Freedom on the land
Who pays Council Tax
Council Tax, Freeman on the Land, and similar groups
Very occasionally we get people, such as Freeman on the Land and similar groups who wrongly believe 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.
The Freeman on the Land movement and similar are under the misapprehension that they are only bound by contracts and laws they have consented to.
They should not confuse law relating to contracts and alleged rights under common law with the legislation relation to the administration and collection of council tax.
We do our best to answer all relevant enquires about council tax. We reserve the right to refuse to respond to lengthy spurious enquires that focus on hypothetical arguments that have no legal basis which use our resources at the expense of the taxpayer. This includes letters and notices served on the council’s chief executive with the same misleading reasoning.
Council Tax liability
Liability for council tax is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and the subsequent regulations. It is not contingent upon a person’s consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council.
The legislation that covers council tax is freely available from the Government Legislation website including;
- Local Government Finance Act 1992
- The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992
- The Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011
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. In essence, acts of Parliament are statutes which set out the law; however, if you have questions regarding acts of Parliament or laws, we suggest these should be directed to a legal professional, not the council. You can find details of qualified lawyers in your area from the The Law Society website.
Liability for council tax is determined in accordance with the statutory regulations and liability for this is confirmed by the council tax demand notice issued for each year.
Beware of misleading articles online
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.
Freeman on the land arguments have been considered and ruled against by the courts. For more information see: ‘Freeman on the Land’ jailed for failure to pay council tax.
You have the right to challenge and appeal your council tax bill. Further details can be found at Council Tax Appeals. Any appeal should initially be in writing. You must explain what you are appealing against and give reasons why you are appealing. If you remain dissatisfied, you have the right to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Service.
If you have received 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
On the liability order has been granted a total of £75 costs will be added to your account and the debt will be enforced. 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 test the legality of the order by arranging with His Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service to appear before the High Court to challenge the law itself. This would be something you would need to arrange independently of the council at your own cost. Please note that recovery of council tax owed would not be held during such time (as per Regulation 57 of Section 16 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992).
Anglia Revenues Partnership administer the Revenues & Benefits services on behalf of Breckland Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, East Suffolk Council, Fenland District Council and West Suffolk Council.
Further information regarding Freedom on the Land and other similar groups, including Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the relevant council’s website: