Council Tax Legislation
Very occasionally we get people, such as Freeman on the Land and similar groups who wrongly believe that using an archaic law means they don't have to pay Council Tax.
The Freeman on the Land movement and similar are under the misapprehension that they are only bound by contracts and laws they have consented to. They should not confuse the law relating to contracts and alleged rights under common law with the legislation relating to the administration and collection of Council Tax. Unfortunately there are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of Council Tax.
Council Tax liability
Liability for Council Tax is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and the subsequent regulations. It is not contingent upon a person's consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council.
Any assertion that a person is required to consent or to enter into a contract with the council, and this precludes their liability to pay Council Tax, is incorrect in law and there is no legal basis upon which to make such an argument.
Liability to pay Council Tax is determined by the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. This gives local authorities the right to demand Council Tax which is used to fund essential local services.
The legislation that covers Council Tax is freely available from the Government Legislation website including:
- Local Government Finance Act 1992
- Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992
- Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011
Some residents have questioned whether they are obliged to abide by acts and statutes and about the difference between a statute and law and other similar questions regarding legal matters. In essence, acts of Parliament are statutes which set out the law; however, if you have questions regarding acts of Parliament or laws, we suggest these should be directed to a legal professional, not the council.
Liability for Council Tax is determined in accordance with the statutory regulations and liability for this is confirmed by the Council Tax demand notice issued for each year.
If you want legal advice, we recommend contacting legal professional for specific legal advice. Failure to pay your Council Tax could have serious consequences if you choose not to pay. You can find details of qualified lawyers in our area from the Law Society website.
Beware of misleading articles online
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 defence against Council Tax liability based on contract, consent and common law.
Freeman on the Land arguments have been considered and ruled against by the courts. For more information see: 'Freeman on the Land' jailed for failure to pay council tax'
For those relying on copied articles using arguments based on Notice of Conditional Acceptance, including those quoting the Magna Carta 1215, Halsbury's Laws of England, Misprision of Treason and threats that 'ignorance is no defence in law' for example, should be aware these arguments have no legal basis with which to support non-payment of Council Tax. Such arguments are not accepted by the council and will not result in the halting or withdrawal of legal action to recover outstanding Council Tax charges.
The Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter) 1215, specifically Article 61, was drawn up to settle the dispute between the then Monarch and a group of 25 Barons over specific matters including taxes. However, the terms and conditions of this order were never granted to the population at large. Furthermore, Article 61 was subsequently omitted from all further versions of the of Magna Carta and was never incorporated into English law. The Magna Carta was amended and republished in various forms throughout subsequent years, ending with the 1225 version, which forms part of our common law today. With regard to the original 63 clauses set out in the Magna Carta 1215 only 4 remain today, which does not include Article 61.
Council Tax replaced the Community Charge (Poll Tax) from 1 April 1993, having been enacted by the Local Government Finance Act (LGFA) 1992, which reverted the previous person's tax to a property based one, which resulted in a tax levy on all domestic dwellings. The liability to pay the Council Tax, as set out in the LGFA 1992 and subsequent associated legislation, Statutory Instruments and Regulations is non-consensual. This is a statute created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom, which subsequently received the assent of the Crown.
Questions, statements and answers regarding Liability for Council Tax
The council has a responsibility to charge and recover Council Tax, but this does not mean it introduces an agreement between both parties for this to happen (Fiduciary Relationship). Some common 'freeman' queries we've been asked are:
Q: 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.
A: If you have a dispute regarding a Liability Order granted against you, then you need to take this up with the magistrates court. You will need to explain why you feel Boston Borough Council has not followed the correct process and apply for your Liability Order to be set aside.
Q: Where a Liability Order was granted, I require a copy of the Liability Order for which notice of Liability Order was received.
A: Following the magistrates' court hearing at which Liability Orders are granted, a full list of those granted is produced. The list contains the names and addresses of those charge payers against who an order was granted, together with the amount they owe. This list is produced electronically, and an electronic copy is kept by both us and the magistrates' court in which the orders were granted.
