Freeman of the Land Council Tax Legality

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

The Freeman of the Land movement, and similar groups, commonly believe that people are only bound by the contracts and laws they have consented to. However, contract law and alleged rights under common law are not the same as 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.

In the UK, liability for council tax is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992 . This statute, created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown and subsequent statutory regulations, sets out a local authority's rights to demand council tax to fund services and who is liable to pay.

Your liability for council tax is not dependent on, and does not require, your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council. Any assertion to the contrary is incorrect and there is no legal basis upon which to make this argument.

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

Some residents have asked whether Acts and Statutes are an obligation on them, and 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. If you have questions regarding other Acts of Parliament or laws, these should be directed to a legal professional, not the council.

Very occasionally we get people who are convinced that using an archaic law means they don't have to pay council tax and there are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of council tax. Anyone drawing on 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.

Whilst we do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about council tax, we reserve the right to refuse to respond to lengthy spurious enquiries that focus on hypothetical arguments that have no basis in statute which use our resources at the expense of other taxpayers.

In summary laws are considered binding, made by an elected Parliament on behalf of the whole country, therefore, no individual contract is required and it is both “impossible and inappropriate" to gain individual consent.

A High Court case has effectively resolved the arguments around no contract/consent to pay Council Tax and the requirement for the issue of written Liability Orders/Court Orders.

The full transcript is available on Kofa, R (On the Application Of) v Oldham Metropolitan Bolton Council [2024] EWHC 685 (Admin) (20 March 2024)

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 do not require a written court issued Liability Order. In addition, the Leighton v Bristow & Sutor case refers to extracts from a “court list" paired with a signature certifying the number of Liability Orders made and this satisfies the High Court to conclude Liability Orders have indeed been made.

Frequently Asked Questions and Requests About the Legality of Council Tax

Can I withhold payment of my council tax bill?

Anyone who withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them. 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 of the land' defenses 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.

Provide an autographed lawful contract with you, with both of our signatures.

Some residents consider that council tax is a contract and requires a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement. As already explained, council tax is a creature of statute, and a contract is not required. Therefore, any reference to the Companies Act, Contracts Act, Bills of Exchange Act or other acts regarding companies or contracts is irrelevant.

A variation of this question is ‘Please provide evidence that I've agreed with you that you can lawfully collect an alleged debt from me.' Again, this is inconsequential, as there hasn't been an exchange of contracts or agreement. Neither is required for the levy and recovery of council tax.

Provide evidence that I am lawfully obliged to pay council tax.

The hierarchy of who is considered to be the liable party is contained in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 c14 Part 1, Chapter 1, Sections 6-9. Individual agreement of this is not necessary.

Provide evidence that you have the lawful and contractual authority to use the legal fictional name of “XXX" for the purposes of making money.

Whether a name is legal or fictional is irrelevant for the purposes of council tax. Council tax is charged and is payable by whoever the liable party is, which is determined by reference to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

Provide confirmation the debt exists lawfully.

The issue of a council tax demand notice (the bill) creates the debt. A signature or agreement from a resident is not necessary for council tax, it is a tax, not a contract.

Provide documents containing a wet ink signature.

As covered above, a signature is not necessary for the billing of council tax and no wet ink signature is mandatory on a court summons either. Previous case law has clarified that the use of a rubber stamp or electronic signature are both valid for the purpose of the court signing a summons.

I'm a Freeman of the Land and am not liable.

Being a Freeman of the Land does not mean someone can choose which laws they adhere to and which to ignore.

Please send us your VAT details/provide a VAT invoice.

It should be noted, Council Tax is deemed outside the scope of VAT and we are unable to provide a VAT invoice.

Please state whether you are a company or a corporation.

Stratford On Avon District Council is a local authority within the public sector.

Please evidence where I have given my consent authorising Stratford On Avon District Council to hold my data.

Under Regulation 8 of the Data Protection Act 2018 the authority does not require consent to process data that is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in exercise of the controllers official for the exercise of a function conferred by an enactment or rule of law. The billing and collection of council tax is conferred on the authority by the legislation stated previously. This is in keeping with Article 6 (c) and (e) of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Provide evidence of which companies Stratford On Avon District Council has shared personal data with.

  • Legal obligation: the processing is necessary for the council tax department to comply with the law (not including contractual obligations), and
  • Public task: the processing is necessary for the council tax department to perform a task in the public interest or for our official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law. That task is to collect money on behalf of the local authority.

    Stratford On Avon District Council complies with all relevant legislation with regard to the billing and collection of council tax. If you believe the authority has acted incorrectly you must follow the dispute processes laid down in that legislation. A subject access request permits you the right to ask about your personal data that is held by an organisation. It is not a process to instigate a dispute or complaint nor is it a process to ask questions about anything other than your personal data.

Provide a true bill that complies with the Bills of exchanges Act 1882.

We follow legislation according to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

If a liability order is granted without my presence, consent and opportunity to bring all of the above to the attention of those concerned and involved, I will have no choice but to seek lawful advice with regards to proceeding with a claim for fraud against those involved.

If you have a dispute regarding the granting of a Liability Order against you then you need to take this up with the Magistrates Court. You will need to explain why you feel Stratford on Avon District Council have not followed the correct process and apply for your liability order to be set aside.

You only accept legitimate communication through a recognised official service and needs to be sent following universal postal union convention rules. You say no other forms of communications will be accepted. This includes bailiff action, using private organisations, hand delivered or electronic notices.

Anyone who ignores council tax communications, or withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them.

Where a liability order was granted, I require a copy of the liability order for which notice of liability order was received.

Following the Magistrates' Court Hearing at which liability orders are granted, a full list of those granted is produced. The list contains the names and addresses of those charge payers against who an order was granted together with the amount they owe. This list is produced electronically, and an electronic copy is kept by both the local authority and the Magistrates' Court in which the orders were granted

The granting of a liability order is a legal process and is not a document and as such cannot be evidenced in the form of a document.

For further information, please contact Revenues:

  • Email:
  • Telephone: 01789 260990

Contact: The Revenues & Benefits team

Last updated on 07/05/2024