Legislation and General Information

Liability, legislation and general information about Council Tax

Council Tax pays for the services in your area. With this, the Council provides essential services and helps those in need.

Our authority to charge Council Tax comes from the Local Government Finance Act 1992. It sets out a local authority’s rights to charge Council Tax to fund services and who is liable to pay.

Council Tax is collected by Gloucester City Council on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Police Authority and Quedgeley Town Council.

Your liability to pay

You do not have a choice of whether you are liable for Council Tax, as liability is determined by statutory law. If you are the liable person you are required to pay Council Tax.

We understand that the Freedom on 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.

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

Our responsibility to charge and recover Council Tax

The provision of local government and its functions are contained within the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) (legislation.gov.uk website).

The Council is responsible for charging and recovering Council Tax, but this does not mean it introduces a fiduciary relationship.

Current legislation

The liability to pay Council Tax falls under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and later regulations. This is a statute created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown.

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

Council Tax queries

We will try to answer all reasonable Council Tax enquiries.

We will not respond to enquiries that focus on the following:

  • ancient, historic, or outdated legislation
  • requests for contracts requiring the payment of Council Tax
  • hypothetical arguments which do not appear to have any legal basis
  • unfounded notices, appointments or orders which have no grounds in law
  • wilful misinterpretation of the law
  • freeman on the land, Halsbury’s Laws of England, sovereign citizens, strawman, etc. type correspondence

While we do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about Council Tax, we reserve the right to refuse to answer correspondence that focuses on unfounded arguments that have no basis in statute which use our resources at the expense of other taxpayers.

If you have concerns over the charging of Council Tax, please seek proper legal advice rather than relying on internet sources. 

How to correctly appeal your Council Tax bill

You have the right to appeal a decision regarding your Council Tax. Further information is held here Your Council Tax bill

Making an appeal does not allow you to withhold payment of Council Tax. However, any overpayment will be refunded if your appeal is successful.

Questions and Answers

Is it lawful for Gloucester City Council to charge Council Tax?

Yes, it is.  Council Tax was introduced and is administered under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 s1(1) by a “billing authority”.  s1(2) defines “billing authority”, in relation to England, to include a district council.  Further powers are granted by the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

Can you provide confirmation the debt exists lawfully, or I have agreed that you can collect the alleged debt from me?

Council Tax was introduced and is administered under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 by a “billing authority”. Liability for council tax is determined in accordance with the statutory legislation and liability for this is confirmed by the council tax demand notice issued each year. A signature or agreement is not necessary for the levy and recovery of Council Tax. It is a tax, not a contract.

Can you provide an autographed, wet ink signature or signed lawful contract with you, with both of our autographs or signatures?

Council Tax is raised and governed by statute, and a contract or signed agreement is not required. Therefore, any reference to the following is irrelevant:

Companies Act; Contracts Act; Bills of Exchange Act; Maritime law; Magna Carta; Coronation Oath Act 1688; other acts regarding companies or contracts.

Can you provide evidence that I am lawfully obliged to pay Council Tax or Prove that I am liable to pay?

The hierarchy of who is 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 to prove liability.

I’m a Freeman on the Land and am not liable.

The Freeman on the Land movement and similar groups, commonly believe that they are bound only by statute laws they consent to. Being a ‘freeman’ or associating with similar beliefs does not mean people can choose which laws they adhere to and which to ignore does not exempt any person from paying Council Tax.

Can you provide evidence that you have the lawful and contractual authority to use the legal fictional name of “XXX” for the purposes of making money or i: a living person and am not liable  or i: am not the legal fictional name of “XXX” but am the trustee for the legal fictional name of “XXX” and am not liable?

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.

Acts and statues

Some customers have asked whether acts and statutes apply to them, about the difference between a statute and law and other similar questions regarding legal matters. An Act of Parliament (also called a statute) is a law made in the UK Parliament. If you have questions about Acts of Parliament or laws, these should be directed to a legal professional, not the council.

Sometimes people are convinced that using an archaic law means they don't have to pay council tax. There are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of council tax, and anyone relying on these 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.

Is Gloucester Council a corporate entity?

Yes, it is.  Pursuant to the Local Government Act 1972 s2(3), Gloucester Council is a body corporate being the council for the district - a district council.  The naming of the council was provided under powers granted by LGA1972 Schedule 3 Para 1(2) by The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973 (SI 1973 No. 551).

Does a DUNS number mean anything?

No.  A DUNS number does not mean Gloucester City Council is not a council, it is simply a reference.  To argue that a DUNS number means Gloucester City is not a council would be the same as arguing a postcode, a phone number or a bank account number meant we are not a council.

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

Council Tax is deemed outside the scope of VAT and therefore no VAT invoice is required.

I have not received the answer to my questions or non-response is agreement

We will not respond to unreasonable or unfounded enquiries that waste the limited resources of the Council. Our decision not to respond is not agreement or acceptance of such unreasonable or unfounded positions.

What if I do not pay?

If you do not pay your Council Tax we are required by law to follow statutory procedures to recover the debt using council tax enforcement. 

If you are having trouble paying, please contact us immediately and we may be able to come to a payment arrangement that you can afford.

Why is the summons issued by the Council and not the court or the Magistrate’s Court is not a real court?

The Council, as the billing authority, makes complaint to the Clerk to the Justices/Justice of the Peace by taking to the court a list of all persons against whom we wish to apply to the court for a liability order. If the Clerk to the Justices or the Justice of the Peace agrees that the complaint is valid, they authorise the issuing of the summonses in respect of persons on the complaint list. The billing authority then produces and serves the court summonses on behalf of the court.

The Magistrate's Court acts pursuant to its powers in the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980. Any questions regarding their powers should be directed to the court of issue.

What is the lawful basis for processing personal data relating to the administration of Council Tax?

For the processing of personal data based on Local Government Finance Act 1992 s1(1) the relevant lawful basis are:

  • UK General Data Protection Regulations Article 6(1)(c) ‘Legal Obligation’, and
  • UK General Data Protection Regulations Article 6(1)(e) ‘Public Task’ as supplemented by Data Protection Act 2018 s8(c)

You can find out more about this, including your rights in relation to our processing of your personal data, please refer to our Privacy Notice

Further council tax information

If you receive a summons

You have the right to appear before the magistrates (justices) and provide evidence as to why the court should not grant a liability order. The valid defences are:

  • The amount has not been demanded in accordance with the regulations
  • Bills have been issued too late
  • Instalments have not been calculated in accordance with the regulations
  • The amount has been paid or
  • He or she is not the person named on the summons
  • The level of charge is not in accordance with the sum set by the council

If a liability order has been granted

Once a liability order has been granted and the magistrates have made an order for costs, the costs will be added to your account and the debt will be enforced.

It should be noted that the magistrates are obliged to award ‘reasonable costs’. The level of costs will therefore be linked to the amount of time and effort the council has had to incur in making the application. If this includes large volumes of correspondence and requests for information under the auspices of a Freeman on the Land ‘defence’ or similar, then it is likely that this will cause the costs applied for to be higher in these individual cases.

The enforcement actions which can be used are:

  • Issue an attachment of earning order
  • Request the Department of Work and Pensions to take deductions from relevant benefits paid
  • Use enforcement agents
  • Apply for a charging order
  • Commence bankruptcy proceedings
  • Apply to the magistrate’s court for a warrant with a view to committing you to prison

If you consider that the liability order was not obtained within the law, you have the right to appeal the order by way of judicial review in the High Court. This would be something you would need to arrange independently of the council at your own cost.