX” and am not liable?

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.

I’m a Freeman on the Land and am not liable.

The Freeman on the Land movement and similar groups, commonly believe that they are bound only by statute laws they consent to. Being a ‘freeman’ or associating with similar beliefs does not mean people can choose which laws they adhere to and which to ignore does not exempt any person from paying Council Tax.

Please state if you are a company or a corporation.

Cotswold District Council is a local authority within the public sector and is not a company or a corporation.

Please send us your VAT details/provide a VAT invoice. 

Council Tax is deemed outside the scope of VAT and therefore no VAT invoice is required. 

I have not received the answer to my questions or non-response is agreement

We will not respond to unreasonable or unfounded enquiries that waste the limited resources of the Council. Our decision not to respond is not agreement or acceptance of such unreasonable or unfounded positions.

The Council is responsible for charging and recovering Council Tax and administering associated benefits following the law of the UK. For more information, please read our Recovery policy on our Enforcement page

Why is the summons issued by the Council and not the court or the Magistrate’s Court is not a real court?

The Council, as the billing authority, makes complaint to the Clerk to the Justices/Justice of the Peace by taking to the court a list of all persons against whom we wish to apply to the court for a liability order. If the Clerk to the Justices or the Justice of the Peace agrees that the complaint is valid they authorise the issuing of the summonses in respect of persons on the complaint list. The billing authority then produces and serves the court summonses on behalf of the court.

The Magistrate's Court acts pursuant to its powers in the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980. Any questions regarding their powers should be directed to the court of issue.

What is the lawful basis for processing personal data relating to the administration of Council Tax?

For the processing of personal data based on Local Government Finance Act 1992 s1(1) the relevant lawful basis are:

  • UK General Data Protection Regulations Article 6(1)(c) ‘Legal Obligation’, and
  • UK General Data Protection Regulations Article 6(1)(e) ‘Public Task’ as supplemented by Data Protection Act 2018 s8(c)