Challenges to the legality of Council Tax

Challenges to the legality of Council Tax

Since 1993 local authorities such as Chesterfield Borough Council (the council) have been under a duty to levy and collect Council Tax for dwellings which are located within the council’s administrative area.

A 'dwelling' is essentially a property which is used as private accommodation.

People over the age of 18 who either own, rent or otherwise occupy dwellings are usually liable to pay Council Tax, but with some exceptions.

Council Tax is not an individual contract for services between the person subject to Council Tax and the council. It is a tax that pays for services to the council’s area as whole. It is levied, collected and placed into a central fund. The individuals that live in the council area then benefit from these services.

You can find out more about Council Tax on our web pages and on the Government website

Council Tax legislation

Council Tax was introduced by the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (the 1992 Act) and the main legislation which governs the levying, collection and enforcement of Council Tax are the 1992 Act, the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement ) Regulations 1992 and Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011 (together ‘the Council Tax legislation’)

The Council Tax legislation were enacted by Parliament. Parliament is the supreme law-making body for the United Kingdom and has the authority to enact laws and regulations and levy taxes.

The requirement then to pay Council Tax is determined by legislation. The council’s duty and authority to levy, collect and enforce Council Tax is governed by statute as opposed to a common law fiduciary duty. It is not governed by any contract and there is no requirement for those subject to Council Tax to agree or consent to the payment of Council Tax before it must be paid.

If Council Tax is not paid, the council will take enforcement action in accordance with the Council Tax legislation. A failure to pay Council Tax could result in Council Tax becoming payable immediately (rather than by instalments), could result in further costs or charges and can, in the most extreme cases of non-payment, result in imprisonment.

Questions about Council Tax 

The council receives various questions and statements regarding Council Tax:

Parliament did not have the authority to enact the Council Tax legislation and I am not bound by it.

Parliament is a democratically elected body and is the supreme law-making body for the UK. Those persons who are within the jurisdiction of the UK are subject to the laws of Parliament. Parliament’s rise to the supreme law-making body supersedes ancient acts and agreements such as the Magna Carter 1215 and the Bill of Rights Act 1688.

The council and the courts recognise Parliament as the supreme law-making body and the council does not accept that any legal argument that Parliament had no right to enact the Council Tax legislation and therefore it is not law, is correct.

I have not agreed to pay Council Tax and there is no contract therefore I do not have to pay. I have not agreed to be taxed or fined.

As stated above, Council Tax levying, collection and enforcement is governed by the Council Tax legislation. The Council Tax legislation stands on its own and is not subject to the requirements of other enactments such as the Bills of Exchange Act 1882, Consumer Credit Act 1974, Companies Act 2006 or Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Council Tax is a tax that is levied as a result of the Council Tax legislation. Those subject to it are not required to consent or otherwise agree to its imposition and payment. There is no requirement for any signatures or other form of evidence of agreement.

Provided that Council Tax is levied, collected and enforced in accordance with the Council Tax legislation, the Council Tax bill and any subsequent charges or costs must be paid.

The council consider that any legal argument that Council Tax is not payable as there is no contract or that there has not been compliance with legislation other than the Council Tax legislation, is not correct.

I am a Freeman of the Land and I am not subject to the Council Tax legislation.

As stated above, everyone who is within the jurisdiction of the UK is subject to its laws. This includes persons who describe themselves as Freeman of the Land or other titles which they state entitle them to be above or outside the law.

The council consider that any legal argument based on this premise is incorrect.

Please provide evidence that I am a living being, that I am a man/woman, that the request for payment was sent to my legal fiction or I, a sovereign man/woman.

There is no requirement in the Council Tax legislation for the council to first ascertain or prove that the persons liable for Council Tax are living beings or are male or female.

Whether a person has a fictional name or otherwise is irrelevant and does not render the requirement to pay Council Tax unlawful or invalid.

If you consider that the council has your name wrong, then you should let the council know and provide evidence of your correct name. Unless and until you do this, the council is entitled to assume that it has the correct name.

Please state whether you are a company or a corporation and please provide your company number. Please provide your VAT number/invoice.

The council is a local authority created pursuant to the Local Government Act 1972. It does not have and is not required to have a company number. Council Tax is not subject to VAT and the Council Tax legislation does not require any invoice to be provided containing a VAT number or other VAT details. 

Is the Council a body corporate?

Chesterfield Borough Council is a body corporate and is a District Council whose purpose and functions are set out in statute and in its constitution. It is not a profit making private company.

Is the Council a municipal corporation for the purposes of Municipal Corporations Act 1882? Are all men and women living in the borough of Chesterfield considered/ deemed  ‘Incorporated Inhabitants'?

Municipal corporations ceased to exist after 1 April 1974 by virtue of Section 1(11) The Local Government Act 1972

What is the difference between and/or define and/or explain how the following terms apply to me:

a) Chargeable Dwelling
b) Non-Domestic Property
c) Private Domestic Accommodation
d) Hereditament
e) Domicile

Definitions of these terms and their applicability can be found within the Council Tax legislation. The council does not offer legal advice and you should seek your own legal advice.

Please provide a statement of account as to how Council Tax is being spent. Please provide information as to how other organisations which are funded by Council Tax, spend those funds.

