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The government have published a plain English guide to council tax. It gives advice on how your Council Tax bill is set, and how you can check that you are not paying more than you should. You can read the guide on the Government website via this link.
The council is required to bill in the name of the person liable for the Council Tax. The liable person is defined in the Local Government Finance Act of 1992. Paragraph 6 of this act states:
“Persons liable to pay Council Tax
1. The person who is liable to pay Council Tax in respect of any chargeable dwelling and any day is the person who falls within the first paragraph of subsection (2) below to apply, taking paragraph (a) of that subsection first, paragraph (b) next, and so on.
2. A person falls within this subsection in relation to any chargeable dwelling and any day if, on that day:
a. he is a resident of the dwelling and has a freehold interest in the whole or any part of it
b. he is such a resident and has a leasehold interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling which is not inferior to another such interest held by another such resident
c. he is both such a resident and a statutory or secure tenant of the whole or any part of the dwelling
d. he is such a resident and has a contractual license to occupy the whole or any part of the dwelling
e. he is such a resident; or
f. he is the owner of the dwelling."
Any contract that the landlord or letting agent makes directly with the liable party cannot override this Act.
Therefore the Council Tax bill must be in the correct name; however, should the occupier wish this to be posted direct to the letting agent or landlord because they have a contract with them, this can be arranged as long as the request is put in writing. The responsibility for it to be paid still remains with the liable party.
Should the landlord or letting agent make payments it is also essential to point out that if the account was to fall into credit, for example due to moving out of the property, a discount being applied or Local Council Tax Reduction being granted, this credit must be refunded to the liable taxpayer irrespective of who made the payment, and not to a third party such as the landlord or agent, unless the taxpayer specifically requests in writing that the council refund them.
For further information, please contact Revenues: