Privacy notice - Revenues
Wiltshire Council has a duty to protect personal information, and will process personal data in accordance with the current Data Protection legislation. This page gives you information about the data we hold about you, how it is used, your rights in relation to this, and the safeguards that are in place to protect it.
Council Tax and your liability
Wiltshire Council, in common with a number of other local authorities, has received a number of letters from individuals who claim not to be subject to council taxation. As a consequence the Council is providing the following information and advice.
The Freeman-of-the-Land movement, and similar groups, broadly believe that they are bound only by statute laws they consent to. Being a 'freeman' does not exempt any person from the liability to pay council tax.
The liability to pay council tax falls under the Local Government Finance Act 1992, and subsequent statutory regulations, which sets out local authorities' rights to demand Council Tax to fund services, and who is liable to pay. This is a statute created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown.
Liability to pay Council Tax is set by The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. This gives local authorities the right to demand Council Tax which is used to fund essential local services.
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.
Council Tax is not optional and not something you consent to, it does not require the existence of a contractual relationship with the council. Any such assertion to the contrary is incorrect and there is no legal basis upon which to make this argument. If you are liable to pay Council Tax, you must make your payments. Anyone who withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them. Should a Council Tax summons be issued, and you would like to dispute the summons on a valid basis, you can choose to attend the court hearing where you will be able to put your case forward to the magistrate(s).
There are many misleading articles and templates available on the internet regarding the legality of Council Tax. Anyone relying on these for advice should exercise caution and seek proper legal advice before trying to use 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, false enquiries, that focus on hypothetical arguments that have no basis in statute, and which use our resources at the expense of other tax payers.
The legislation that covers Council Tax is available from the government website legislation.gov.uk including:
- Local Government Finance Act 1992
- Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992
- Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011
Data Subjects' Information and Privacy Notice
Wiltshire Council is the data controller for the personal information you provide in order to establish your liability for council tax, non-domestic rates or any sundry or miscellaneous income due to the council.
For the purposes of Revenue Administration at Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Council is the data controller. Initial contact may be made by phone on 0300 456 0109, in person or, in writing at County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our DPO may be contacted as above or via e-mail at InformationGovernance@wiltshire.gov.uk.
In order to collect council tax, non-domestic rates and sundry debts Wiltshire Council Revenues and Benefits Service holds information about you in its capacity as data controller for the proper handling of matters relating to the administration and collection of income due. This includes the need to process your data to contact you and calculate and issue accurate bills. The council will process your personal information for the following purposes:
- to create and maintain accounts and records
- administering the billing and collection of taxes and other revenue including benefits, discounts, exemptions and grants
- data matching under local and national fraud initiatives
- carrying out surveys
- promoting the services we provide
The legal basis for our use of your personal data is to ensure compliance with a legal obligation to which the Council is subject, in the case of council tax and non-domestic rates, this includes the gathering and maintenance of information in order to comply with the Local Government Finance Acts of 1988 and 1992 and Miscellaneous Income provisions and any subsequent legislation supporting those Acts
All employees and subsidiaries who may have access to your personal data are obliged to respect the confidentiality of your personal data.
Where necessary and lawful, or when required by legal obligation, we may share information within the council, but we will not share your data with any other third party except where required to carry out duties and functions as a local authority and are required or permitted by law to do so.
We may share your information with:
- debt collection and tracing agencies
- local and central government
- ombudsman and regulatory authorities
- courts and tribunals
- police forces
- housing associations and landlords
- customs and excise
- courts, prisons
- legal representatives, defence solicitors
- law enforcement and prosecuting authorities
- service providers
- survey and research organisations
Wiltshire Council will process your personal data for the above purposes for no longer than necessary. Retention periods have been determined for different categories of information. The information processed for the above purposes will be kept for six years from the date of the last recording about you.
Your rights are set out in the current Data Protection legislation and include:
- the right to access your personal information, to request rectification or erasure of certain personal information and to object to processing in certain circumstances.
- the right to withdraw any consent you may have given to process your personal information.
- the right to complain to the Information Commissioner if you feel we are processing your personal information unlawfully.
- the right to restrict processing activity in certain circumstances.
- the right to object to certain types of processing activity
The information you are giving us is not a statutory or contractual requirement; or a requirement necessary to enter into a contract. You are however obliged to provide information to ensure the accuracy of any bill the council may issue. In our role of tax collection the council is exempt therefore from some of the Articles set out in Section 8 above where it would prejudice the actions of the council and prevent the assessment or collection of tax if necessary information was not provided.
Wiltshire Council does not use automated decision-making in respect to your personal information. We will provide you with an explanation of the decision-making criteria and significance or likely consequences of such data processing.