Obligation to Pay Council Tax explained
Your Council Tax
Please note that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is a local authority within the public sector and does not have a company number. Details of all companies registered in England and Wales are available on the Companies House database.
Liability for Council Tax.
In the UK, statutory liability for Council Tax attaches under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (see definition of Persons liable to pay council tax). It therefore depends neither on a person’s consent, nor on the existence of any contract with the Council. Consequently, any assertion that a person is required to consent or to enter into a contract with the Council to attract liability for Council Tax has no legal basis, and is incorrect at law.
The Enforcement Process.
Payment by Persons liable is enforced under the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 (see in particular Part 4). This gives local authorities the right to demand Council Tax.
In terms of proceedings, an application is made on the Council’s behalf to the Magistrate’s Court for a summons to be issued in respect of unpaid tax. When the application is approved, it is endorsed by the Court’s legal adviser and the Council is informed of their application’s outcome. The summons is then printed, and the Council sees that it is served it on the respondent (Magistrate’s Court Rules 1981, in particular section 99). The proceedings normally take place as follows:
- The court receives a computer-generated report (a ‘complaints’ list) containing the names, address and amounts owed by Persons liable who are alleged to have defaulted on their Council Tax payments;
- The Court clerk reviews the report and, if satisfied, informs the Council that the summonses have been approved;
- The Council arranges for a summons to be printed and sent each alleged defaulter. The summons sets out what the Council believes is owed and when the matter will be heard at the Magistrates’ Court;
- The Court considers the proceedings on the hearing date and makes an appropriate order;
- The Council communicates to the Person liable the outcome of the hearing.
So, in brief, the summons is issued by the Court and the local authority sees that it is served.
Please note there are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding UK Council Tax legality. Anyone drawing on these as a defence against Council Tax liability based on contract, consent and/or common law or otherwise, should seek independent legal advice before using them
Should you wish to appeal your Council Tax, please use the Appeal a Council Tax bill or fine GOV.UK page.
Should you require other customer services in respect of your Council Tax, please contact us.