Skip to main content

Liability, legislation and general information about Council Tax

Council Tax pays for the services in your area. Without this, we could not provide essential services or help those in need. 

Our authority to charge Council Tax comes from the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This statute, created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received Crown assent and subsequent statutory regulations, set out a local authority’s rights to demand Council Tax to fund services and who is liable to pay.

Your liability to pay

You do not have a choice of whether you are liable for Council Tax, as liability is determined by statutory law.

Your liability for Council Tax does not require your consent or a contractual relationship with the council. If you have any concerns over Council Tax, please seek proper legal advice, rather than relying on internet sources, before withholding payments.

Legislation 

The legislation that covers Council Tax is freely available from the government website www.legislation.gov.uk, including:-

How to correctly challenge (appeal) your Council Tax bill

If you feel you should not be liable for Council Tax, or if you think your property is exempt, the amount charged is incorrect, that any Council Tax Support is calculated incorrectly or if a penalty has been applied incorrectly, you have the right of appeal. That right and the process is set out in the legislation.

To appeal you should write, giving your reasons, to housingbenefits@waverley.gov.uk. We will then consider your appeal. If you remain dissatisfied, you have a further right of appeal to an independent tribunal within two months of being notified of our decision (or two months from your initial appeal if no decision is made within that time).

Making an appeal does not allow you to withhold payment or part payment of Council Tax. However, if successful, any overpayment will be allowed or refunded. 

You also have the right, in some circumstances, to challenge your Council Tax band.

Acts and Statutes

Some customers have challenged whether Acts and Statutes are an obligation on them, asked about the difference between a Statute and Law and similar questions regarding legal matters. Acts of Parliaments are Statutes which set out the law. The council exists to provide essential services to residents.

The link above has a section entitled Council Tax in England. It explains:

  • What council tax is

  • Who must pay it

  • How it is calculated

  • Whether someone can appeal against their council tax banding

  • The options available to councils to recover outstanding payments if council tax is not paid

  • Discounts and exemptions

If you have questions regarding other Acts or laws, these should be directed to a legal professional, not the council.

Requests for information about Council Tax and Business Rates

Before making a request for information, see our guide to information we publish and follow the process of logging an FOI request.

A Freedom of Information request (FOI) is about data the council holds. Questions as to whether you are bound by Acts, Statutes etc do not constitute an FOI. 

If you have a question about liability, please follow the appeal process above. We will direct you to seek independent professional legal advice if you question whether you are bound by UK law.

Our responsibility to charge and recover Council Tax

The council has a legal responsibility to charge and recover Council Tax.

Some specific queries we’ve been asked:

Provide a signed lawful contract with you, with both of our signatures.

Some residents consider that Council Tax is a legal contract and requires signatures indicating an agreement. As mentioned above, Council Tax is covered by statute, and a contract is not required. Therefore, any reference to the Companies Act, Contracts Act, Bills of Exchange Act or other acts regarding companies or contracts is irrelevant.

A variation of this question is ‘Please provide evidence that I’ve agreed for you to lawfully collect an alleged debt from me.’ 

Again, this is inconsequential, as there hasn’t been an exchange of contracts or agreement. Neither is required for the levy and recovery of Council Tax.

Provide evidence that I am lawfully obliged to pay Council Tax.

The hierarchy of who is considered to be the liable party is contained in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 c14 Part 1, Chapter 1, Section 6-9. Individual agreement is not necessary. 

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

Whether a name is legal or fictional is irrelevant for the purposes of Council Tax. Council Tax is charged and is payable by whoever is the liable party, which is determined by reference to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

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 as it is a tax, not a contract.

I am a Freeman of the Land and am not liable.

Claiming to be a Freeman of the Land does not mean someone can choose which laws they observe and which they prefer to ignore.

You do not have my consent to process my personal data and so cannot collect Council Tax from me.

We do not need an individual’s consent to process their personal data if another lawful basis exists under the UK GDPR (UK General Data Protection Regulation). When we can process personal data without consent


We do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about Council Tax. However, in order to help our residents in the most effective way, we reserve the right not to respond to lengthy, spurious enquiries or hypothetical arguments which use the council’s limited resources at the expense of other taxpayers.