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Council & Democracy

Council Tax is a statutory tax levied on occupiers (and some owners) of dwellings within the council's area and is not a direct charge for individual services provided. The amount collected is paid into a central fund to provide services for the community as a whole.

The Freeman of the Land movement and other similar groups commonly believe that people are only bound by the contracts and laws they have consented to. Contract law and alleged rights under common law are not the same as the legislation relating to the administration and collection of Council Tax. You do not have a choice as to whether you are liable for Council Tax and being a 'freeman' does not exempt anyone from paying Council Tax.

Liability for Council Tax is governed by the Local Government Finance Act 1992. It was created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown and subsequent statutory regulations. It sets out who is liable to pay and a local authority's rights to demand Council Tax to fund services.

Liability for Council Tax is not dependent on, and does not require, your consent or the existence of a contract with the council. Any claim to the contrary is incorrect and there is no legal basis upon which to make this argument.

Can I withhold payment of my Council Tax bill?

Anyone who withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them. Please see our Recovery page for more information

In extreme cases this could even lead to committal proceedings, or even a prison sentence, as in the Manchester Magistrates'  Court vs McKenzie (2015) case, where an individual who attempted to use similar 'freeman on the land' defences in court ended up in prison for 40 days.

If you have any concerns over the charging of Council Tax, please seek proper legal advice, rather than relying on internet sources or forum statements which may be incorrect or misleading.

Council Tax legislation

The legislation that covers Council Tax is  freely available from the government website, including:

  • Local Government Finance Act 1992

  • Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

  • Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011

Some Council Tax payers have asked if Acts and Statutes are an obligation on them, about the difference between a Statute and Law and other similar questions regarding legal matters.

Acts of Parliaments are Statutes which set out the law. Any questions regarding other Acts of Parliament or laws, should be directed to a legal professional, not the council.

There are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of Council Tax. Anyone using these for advice should exercise caution and seek proper legal advice before using them as a defence against Council Tax liability based on contract, consent and common law.

We do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about Council Tax but we reserve the right to refuse to respond to lengthy false enquiries that focus on hypothetical arguments that have no basis in statute which use our resources at the expense of other taxpayers.