Council Tax Demand Notice Documents not apparently compliant with statutory requirements.

Hillingdon Borough Council did not have the information requested.

Dear Hillingdon Borough Council,

I have searched your web site for a document compliant with council tax regulation requiring you to inform discount recipients to correct the statutory assumptions governing the award of the discount. I can find a document which falsely asserts that any change of residents must be reported but this is not true. This document appears to have been sent out as part of the demand notices for this tax year.,

Could you please provide a copy of the information which the law instructs you to send to every single council tax payer with every single demand notice and which you have sent either in this year or previous ones with those demand notices?

Yours faithfully,

K Hodgkinson

CentralServicesFOI, Hillingdon Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear K Hodgkinson

In response to your recent enquiry, we would like to inform you that the
document we send out with each council tax demand is also available on the
council's website. To assist you, we have attached a PDF copy of the
document , Council Tax Guide 2009-10. There are also PDFs for the previous
two years guides at the bottom of the council tax page, weblink:

Yours sincerely

Carol Lee
Freedom of Information Officer
01895 556351

Hillingdon Council routinely monitors the content of emails sent and received
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K Hodgkinson left an annotation ()

The rules setting out the content of demand notices are available here

Hillingdon's notices do not reflect these rules. They make incorrect statements about the personal information which must be sent to Hillingdon and imply that people can be fined for not doing as Hillingdon wants. It is not true, for example, that one has a duty to inform Hillingdon if a person turns 18 even if they are still at school. It is not true that one has a duty to inform Hillingdon if changes that 'may affect' a discount take place. Changes either do or do not affect the discount.

Change of circumstances
If your bill shows a discount or an exemption, you must
inform us immediately of any change in circumstances
which may affect your entitlement to either.

This is not an accurate account, and it does not comform with the requirements under the demand notice regulations.

It would appear from the response from Hillingdon that for at least three years, false information about their legal responsibilities has been sent to Hillingdon residents.

Dear CentralServicesFOI,

Thank you for this response.

Here are the regs on demand notices. None of the notices to which you refer me comply with them.

On the contrary, they incorrectly demand, subject to apparent threats of fines, that taxpayers provide you with third party personal information which is not required, including every single change in who lives in the house and birthdays of people still at school, college and university.

It seems possible that you are demanding this information, with threats, because of the NFI data comparisons, which means you have to investigate a whole new tranche of people in search of fraud including those young people still at school whose parents in all honesty put them on the electoral register. Welcome to democracy, kids!

The NFI also insists that you investigate any house where a resident is on the electoral register but not in council tax data sets. However, falsely informing people that they 'must' provide you with this information would not be an appropriate response to NFI demands for data. It would be more appropropriate to point out to the NFI that their matching is flawed, and based upon requirements for information which your residents have no legal duty to provide and you have no legal right to demand.

Threatening people who do not provide it to you with fines would not be an appropriate method of responding to this data demand from the NFI.

However, one can only conjecture about the reasons why your notices are misleading.

Thank you for this response, even though it does appear to show that you are not operating strictly in accordance with the regs.

Yours sincerely,

K Hodgkinson

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