Council Tax liability can be a confusing issue however there are a few simple consideration which can ensure that your Council Tax liability is correctly determined and you are not caught out.
What is liability ?
Liability is the simply the term used to describe being responsible for the Council Tax bill on a property – there may or may not be an actual charge to pay. More than one person may be liable for the Council Tax charge at any one time.
How is liability determined and can it be joint ?
Liability is determined, primarily under Section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This sets out, in law, who is responsible for payment. The Local Authority have no discretion over following and applying this legislation.
In most cases the resident tenants or owners are jointly responsible (including partners in some cases) for the Council Tax charge. A person in receipt of Council Tax support will also generally be jointly liable. Special rules do apply in some cases – for example Houses in Multiple Occupation.
Remember that the liable party will be the person(s) who are chased for any Council Tax payments which are due and each jointly liable party is equally responsible for ensuring full payment is made.
Can a landlord determine liability ?
Council Tax liability is determined solely by Council Tax legislation and based on the type of tenancy agreement. Any terms which try to alter who is liable for Council Tax payment is not generally enforceable under Council Tax legislation (although may be via a Civil Court case between you and the landlord).
Can an agreement with a flatmate determine liability ?
Council Tax liability is determined solely by Council Tax legislation and based on the type of tenancy agreement. Any terms which try to split or determine amongst yourselves who is going to pay the Council Tax is not enforceable in Council Tax legislation (although may be via a Civil Court case between you and the flatmate).
I’ve left the property what happens ?
If you’ve vacated a property then special attention should be paid to the recent clarification of liability in the Appeals Court Case of Leeds CC v Broadley.
Need expert Council Tax help or assistance ?
This article is solely the view of LGFA92, the Council Tax agents and experts, based on our interpretation of legislation. Your local authority is free to dispute this view. A binding decision may require the intervention of a valuation tribunal.
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