The granting of a Liability Order is a legal process and is not a document; as such it cannot be evidenced in the form of a document.
Q: Are acts and statutes an obligation to me?
A: Some people 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 Parliament 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.
Q: Can you provide an autographed lawful contract with you, with both of our autographs or signature.
A: Some residents consider that Council Tax is a contract and requires a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement. Council Tax is regulated by 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.
Q: Can you provide evidence that I am lawfully obliged to pay Council Tax.
A: 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.
Q: 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.
A: 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.
Q: Can you provide confirmation the debt exists lawfully?
A: The issue of a Council Tax Demand Notice (the bill) creates the debt. See Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011 for further information. A signature or agreement from a resident is not necessary for Council Tax. It is a tax, not a contract.
Q: I'm a Freeman on the Land and I am not liable.
A: Legislation and the courts do not recognise the concept of a "Freeman on the Land". Anyone claiming this artificial status should be aware that they cannot choose which laws they adhere to and which to ignore. We will continue recovery action against all liable parties who have not paid their Council Tax.
Q: Provide evidence of which companies Boston Borough Council has shared personal data with.
A: We comply with all relevant legislation with regard to the billing and collection of Council Tax. Further information regarding your data and how it is used can be found at www.boston.gov.uk/HowIsMyInformationUsed?
Q: 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 communications will be accepted. This includes bailiff action, using private organisations, hand delivered or electronic notices.
A: Anyone who ignores Council Tax communications or withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them. It should be noted, Council Tax is deemed outside the scope of VAT and we are unable to provide a VAT invoice.
Boston Borough Council is a local authority within the Public Sector and does not have a company number. Should you require further information on what a local authority is please visit the Local Government Association website - what is local government
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 legal basis which use our resources at the expense of the taxpayer. This includes letters and notices served on the council's chief executive with the same misleading reasoning.
How to correctly challenge and appeal your Council Tax bill
You have the right to challenge and appeal your council tax bill if you feel that any of the following apply:
- You should not be liable for Council Tax
- You believe your property should be exempt
- The amount charged is incorrect
- Your Council Tax Support is calculated incorrectly
- You consider a penalty has been applied incorrectly.
The right to challenge and appeal is set out in the legislation.
Any appeal should initially be made in writing to us. You must explain what you are appealing against and give reasons why and we will consider your appeal. If you remain dissatisfied, you have a further right of appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Service 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, unless your appeal is against a penalty notice, in which case no amount is payable until after a decision has been made. However, if your appeal is successful, any overpayment will be allowed or refunded.
Summons and Liability Orders
If you have received a Summons you have the right to appear before the magistrates (justices) and provide evidence as to why the court should not grant a Liability Order. The valid defences are:
- the amount has not been demanded in accordance with the regulations
- bills have been issued too late
- instalments have not been calculated in accordance with the regulations
- the amount has been paid
- he/she/they is not the person named on the summons
- the level of charge is not in accordance with the sum set by the council
If you believe that the Liability Order should not be granted it is recommended that you attend the court hearing to test your understanding of the legal system.
If a Liability Order has been granted a further £5.00 will be added to your account and the debt will be enforced. The enforcement actions which can be used are:
- issue an Attachment of Earnings Order
- request the Department of Work and Pensions take deductions from relevant benefits paid
- use enforcement agents
- apply for a charging order
- commence bankruptcy proceedings
- apply to the magistrates court for a warrant with a view to committing you to prison
If you consider that the Liability Order was not obtained within the law, you have the right to test the legality of the order by arranging with His Majesty's Court and Tribunal Service to appear before the High Court to challenge the law itself. This would be something you would need to arrange independently of the council, at your own cost. Please note that recovery of Council Tax owed would not be held during such time (as per Regulation 57 of Section 16 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992).
For further information regarding paying your Council Tax, charges, FAQs, calculations, change of address or circumstances please see our Council Tax pages.