Benefit of backdated council tax liability

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    We have a case where property was excempt for council tax because mother was a student, but have just found out that son became 18 in July 2005 and Council Tax Dept have just made him liable from his 18th birthday in July 2005 and issued him with a bill from this date.

    Son has put a claim in for CTB within a month of receiving the bill, but how far can we consider going back with the CTB. Can we only consider going back 52 weeks from the date he has requested backdated benefit i.e. Oct 2005 or can we go back further because he has only just been made aware that he has a liability.

    He has had various circumstances in respect of his income e.g. in work for part of it and in receit of JSA(IB) for part.

    Any advice would be appreciated.


    I find it hard to believe that he is either the sole or joint owner/tenant – should he be liable at all?

    If she is the owner or tenant by herself, and he is a non-dep (which you would normally expect when the residents are a parent and teenage child), she should be liable for 75% tax with the possibility of a 2AR claim for up to 25% before April 06 and up to 75% (of the full pre-discount tax) since April. Unless she has younger children, in which case main CTB would also be available subject to her income.

    That doesn’t solve your backdating problem – it just displaces it to her. I think the answer is that the backdating rules do not properly cater for retrospective liability in excess of 52 weeks and you can only go back to October 05.


    Shouldn’t this go back to your CT office with a request to amend liability back to the mother?

    I don’t see how the charge can be transferred legally to the son as he was never in the hierarchy, was he? Unless, of course, the mother is away at Uni and this is what they’ve acted on, therefore identifying son as the liable person at the age of 18, but that doesn’t seem right to me.

    Perhaps you should hold making a decision until you know what your CT office is going to do.

    Do I know what I'm doing? The jury's out on that........................


    Thanks for your responses – we have double checked with our CT department and apparently the regulations changed at April and the liability for son is correct!

    I think we will consider backdating 52 from the date of the request as normal.

    Kevin D

    Change? In CTAX hierachy rules? News to me….

    It would be much appreciated if the changed legislation could be identified.



    What changed (a while back I think, was it really only April 06???), as far as I am aware, was that a student cannot be jointly liable with a non-student: if all/both the people at the top of the hierarchy are a mixture of students and non-students, only the non-student(s) can be liable.

    But in this case, unless it’s an odd sort of household, the student is top of the hierarchy on her own. If anyone is going to be liable, she is. As the only 18+ resident she was exempt completely, now there is another 18+ resident but he doesn’t have enough of a stake in the property to be liable for CT.

    Result: property not exempt, student liable, full 2AR available after April 06, only 25% 2AR available before.


    Totally agree with Peter.

    The April 2004 changes did not quite achieve what some people might have hoped i.e. that students would never be liable.

    Tell your council tax bods that S6 LGFA still applies the heirarchy. The amendment in the LGA03 only removed the joint and several liability of a student so, as Peter correctly states, if the student would be solely liable because of their place in the heirarchy they remain so.

    Try showing this reply to them to explain why they are possibly wrong.

    S6(4) now reads

    Subsection (3) above shall not apply as respects any day on which one or more of the persons there mentioned fall to be disregarded for the purposes of discount by virtue of paragraph 2 (the severely mentally impaired) or 4 (students etc.) of Schedule 1 to this Act and one or more of them do not; and liability to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day shall be determined as follows—

    (a) if only one of those persons does not fall to be so disregarded, he shall be solely liable;

    (b) if two or more of those persons do not fall to be so disregarded, they shall each be jointly and severally liable.

    S6(3) states

    (3) Where, in relation to any chargeable dwelling and any day, two or more persons fall within the first paragraph of subsection (2) above to apply, they shall each be jointly and severally liable to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day.

    S6(2) is the heirarchy.

    There are 3 possible outcomes.

    If the son is sole tenant/owner (unlikely) he falls highest in the heirarchy and would be liable.

    If he is joint tenant/owner with his mother then S6(3) applies and he becomes liable with her. However, as she is a student S6(4) applies and she is removed from the J&S so he would be solely liable.

    If the mother is sole tenant/owner only S6(2) applies and, as she falls highest in the heirarchy, she would be liable. S6(3) and, therefore, S6(4) would not apply. End result exactly as described by Peter.

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