Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Lost in La Mancha
    • By Lost in La Mancha 5th Oct 17, 7:07 PM
    • 8Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Lost in La Mancha
    Liability to Council Tax in the UK while travelling abroad or living abroad
    • #1
    • 5th Oct 17, 7:07 PM
    Liability to Council Tax in the UK while travelling abroad or living abroad 5th Oct 17 at 7:07 PM
    Does anyone know the rules on whether you should be registered for Council Tax in the Uk while abroad travelling? My bank / mobile phone statements go to a relative's address in the UK. They are now thinking of claiming the single person council tax discount as they are currently living alone. However, I am thinking as I don't have any other address (abroad or in the UK) at the moment, should my name also be on the Council Tax there (meaning that that person would not be able to claim the discount)? (I've read that one of the ways councils check to see how many people are living at an address is through credit reference agencies who look to see how many people's bank accounts are registered at an address).

    I may, at a later date, settle abroad in another country for awhile, but would like to keep my bank statements being sent to the relative's address in the UK. Would this change the council tax situation - ie if I could prove I was living in another country, would this then exempt me from being liable to council tax at that property? And what documents would satisfy the council as proof? (eg. registration for the equivalent of council tax / electoral roll in that country?) Would they accept documents in a foreign language or would they need to be translated into English by an official translator?

    I hope someone who has been in a similar situation can help with any of these questions.
Page 1
    • CIS
    • By CIS 5th Oct 17, 8:50 PM
    • 10,125 Posts
    • 5,800 Thanks
    CIS
    • #2
    • 5th Oct 17, 8:50 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Oct 17, 8:50 PM
    The council do check credit records so your name may crop up in a discount review.

    Council Tax works on the basis of 'sole or main residence' - if this is outside of England/Wales/Scotland then you would not be regarded as resident for council tax purposes but...

    If you had to stop travelling is there an address in the England/Wales/Scotland that you have lived in before travelling and to which you would return to if you did ? Determining 'sole or main residence' is not always easy but a key aspect is 'intention to return' to a property and where a 'man off the street' would say you were resident if presented with the facts.

    Ultimately any dispute over 'sole or main residence' would be down to a valuation tribunal to decide if the council make a decision that you don't agree with.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Lost in La Mancha
    • By Lost in La Mancha 7th Oct 17, 7:50 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Lost in La Mancha
    • #3
    • 7th Oct 17, 7:50 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Oct 17, 7:50 PM
    Thanks for your reply.

    No - I don't have any property in the Uk to return to. I would most likely start renting somewhere upon my return.

    If I were to settle in another country and kept my UK bank accounts going to this relative's address in the UK, do you know which documents would be accepted as proof of me living abroad? (for instance - would a utility bill with the foreign address suffice, or a bank statement, or perhaps being on the equivalent of the electoral register in the country?)
    • CIS
    • By CIS 8th Oct 17, 12:33 PM
    • 10,125 Posts
    • 5,800 Thanks
    CIS
    • #4
    • 8th Oct 17, 12:33 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Oct 17, 12:33 PM
    Thanks for your reply.

    No - I don't have any property in the Uk to return to. I would most likely start renting somewhere upon my return.

    If I were to settle in another country and kept my UK bank accounts going to this relative's address in the UK, do you know which documents would be accepted as proof of me living abroad? (for instance - would a utility bill with the foreign address suffice, or a bank statement, or perhaps being on the equivalent of the electoral register in the country?)
    Originally posted by Lost in La Mancha
    I think you should be ok in this case as long as you can demonstrate residence abroad.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Edi81
    • By Edi81 8th Oct 17, 4:03 PM
    • 329 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    Edi81
    • #5
    • 8th Oct 17, 4:03 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Oct 17, 4:03 PM
    Don't go on the electoral register at your relatives address.

    Councils cross check single discounts to the electoral register. I received a snotty letter from my council when I bought my place as the previous owner was still on the electoral register. All sorted after I sent them a letter but just having mail sent there will be fine.
    • David Aston
    • By David Aston 8th Oct 17, 5:33 PM
    • 708 Posts
    • 457 Thanks
    David Aston
    • #6
    • 8th Oct 17, 5:33 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Oct 17, 5:33 PM
    Does anyone know if this arrangement would prevent the relative from claiming the single occupancy discount?
    • CIS
    • By CIS 8th Oct 17, 7:28 PM
    • 10,125 Posts
    • 5,800 Thanks
    CIS
    • #7
    • 8th Oct 17, 7:28 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Oct 17, 7:28 PM
    Does anyone know if this arrangement would prevent the relative from claiming the single occupancy discount?
    Originally posted by David Aston
    Which arrangement - using the property for mailing purposes ? If so then it shouldn't as it's the 'sole or main residence' which is the important aspect. Whether or not the Local Authority would put up a fight or not is anyone's guess.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • foxtrotoscar
    • By foxtrotoscar 8th Oct 17, 9:28 PM
    • 1,031 Posts
    • 1,520 Thanks
    foxtrotoscar
    • #8
    • 8th Oct 17, 9:28 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Oct 17, 9:28 PM
    The relative may not wish the hassle of having to prove single occupancy.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 9th Oct 17, 8:30 AM
    • 2,462 Posts
    • 3,526 Thanks
    trailingspouse
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 17, 8:30 AM
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 17, 8:30 AM
    A few thoughts - if indeed the relative was unable to claim the single occupant discount because you were using their address, could you stump up the difference?