The council’s spending is set out in the Statement of Accounts. The accounts are prepared in the format prescribed by the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and can be found here

Financial information about Council Tax spending can also be found on in our Council Tax financial information. 

Council Tax is collected by the council to fund services provided by it and by other organisations, such as Derbyshire County Council and parish councils in the borough, and these are set out on the Council Tax bill, together with how much of the bill contributes to those organisations. 

The information as to how those organisations spend that money will be available from those organisations and you will be able to find that information by following the above link or searching the websites of those organisations. The council does not hold information about spending of other organisations. 

Please provide proof that Pound Sterling is a legitimate currency. I am willing to pay my Council Tax and issue you with a Promissory Note and/or will agree to pay in a method other than Pound Sterling.

Pound Sterling is the official currency of the United Kingdom. This is the accepted currency by the United Kingdom government and is accepted by countries globally. It is not for the council to prove that Pound Sterling is a legitimate currency, it is for whoever disputes this to prove otherwise.

The Council Tax legislation requires the payment of Council Tax once a demand is made. It is not an obligation to make a promise to pay; it is a requirement to make an actual payment. The council is not obliged to accept any type of payment other than Pound Sterling and will not accept any other type of payment. The council does not accept a promissory note and will require payment within the time limits identified in the Council Tax bill and by the means stipulated at the back of that bill.  

You must cease and desist requesting payment of Council Tax. I consider that by requesting that I pay Council Tax you are committing an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

The recovery of Council Tax is a requirement of the Council Tax legislation and is reasonable and necessary action which pursues a legitimate aim. The council denies that any reasonable actions in pursuit of such aims amount to harassment for the purposes of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 or amounts to any form of harassment.

By continuing to request payment of council you agree to pay me £XX per day. If you do not reply to my request within XX days you agree to pay me £XX and/or the council agree to XX.

The council does not consider that it has any obligation to make such payments or take such actions and that such payments and requests for actions are unreasonable. The council does not agree to any terms and conditions proposed by any third party except where it agrees expressly and in writing. Nothing the council, its agents, servants or contractors do or do not do should be taken as any form of agreement to such terms and conditions, except where it does so expressly and in writing.

Please provide the authority for XX officer, to send me a bill/letter.

The Council Tax legislation provides the authority for the council to levy, collect and enforce Council Tax. The council has a constitution which provides a system of delegations, and delegates various powers to teams and officers of the council. Officers that have sent Council Tax bills, letters or other documents are authorised to do so under the council’s constitution. Find out more in our constitution. 

Please provide the lawful basis for processing my personal data in relation to Council Tax.

Article 6 of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UKGDPR) provides the following: 

Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies:

(a)  the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes;

(b)  processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;

(c)  processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject;

(d)  processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person;

(e)  processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller;

(f)  processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.

Section 8 of the Data Protection Act 2018 states:

In Article 6(1) of the [UK GDPR] (lawfulness of processing), the reference in point (e) to processing of personal data that is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of the controller's official authority includes processing of personal data that is necessary for—

(a)  the administration of justice,

(b)  the exercise of a function of either House of Parliament,

(c)  the exercise of a function conferred on a person by an enactment or rule of law,

(d)  the exercise of a function of the Crown, a Minister of the Crown or a government department, or

(e)  an activity that supports or promotes democratic engagement.

The council considers that processing personal data for the levying, collection and enforcement of Council Tax if in the public intertest and necessary for the council to perform the functions conferred upon it by the Council Tax legislation pursuant to Article 6 UK GDPR and s.8 Data Protection Act 2018.

Can the Magistrates Court make a liability order if I don’t attend Court?

Yes, an order may be made in your absence. If you wish to dispute the making of a liability order you should contact the Court and seek your own independent legal advice.

Please provide a copy of the liability order and evidence that the liability order has been registered on the memorandum of entry at the Magistrates Court.

Liability orders may be made by the Magistrates when the Council Tax bill has not been paid. This is pursuant to regulation 34(6) Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 (the 1992 Regulations). 

The council considers that the 1992 Regulations provide for an enforcement scheme for liability orders that is self-contained and exclusive. The 1992 Regulations only require the court to make the liability order and do not require service of the liability order for the liability order to be made enforceable. This is made clear at regulation 34(3) which states The amount in respect of which a liability order is made is enforceable in accordance with this Part….’ This is further reinforced by virtue of rule 115(6) Magistrates Courts Rules 1981 which confirms that the usual Magistrates Courts rules as to service of orders does not apply to liability orders.

A liability order becomes enforceable when it is made and persons against whom such orders are made are subject to that order.

The council considers that the Council Tax legislation, which includes the 1992 Regulations, are a self-contained enforcement scheme and it does not consider that such order must be registered in the memorandum of entry of the Magistrates Court, but in any event such records are kept by the Magistrates Court and enquires as to whether a liability order has been registered in the memorandum of entry should be directed to the court that made the order.

Who is the Section 151 Finance Officer?

The Chesterfield Borough Council officer with responsibility for financial administration pursuant to Section 151 Local Government Act 1972 is currently Theresa Channell. 

The above information is for reference only. It is not legal or financial advice and is not intended to be any such advice. If you are at unsure about the Council Tax legislation or your obligations under the Council Tax legislation you should seek your own independent legal and/or financial advice.


Last updated on 17/07/2024