Single person council tax discount review
Some people who live on their own in a property in Boston borough may be entitled to a discount on the amount of Council Tax they have to pay.
Boston Borough Council, together with local government support service Northgate, is reviewing the single person discount to ensure only those who qualify are receiving it.
Currently there are 8,735 single person discount claimants in Boston borough, who receive a total discount of £2,407,928.
The Audit Commission reports that nationally more than £200 million of Single Person Discounts may be inappropriately awarded, impacting upon the already overstretched budgets of councils.
Generally, the full Council Tax bill assumes that two adults live in a property. If only one adult lives there (as their main home), the Council Tax bill will be reduced by the 25 per cent Single Person Discount, although some adults are disregarded for Council Tax. See Can I reduce my council tax? for full details of Council Tax exemptions.
Boston Borough Council, with Northgate, are using a combination of council data, third party data sources and specialist validation services to:
- Reaffirm the discount for genuine claimants efficiently and accurately, ensuring that the discount currently paid to those who are eligible is not cancelled;
- Remove ineligible or erroneous claims and increase revenue for the council
- Provide "fairness for all" citizens so that those who are paying the correct level of Council Tax are not subsidising their fellow citizens who are erroneously claiming the discount.
Northgate will commission a search against properties from a number of different sources to determine a list of adults associated with the addresses. This is information already in the public domain and in compliance with the principles of the Data Protection Act.
Some residents may receive a letter in connection with this project. The pre-paid return envelope will have a Twickenham address used by Northgate
Cllr Aaron Spencer, Boston Borough Council's portfolio holder for finance, said: "This is about fairness as much as it is about austerity. It is only fair that all pay their appropriate dues as prescribed by the laws of the land and that some should not slip through the net when others in the same position are fully meeting their obligations.
"It's also about councils collecting in all the cash due to them in order to run the services the public expect, want and demand despite the financial pressures and cuts in funding at this time.
"If someone genuinely qualifies for the single person discount they will receive it. If they don't - well, we are not asking them to contribute any more than they are legally obliged to."