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Legislation and general information about Council Tax liability

Non Payment of Council Tax – Freeman on the Land

Council Tax pays for the services in your area. Without this, we could not provide essential services or help those in need.  Further details can be found on our What We Spend and How We Spend It webpage.

Very occasionally we get people, such as freeman on the land and similar groups 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 drawing on 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.  Your liability for Council Tax is not dependant on and does not require your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council.  

The following references have no legal basis:

  • a person not having consented to pay Council Tax
  • there not being a contractual relationship between the Council and the resident
  • ‘lawful rebellion’
  • Article 61 of the Magna Carta
  • the Coronation Oath Act 1688
  • the ‘People’s peace’
  • legal fictions, ‘straw men’ and ‘I, X of the family Y’
  • maritime or admiralty law
  • Uniform Commercial Code
  • House of Ward

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

Liability to pay Council Tax is set by Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. This gives local authorities the right to demand Council Tax used to fund services. 

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

Wyre Forest District Council is a local authority within the Public Sector and does not have a company number.

For information about how the Council uses your information for the purposes of administering Council Tax including setting up your account for billing purposes, processing discounts, exemptions etc. please see our Privacy Notice.

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 should be exempt, the amount charged is incorrect, that any Council Tax Reduction is calculated incorrectly or if you consider a penalty has been applied incorrectly, you have the right of appeal.  That right and the process is set out in the legislation.

Any appeal should initially be made in writing to the Council Tax Section.  You must explain what you are appealing against and give reasons why and we will consider your appeal.  If you remain dissatisfied, you have a further right of appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Service 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 your appeal is successful, any overpayment will be allowed or refunded. 

You also have the right to challenge your Council Tax band, providing certain criteria exists.

Questions and answers regarding Liability for Council Tax

The council has a responsibility to charge and recover Council Tax, but this does not mean it introduces a fiduciary relationship.

Some common ‘freeman’ queries we’ve been asked are: -

Are Acts and Statutes an obligation to me?

Some people have asked whether Acts and Statutes are an obligation on them, asked about the difference between a Statute and Law and other similar questions regarding legal matters.  Acts of Parliaments are Statutes which set out the law.  The council exists to provide essential services to residents.  If you have questions regarding other Acts of Parliament or laws, these should be directed to a legal professional, not the council.

Can you provide an autographed lawful contract with you, with both of our autographs or signature.

Some residents consider that Council Tax is a contract and requires a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement.  Council Tax is a creature of 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.

Can you 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.

Can you 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.

Can you provide confirmation the debt exists lawfully.

The issue of a Council Tax Demand Notice (the bill) creates the debt. See Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011 for further information.   A signature or agreement from a resident is not necessary for Council Tax.  It is a tax, not a contract.

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

Legislation and the courts do not recognise the concept of a “Freeman on the Land”.  Anyone claiming this artificial status should be aware that they cannot choose which laws they adhere to and which to ignore.  We will continue recovery action against all liable parties who have not paid their Council Tax.

We do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about Council Tax, but we have limited resources available.  We reserve the right to refuse to respond to enquiries that focus on hypothetical or inaccurate arguments that have no legal basis to attempt to avoid paying Council Tax.

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