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Contract and Freeman of the land information

Council Tax is a tax local authorities charge to raise money to pay for their services.

How liability for Council Tax is determined

Liability for Council Tax is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and the subsequent regulations. 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.

The legislation that covers Council Tax is freely available from the Government Legislation website:

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 give local authorities the right to demand Council Tax which is used to fund essential local services.

Some residents have questioned whether they are obliged to abide by Acts and Statutes 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.

Contract information in relation to Council Tax

Liability to pay Council Tax is not a legal contract and does not require a signature indicating an agreement. As mentioned above, Council Tax is statute, therefore, any reference to the Companies Act, Contracts Act, Bills of Exchange Act or other acts regarding companies or contracts is immaterial.

The issue of a Council Tax Demand Notice creates the debt. The Magistrates’ Courts (Amendment) Rules 2019 removed the requirement for a signature on a Court summons. Previous case law has clarified that the use of a rubber stamp or an electronic signature are both valid for the purpose of the court signing a summons, a wet signature is not required.

Freeman of the land

Any reference to a person considering themselves to be a Freeman of the Land is irrelevant for Council Tax purposes, you are still liable to pay Council Tax. 

Council Tax recovery

Anyone who withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them. In extreme cases this could lead to committal proceedings. For more Information, visit Council Tax recovery.

Council Tax appeals

You can only appeal against your Council Tax liability on the following grounds:

  • you are not the resident or owner
  • your property should be exempt
  • we have made a mistake in calculating your bill
  • you should be entitled to a discount or relief

Find out how to appeal against your Council Tax charge by visiting How do I appeal?