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Singletons' Homes Inspected In Council Tax Crackdown

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SINGLETONS who illegally claim council tax discounts are being targeted by cash-strapped finance bosses.

Almost 40,000 people across Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and the Cotswolds will have their living arrangements inspected in a local government revenue-boosting drive.

Accountants say the same exercise in other areas has revealed substantial amounts of rates being dodged by people fraudulently claiming the 25 per cent reduction.

Cheltenham Borough Council director of resources Mark Sheldon said: "The council has a legal and social responsibility to make sure it collects all the council tax so everyone in Cheltenham gets value for money.

"Any discounts reduce the amount of revenue we are able to collect."

Anybody found to be illegally claiming could be fined £70 or be prosecuted. More than 19,000 people in Cheltenham claim the discount.

That means the average person who is living in a band D home and pays an annual fee of £1,481.20 would then receive a discount of £370.

Tewkesbury Borough Council's revenues and benefits manager Richard Horton said: "We want to ensure we have a fair council tax system in place, and that eligible people receive a council tax discount."

The average taxpayer falsely claiming to be single there would be £347 better off.

There are more than 7,500 people claiming the discount.

Cotswold District Council strategic director for corporate services Frank Wilson said: "Any discounts that we provide reduce the amount of revenue, and this obviously affects the funding of services."

The average single person would get £362 off if they dodged payment.

The move is part of a "sweep" by all six district councils, police and the County Council. County public bodies all have seen Government budget cuts.

Cheltenham singleton Will Wood, 28, who previously claimed the discount, said: "I think it's disappointing if people are claiming it when they aren't entitled to it.

"It's unfair on those who do pay what they owe."

There's going to be lot of this coming. Fish, barrel, etc...

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A £70 fine for claiming the discount? Is that all?

They should be made to pay double.

Council tax is the worst of all taxes IMHO, along with business rates. They restrict the ability of people to live as they wish and business to start and run cheaply.

They are however the hardest to avoid, which makes them ideal for cash strapped government to pick on.

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Council tax is a joke.

1/4 of it is paid for with council tax benefit.

Council tax benefit is a large chunk of a persons dole money. When you chuck in landlord benefit, the amount of dole a doley gets to survive on, leaves ASDA only a 1/3 of the unemployed cash cow benefit pie.

It should be a tax levied upon property owners. Not renters.

Especially renters whom are renting off of B2Letters with housing benefit.

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There's going to be lot of this coming. Fish, barrel, etc...

I don't blame them for wanting to crack down - esp. since we pay a bloody fortune in CT here - one of the highest in the country - but how is this going to work? Nosy parkers from the council demanding to see the bedrooms, opening drawers and wardrobes to see whether there are two different lots of clothing, or what? Who on earth is going to let them in?

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I had a letter just before Easter from my local Council informing me that, wait for this, if I did not return the form by early May they would automatically assume that I was now in a couple and discontinue my single discount re Council Tax.

Cheeky sods.

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I had a letter just before Easter from my local Council informing me that, wait for this, if I did not return the form by early May they would automatically assume that I was now in a couple and discontinue my single discount re Council Tax.

Cheeky sods.

I wrote to my Council to tell them i didn't need the 25% single discount as my circumstances had changed, i have waited for the revised bill, only to get a demand for payment for the previous amount.

Useless sods :)

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I had a letter just before Easter from my local Council informing me that, wait for this, if I did not return the form by early May they would automatically assume that I was now in a couple and discontinue my single discount re Council Tax.

Cheeky sods.

Yup. Sheffield City council do this too. They cancel your discount every financial year, and you have to reapply for it every April.

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Council tax is a joke.

1/4 of it is paid for with council tax benefit.

Council tax benefit is a large chunk of a persons dole money. When you chuck in landlord benefit, the amount of dole a doley gets to survive on, leaves ASDA only a 1/3 of the unemployed cash cow benefit pie.

It should be a tax levied upon property owners. Not renters.

Especially renters whom are renting off of B2Letters with housing benefit.

And who do you think will pay that tax?

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Council Tax is a joke. It has to be paid for out of already taxed income. So that's the equivalent of £2,350 a year for my family in a modest 3 bed semi.

The proles are unhappy and only just compliant as they still see themselves as asset rich. It will be a bitter pill to swallow when their house value comes crashing down to ?maybe sub £100k! When they put two and two together they'll realise that the monthly c.tax will be higher than the capital repayment element of their mortgage.

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A £70 fine for claiming the discount? Is that all?

Pathetic really isn't it ?