    You really need to speak to the council concerned, as they set their own rules and they can differ from council to council.

    My OH was working abroad when 'we' moved house, and I'd been living in the new place for about 3 months when he came home. He was on the deeds, and on the mortgage, and we were totally expecting to have to pay the full council tax. I rang the council, just to see where we stood - it seemed a little unfair for him to have to pay council tax on a house he'd never lived in. I was told I could claim the discount for the period he hadn't lived there, but the minute he spent a night in the house it became his 'sole or main residence'. He was only home for 4 nights, and only one of those was in the house as we were away on holiday for the others - the woman from the council suggested we should book in to the nearest Holiday Inn for that one night!!
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 9th Oct 17, 8:50 AM
    • 5,577 Posts
    • 4,981 Thanks
    00ec25
    A few thoughts - if indeed the relative was unable to claim the single occupant discount because you were using their address, could you stump up the difference?

    You really need to speak to the council concerned, as they set their own rules and they can differ from council to council.

    My OH was working abroad when 'we' moved house, and I'd been living in the new place for about 3 months when he came home. He was on the deeds, and on the mortgage, and we were totally expecting to have to pay the full council tax. I rang the council, just to see where we stood - it seemed a little unfair for him to have to pay council tax on a house he'd never lived in. I was told I could claim the discount for the period he hadn't lived there, but the minute he spent a night in the house it became his 'sole or main residence'. He was only home for 4 nights, and only one of those was in the house as we were away on holiday for the others - the woman from the council suggested we should book in to the nearest Holiday Inn for that one night!!
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    the council can't vary the rules in respect of SPD as they are based in legislation

    the answer the council gave you was the correct technical answer. Your OH had never lived in your new property so it was not yet his main home to which he had an intention to return as he had never been there to start with. his occupation, and your loss of SPD, arose from that one night
    • CIS
    • By CIS 9th Oct 17, 9:15 AM
    • 10,125 Posts
    • 5,800 Thanks
    CIS
    the council can't vary the rules in respect of SPD as they are based in legislation

    the answer the council gave you was the correct technical answer. Your OH had never lived in your new property so it was not yet his main home to which he had an intention to return as he had never been there to start with. his occupation, and your loss of SPD, arose from that one night
    Originally posted by 00ec25
    I agree fully, it's nice to see a local authority doing it correctly with respect to legislation/case-law.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Lost in La Mancha
    • By Lost in La Mancha 17th Oct 17, 7:36 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Lost in La Mancha
    Thanks for all the interesting replies.

    Yes - one possibility is the relative not claiming the single person discount just to err on the safe side - and me paying them the money they lose out on. However, would my name then have to go down on their council tax form as living there (when I'm not really)? Or can they just say to the council that they don't want to claim the discount without giving any reason?
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 17th Oct 17, 7:57 PM
    • 10,052 Posts
    • 8,122 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    If you are not an owner, tenant or actual occupier where there are neither of these, you have no responsibility for paying CT. There has to be a definite intention to return on your part for there to be any possibility of your relative not receiving SPD whilst he is a sole occupier or sole non disregarded occupier.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 17th Oct 17, 9:16 PM
    • 5,577 Posts
    • 4,981 Thanks
    00ec25
    Thanks for all the interesting replies.

    Yes - one possibility is the relative not claiming the single person discount just to err on the safe side - and me paying them the money they lose out on. However, would my name then have to go down on their council tax form as living there (when I'm not really)? Or can they just say to the council that they don't want to claim the discount without giving any reason?
    Originally posted by Lost in La Mancha
    your relative is not required to claim the discount so I don't see where you are hung up on your relative explaining anything to the council. Post can be sent to an address where you are not registered as resident. A claim to SPD is not dependent on all post being in one name only, and you have been given the reason why the relative can in fact claim SPD anyway in post #2

    - you state that you have no intention of returning to the relative's property, your intention, if it came to it, would be to rent elsewhere

    - you were not resident there before you left anyway so there is no prior association with the property as an occupant.

    - if it comes to it, you can show you are resident abroad through whatever documents you have. They won't be needed unless the council challenges your relative to "prove " her claim to SPD, which, as explained in #2, would be adjudicated on by a tribunal if the council alleges you are resident and you, quite rightly given the facts, say you are not.
    Last edited by 00ec25; 17-10-2017 at 9:18 PM.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

910Posts Today

5,658Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • RT @bearface83: @MartinSLewis check out the @Missguided new 60% off offer. Upping the cost of items almost double to make us think it?s a?

  • RT @efitzpat: Thank you SO SO much @MartinSLewis for your Student Loans refund advice! I just got a grand refunded right before Xmas! Whoop?

  • Have a lovely weekend folks. Don't do anything (fiscally) that I wouldn't do!

  • Follow Martin