The importance of Council Tax record keeping

By | June 28, 2016

A recent case in front of a London Valuation Tribunal panel which involved the London Borough of Redbridge goes to show that, once again, owners, landlords and agents need to ensure that tenancy details are recorded properly and kept up to date –

Valuation Tribunal decision

The owner of the property appealed a Council Tax charge on the basis that the property had been tenanted since 2009, and had been so until 2013. The local authority however contended there was insufficient proof of this tenancy for the period of 2011 to 2013 and billed the owner for this period.

The Tribunal were provided with copies of the landlords tax returns and bank statements as proof of rental income.  The tax returns, although showing a rental income, failed to match up with the rent payment shown on the bank statements and so were rejected. The payments noted on the bank statement did not match the rental dates or amounts and some showed a name which could not be linked to any of the known tenants.

The local authority provided a copy of a rent deposit return showing the monies were returned by the landlord prior to the date he stated the tenant left. This vacation was further supported by the benefit claims and tenancy agreements for the properties the alleged tenant had moved to. Unsurprisingly the Tribunal found in favour of the local authority.

What should you do ?

The moral of this case is that you should ensure that financial records are consistent, accurately kept and match the other paperwork which you have. You should also be 100% clear over who your tenant is and for which period. If in doubt, contact the local authority on a regular basis and keep them updated – it will help you at a later date if things go wrong.

Failure to keep a local authority updated may result in a penalty notice being issued or, ultimately, a fraud investigation being instituted.

Need expert help or advice ?

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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