Home owners receive council tax demand from 1997

Burnley Town Hall, by Peter Seavers
Burnley Town Hall, by Peter Seavers

Burnley Council are sending demand notices for alleged council tax dating back in some cases to 1997, 18 years!

Some claims amount to one day’s alleged council tax of 47p on properties which may have been empty, undergoing major refurbishment, let out or even sold.

Nevertheless, with minimum details to back up their claims, home owners, including landlords, are being sent claim notices for the first time and expected to trawl through past records over many years to identify if these claims are still valid.

Even HMRC generally only backdate their claims to six years, yet Burnley Council think they are justified in issuing claims for possible arrears going back 18 years and expect home owners to offer a defence or pay up without being given any prior notice a claim ever existed. The council are also automatically deducting these alleged arrears from any current council tax credits home owners may have.

Surely some of these claims for small amounts of money, even if correct, are costing the council more to chase up than to write off. These measures appear desperate and go too far. The concern now is some home owners may simply pay up regardless, even if they feel the debt is not owned by them, simply because their records don’t go back up to 18 years, they fear getting into debt or receiving a negative credit rating, or haven’t the time to pursue a claim for 47p?

Council tax payer