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bigduckontax
bigduckontax, Accountant
Category: Tax
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Experience:  FCCA FCMA CGMA ACIS
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I have a question regarding Council tax, specifically Council

Customer Question

I have a question regarding Council tax, specifically Council tax regulations (Admin and enforcement) regs 1992 (as amended) - regulation 36
As a side line we rent properties, when a tenant moves out of a house we usually notify the council and pay the unoccupied period between tenants.
It is sometimes a grey area as we don`t know the exact dates on occasion when the tenants go (owing arrears) and take it as when we get the keys back from the letting agent. irrespective of that, and the answer I require. We act as Such n such properties a trading style of a LTD co, me being director.
Recently a busy body in the council has been making it their business to add my personal name (despite me not having any day to day dealings with these matters) to demands, council tax bills etc, despite our admin completing property enquiry forms in the companies name.
this creates an admin nightmare for us, also clever tenants in the past have cloned my I.D realising i personally own some of the properties etc.
speaking with the council tax dept today, they are a suspicious bunch and are not forthcoming on how this is coming about. I have the legal persons details and wish to write a harsh email, and would be grateful of knowing if it is proper that they are investigating directors names etc and deciding them selves to `plonk` it on demands etc.
obviously on occasion they will send correspondence directly to a property, then go legal and my concern is having a court order or judgement spring up without my knowledge. kindest regards Dan
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  bigduckontax replied 1 year ago.
Hello Dan, I am Keith, one of the experts on Just Answer, and pleased to be able to help you with your question. As these properties are owned by a limited company the Council's actions appear to be an attempt to make you personally liable for Council Tax. Regrettably, they may be within their rights so to do, but only in certain circumstances. Here is the guidance published by Preston Council: 'There is a strict hierarchy of who is responsible for paying the Council Tax on a chargeable dwelling (property). The person responsible for the Council Tax on a property will be the person who comes first on the following list: a resident of the property who has a freehold interest in the whole or any part of ita resident of the property who has a leasehold interest in the whole or part of it which is not inferior to another such resident leaseholder's interesta resident who is a statutory or secure tenant of the whole or any part of the propertya resident who has a contractual license to occupy the whole or any part of the propertya resident of the propertythe owner of the propertyA "resident" means any individual who is eighteen years old or over and has their sole or main residence in the property.An "owner" means a person with a 'material interest' (freehold or leasehold granted longer than 6 months) in the whole or any part of a property for which an inferior 'material interest' is not subject.' So you see that although you are at the bottom of the pecking order they do have a case where the premises are not occupied by a tenant. Should they attempt to make you liable for the tax during a period where a tenant has possession then they have no case and their demands should be rejected out of hand and their attention drawn to the real persons who are liable to the tax. The Council are perfectly entitled under Company Law to obtain details of the company, its Registered Office, shareholders directors etc and the company can charge a modest fee for such provision. Their representative can also request to see the company register, although the requirement to maintain this is much diluted in the latest legislation. The Council cannot obtain a Court Order without the Court first giving you notice of the action. Should they try to recover the tax by this means when another person is actually liable they will fail when you submit a defence notifying the court of the actual person liable ie the tenant. In reality the Council is merely sabre rattling and their position will not stand up in court. Although I fear you will be in for a lot of letter writing in this matter you should succeed. My advice to you is never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever indulge in verbal discussions with the Council. There is to much chance of someone getting hold of wrong end of the stick if they can even find the stick at all. If you always do it in writing you have a hard copy of what has been discussed. My initial advice would be to write a crisp letter to the council advising them of who is actually liable and request that they cease to harass a person, you, who is not liable except for those periods when no tenant is in occupation. I do hope that I have shown you a way forward in this matter.

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