The saving of falsely claiming far outweighs the penalty.. if anything I think this article is going to encourage more people to save £370 when it'll only cost them £70 if they get caught.

Edited by exiges

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And who do you think will pay that tax?

If it's being rented out, the renter.

If owner, the owner.

If owned for the purpose of renting out, but unlet. The owner. NO discount.

Do away with council tax benefit completely, a tax-benefit is madness as it is. Save loads in admin. And greater ability to force rents down by using housing benefit.

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Council Tax is a joke. It has to be paid for out of already taxed income. So that's the equivalent of £2,350 a year for my family in a modest 3 bed semi.

The proles are unhappy and only just compliant as they still see themselves as asset rich. It will be a bitter pill to swallow when their house value comes crashing down to ?maybe sub £100k! When they put two and two together they'll realise that the monthly c.tax will be higher than the capital repayment element of their mortgage.

And your right, council tax should be tax deductible.

I dare say council employees should get a 10% discount too.

If you work for ASDA you get a discount at ASDA, and supermarkets are generally ruthless employers.

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Why is every council employing people collecting and administering council tax anyway?

Every council does exactly the same thing and will have an office sending out bills and reminders - the whole thing should be centralised and automated. Each branch of Barclays doesn't print out Barclaycard statements, stuff them in envelopes and send them to local people.

These are the areas where massive sums can be saved not d1cking around with this sort of thing which just gets the backs up of the 90% of honest people and probably does nothing to deter the dishonest.*

*However, post bank bailouts I'm intensely relaxed about people not paying any tax - from a plumber working cash in hand, to even Philip Green and particularly anyone under 30.

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I wrote to my Council to tell them i didn't need the 25% single discount as my circumstances had changed, i have waited for the revised bill, only to get a demand for payment for the previous amount.

Useless sods :)

:lol: That made me laugh. ;)

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Why is every council employing people collecting and administering council tax anyway?

If they could construct an organisation that didn't need a zillion local managers, deleting the local council and doing everything on a bigger scale would make more sense.

Some councils are joining forces... but have yet to see any decent cuts in staff levels.

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my CT in the late nineties was £340 for the same hosue.now it's £1200....................

Thats extortionate, id feel shortchanged paying 0p

Edited by georgia o'keeffe

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Why is every council employing people collecting and administering council tax anyway?

Every council does exactly the same thing and will have an office sending out bills and reminders - the whole thing should be centralised and automated. Each branch of Barclays doesn't print out Barclaycard statements, stuff them in envelopes and send them to local people.

These are the areas where massive sums can be saved not d1cking around with this sort of thing which just gets the backs up of the 90% of honest people and probably does nothing to deter the dishonest.*

*However, post bank bailouts I'm intensely relaxed about people not paying any tax - from a plumber working cash in hand, to even Philip Green and particularly anyone under 30.

Trading standards in Wales are currently in a similar position. A recent report made reference that trading standards could be operated on a regional/national basis. All 22 LA's were asked to respond (read managers)to the report by the Welsh assembly government on their views as to whether it could be operated on that level. 21 responded that it should be kept local. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

However, if you speak to front line officers there is a general consensus that a national/regional operation would benefit consumers and would be operationally far more effective.

Edited by Mr. Miyagi

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Yup. Sheffield City council do this too. They cancel your discount every financial year, and you have to reapply for it every April.

Are you sure about that? I can't remember the last time I had to apply for single persons discount.

This year's bill shows -25% as usual.

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If the council tax was fair then so called "singletons" would get a 50% discount rather than 25%

The public were up in arms at the height of the poll tax. The government simply tinkered with it a bit and changed its name to Council Tax and then everyone went "Oh ... all right then...carry on :rolleyes:

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what annoys me is that option B which revolves around cutting inefficiencies,non jobs,pay,perks,sickness etc never gets aired.in Leics we have 8 councils,all of which have HR depts,techies,planners etc etc................now why don't we have one and sack maybe 50% of the pay roll......oh..oh but that's not an option because tony woodley will wet his pants at losing his massive hosue.

What, do a proper job of it that'll affect themselves instead of going after easy targets that they've no reason to care about?

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Council tax is a joke.

1/4 of it is paid for with council tax benefit.

Council tax benefit is a large chunk of a persons dole money. When you chuck in landlord benefit, the amount of dole a doley gets to survive on, leaves ASDA only a 1/3 of the unemployed cash cow benefit pie.

It should be a tax levied upon property owners. Not renters.

But then it would be IMPOSSIBLE to implement council tax benefits and everybody would have to pay the full amount (bundled into their rent)

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