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Council Tax legality

Legality summary

Council tax is a tax paid to your local council for the delivery of local services. It generally needs to be paid in respect of all domestic properties.

As a council, we have a duty to collect council tax. This was introduced by the Local Government Finance Act 1992 with effect from 1 April 1993. This is a statute created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom, and received the assent of the Crown.

Your liability for council tax does not require consent, or the existence of a contractual relationship with your local authority.

The Freeman of the Land movement and similar groups believe that they are only bound by the contracts and laws that they have consented to. Contract law and alleged rights under common law are not the same as legislation relating to the billing and collection of Council Tax.

If you do not pay your council tax on time, we will take legal action to collect the council tax you owe. In extreme cases this could lead to:

If you have received a summons for non-payment of your council tax, you do have the right to attend the court. You will be asked to and offer evidence as to why you aren't liable for the council tax charges. You must also have a legal defence. This defence must tell the Magistrates why you feel that you are not liable to pay the amount due.

We will always try to resolve debt problems at the earliest opportunity. We will tell you as the first instalment has been missed. We will also provide time for benefits and debt advice through referral to advice agencies. We would also encourage our customers to seek any entitlement to council tax support, housing benefit or credits and allowances. please visit Central Government via the Department of Work and Pensions and HMRC.

If you are unable to meet your monthly instalments in full, we would recommend that you pay what you can afford to help reduce the balance. You must contact us immediately if you receive a court summons. We will then discuss an affordable payment arrangement with you.

Council Tax legislation

The legislation that covers Council Tax is freely available at

This advice includes:

Local billing authorities have been collecting council tax in England since 1 April 1993, in line with the above legislation. There is no case law citing this legislation is unlawful.

Acts of Parliaments are Statutes set out the law. If you have questions regarding other Acts of Parliament or laws, these should be directed to a legal professional, not the council.

Common misconceptions regarding Council Tax legality

Common queriesAnswer
Please provide evidence that I am lawfully obliged to pay council tax.

There is a process for determining the order of liability under Section 6-9 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

Council tax is a statutory charge and therefore not contractual.

Please provide evidence that I have agreed to pay Council Tax and provide me with the lawful contract I have with you, with both of our signatures.

Some residents consider that Council Tax is a contract and requires a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement. Council Tax is a statutory charge, and a contract is not required. 

Any reference to the Companies Act, Contracts Act, Bills of Exchange Act or other acts regarding companies or contracts is irrelevant to your council tax liability.

Provide evidence that you have the lawful and contractual authority to use the legal fictional name of "XXX" for the purposes of making money.

Council tax is charged and is payable by whoever the liable party is. This is determined under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

Whether a name is legal or fictional is irrelevant for the purposes of Council Tax.

Provide confirmation the debt exists lawfully.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. 
Provide a bill that complies with the Bills of Exchange Act 1882.Council tax bills are issued in accordance with the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.
I am Freeman of the Land and I am not liable to pay Council Tax.Considering yourself to be a Freeman of the Land does not mean you can choose which laws you adhere to and which law you can choose to ignore.
Provide documents containing a wet ink signature.

A signature is not necessary for the billing and collection of council tax. A wet ink signature is not mandatory on a court summons.

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.

I won't accept correspondence that isn't signed, agreed with or I haven't got a contract with.Anyone who ignores Council Tax communications or withholds their payment, will have recovery action taken against them. There is no requirement for your consent, agreement, or a contract to be liable for Council Tax.