Council Tax – Legislation, Consent, Contract, and the Law

West Lindsey District Council receives a number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and other communications in relation to the legality of council tax. The information below clarifies the council’s position and explains the basis for the lawful collection of Council Tax.

The Freeman on the Land movement, Peacekeepers Organisation and other similar groups commonly believe that they are bound only by the contracts and laws they consent to however being a 'freeman' does not exempt any person from paying Council Tax. 

The liability to pay Council Tax is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and later regulations.

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 for the benefit of all residents.

Liability for Council Tax does not require consent and any reference to a person not having consented or there not being a contractual relationship with the council has no legal basis.  

Freeman on the land arguments have been considered and ruled against by the courts and it is a requirement to pay the council tax. Failure to pay will result in recovery action being taken and additional costs will be added to the amount owed. In extreme cases this could lead to a prison sentence or the forced sale of your home.

If you have any concerns over the charging of Council Tax, please seek proper legal advice rather than relying on misleading articles and templates online as a defence against Council Tax liability.

Accordion | Council Tax – Legislation, Consent, Contract, and the Law: FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What legislation covers Council Tax?

2. Can I withhold payment of my Council Tax bill?

Liability is determined in accordance with Council Tax legislation and is not dependent upon your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council. Anyone who withholds payment and does not have a suitable defence against their liability will have recovery action taken against them and may result in additional costs being required to be paid as a result.

3. Can the council provide confirmation that the debt exists lawfully?

The issue of a Council Tax Demand Notice (bill) creates the debt. A signature or agreement from a resident is not necessary for Council Tax because it is a tax not a contract.

4. Can the council provide me with the evidence that I have agreed that you can lawfully collect an alleged debt from me?

This is inconsequential as there has not been an exchange of contracts or agreement as neither are required for the levy and recovery of Council Tax.

5. Can you provide me with a true bill that complies with the Bill of Exchanges Act 1882?

We follow legislation according to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, which contain the requirements regarding Council Tax bills.

6. Why has the Council produced the summons?

The council has a legal duty to collect Council Tax and where this is not paid, the council follows the appropriate rules and procedures in relation to the Magistrates Court to properly issue a summons

7. Can the council provide the summons with a wet ink signature or a Court seal?

The Magistrates Courts (Amendment) rules 2019 removed the requirement for a wet ink signature, court stamp or a Court seal on a Court summons.

8. Can you provide me with a copy of the liability order which was granted?

Liability orders are produced as a bulk court list and are granted by the Lincoln Magistrates Court. A full list of all those granted is produced and signed. This list contains the names and addresses of all Council Taxpayers against whom an order was granted together with the amount they owe inclusive of any costs awarded.

9. Can you provide me with a VAT invoice?

We are unable to provide a VAT invoice because Council Tax is deemed outside the scope of VAT.

10. Can you state if the council is a company or a corporation and provide your company number?

West Lindsey District Council is a Local Government Body, established by the Local Government Act 1972 and is not a company created under the Companies Act and therefore does not have a company number.

11. Why are you holding my data under Regulation 8 of the Data Protection Act 2018 when I have not given my consent?

Section 8 of the Data Protection Act 2018, considers the lawfulness of processing and says we can process personal data that is necessary for the reasons listed in the section, which includes the exercise of a function conferred on a person by an enactment of rule of law.

12. Can you provide evidence of which companies West Lindsey District Council has shared personal data with?

Legal obligation: the processing is necessary for the Council Tax department to comply with the law (not including contractual obligations)


Public task: the processing is necessary for the Council Tax department to perform a task in the public interest or for our official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law. That task is to collect money on behalf of the Local Authority.