Council Tax: legislation and legality frequently asked questions

Council Tax - legislation and legality frequently asked questions.

The legislation that covers Council Tax is available on the legislation website including:

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

Council Tax is a Statutory Tax levied on occupiers (and some owners) of dwellings within the council's area and not a direct charge for the services we provide nor is it a direct charge for individual services received. The amount of Council Tax collected helps enable the Council to provide services for the benefit of the community as a whole. 

The Freeman of the Land movement and similar groups commonly believe that people are only bound by the contracts and laws they have consented to. However, contract law and alleged rights under common law are not the same as legislation relating to the administration and collection of Council Tax.

Your liability for council tax is not dependent on, and does not require, your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council. Any such assertion to the contrary is incorrect and there is no legal basis upon which to make this argument.

Periodically we have queries from people who are convinced that using an archaic law means they don't have to pay Council Tax and there are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of council tax. Anyone looking at these for advice should exercise caution and seek proper legal advice before using them as a defence against council tax liability based on contract, consent and common law

You do not have a choice as to whether you are liable for Council Tax and being a 'freeman' does not exempt anyone from paying Council Tax. Anyone who withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them. 

We have provided above the legislation that authorises councils to charge Council Tax and although we will endeavour to answer all relevant Council Tax enquiries, we will not respond to lengthy enquiries that focus on ancient legislation or hypothetical arguments that have no basis in statute which use our resources at the expense of other taxpayers. If you have concerns over the charging of your Council Tax, please seek your own proper legal advice.

Below are some previous questions and requests we have received regarding the legality of Council Tax:

Provide an autographed lawful contract with you, with both of our signatures. 

Some residents consider that Council Tax is a contract and requires a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement. As already explained, 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 with you that you can 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, Sections 6-9. Individual agreement of this 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 the liable party is, 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, it is a tax, not a contract. 

Provide documents containing a wet ink signature. 

As covered above, a signature is not necessary for the billing of Council Tax and no wet ink signature is mandatory on a court summons either. Previous case law has clarified that the use of a rubber stamp or electronic signature are both valid for the purpose of the court signing a summons. 

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

Being a Freeman of the Land does not mean someone can choose which laws they adhere to and which they ignore. 

Freeman on the land arguments have been considered and ruled against by the courts.

We will take recovery action against all liable parties who have not paid their Council Tax.

In extreme cases this could even lead to committal proceedings, or even a prison sentence, as in the Manchester Magistrates’ court vs McKenzie (2015) case, where an individual who attempted to use similar ‘freeman on the land’ defences in court ended up in prison for 40 days. 

Please send us your VAT details/provide a VAT invoice 

It should be noted, Council Tax is deemed outside the scope of VAT and we are unable to provide a VAT invoice. 

Please state whether you are a company or a corporation. 

The London Borough of Sutton Council is a local authority within the Public Sector and does not have a company number. 

Provide a true bill that complies with the Bills of exchanges Act 1882. 

We follow legislation according to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992  

You only accept legitimate communication through a recognised official service and needs to be sent following universal postal union convention rules. You say no other forms of communications will be accepted. This includes bailiff action, using private organisations, hand delivered or electronic notices. 

Anyone who ignores Council Tax communications or withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them.

If a liability order is granted without my presence, consent and opportunity to bring all of the above to the attention of those concerned and involved I WILL have no choice but to seek lawful advice with regards to proceeding with a claim for fraud against those involved.

If you have a dispute regarding the granting of a Liability Order against you then you need to take this up with the magistrates court. You will need to explain why you feel the London Borough of Sutton has not followed the correct process and apply for your liability order to be set aside.

Where a liability order was granted, I require a copy of the liability order for which notice of liability order was received.

Following the magistrates’ court hearing at which liability orders are granted, a full list of those granted is produced. The list contains the names and addresses of those charge payers against who an order was granted together with the amount they owe. This list is produced electronically, and an electronic copy is kept by both the local authority and the magistrates’ court in which the orders were granted.

The granting of a liability order is a legal process and is not a document and as such cannot be evidenced in the form of a document.

Please evidence where I have given my consent authorising the London Borough of Sutton Council to hold my data

Under Regulation 8 of the Data Protection Act 2018 the Authority does not require consent to process data that is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in exercise of the controllers official for the exercise of a function conferred by an enactment or rule of law. The billing and collection of Council Tax is conferred on the Authority by the legislation stated previously. This is in keeping with Article 6 (c) and (e) of the GDPR regulations.

Provide evidence of which companies London Borough of Sutton 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.

The London Borough of Sutton Council complies with all relevant legislation with regard to the billing and collection of Council Tax. If you believe the authority has acted incorrectly you must follow the dispute processes laid down in that legislation. A Subject Access Request permits you the right to ask about your personal data that is held by an organisation. It is not a process to instigate a dispute or complaint nor is it a process to ask questions about anything other than your personal data

Further information about data sharing can be found at: