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    • gray1404
    • By gray1404 12th Oct 17, 12:06 AM
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    gray1404
    Backdating Council Tax Exemption Severely Mentally Impaired Decision
    • #1
    • 12th Oct 17, 12:06 AM
    Backdating Council Tax Exemption Severely Mentally Impaired Decision 12th Oct 17 at 12:06 AM
    I have heard back from the local council regarding my family member's council tax exemption as he is severely disabled and lives alone. He has been receiving DLA/IB (now PIP/ESA) since 2005. We requested backdating from for council tax since he first started paying it, which was on 29 March 2010.

    I received the decision today: Your son's Council Tax exemption has been awarded from 1st April 2011 as the council will only backdate a discount 6 years. The reason for this is because Council Tax bills were originally accompanied by information booklets containing details relating to reductions and now the information is readily available on the council's website.

    A revised Council Tax bill will follow and a BACS refund of overpaid Council Tax will be paid directly into your son's bank account.

    If you have any queries, please contact my office on the above telephone number.


    At face value it looks like their decision is unfounded. What are the ways of challenging this? It is possible to ask them to look at the decision again or is there an appeals process? I guess we would need some compelling reasons/legal basis?
    Last edited by gray1404; 12-10-2017 at 12:42 AM.
Page 1
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Oct 17, 1:00 PM
    • 10,032 Posts
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    CIS
    • #2
    • 12th Oct 17, 1:00 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Oct 17, 1:00 PM
    It is certainly possible to challenge it - anyone can challenge a decision on the backdating of discounts and exemptions to a Valuation Tribunal.

    Putting together a coherent argument which persuades the Valuation Tribunal to award in your favour can be the difficult part. Arguing it is a case of looking at the council's tribunal case and then refuting the council's reasoning on why they have rejected the backdating - sometimes drafting that is easy, other times it can be difficult.
    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.
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 12th Oct 17, 1:22 PM
    • 10,753 Posts
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    pmlindyloo
    • #3
    • 12th Oct 17, 1:22 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Oct 17, 1:22 PM
    I have heard back from the local council regarding my family member's council tax exemption as he is severely disabled and lives alone. He has been receiving DLA/IB (now PIP/ESA) since 2005. We requested backdating from for council tax since he first started paying it, which was on 29 March 2010.

    I received the decision today: Your son's Council Tax exemption has been awarded from 1st April 2011 as the council will only backdate a discount 6 years. The reason for this is because Council Tax bills were originally accompanied by information booklets containing details relating to reductions and now the information is readily available on the council's website.

    A revised Council Tax bill will follow and a BACS refund of overpaid Council Tax will be paid directly into your son's bank account.

    If you have any queries, please contact my office on the above telephone number.


    At face value it looks like their decision is unfounded. What are the ways of challenging this? It is possible to ask them to look at the decision again or is there an appeals process? I guess we would need some compelling reasons/legal basis?
    Originally posted by gray1404
    Useful link about challenging procedure:

    https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/help-council-tax

    I am sure CIS will correct me if I am wrong but some councils are limiting backdating to 6 years because of the Statute of Limitations Act. From what I have read this has been contested in court and some people have won and some haven't. I do not think there has been a high court decision on this?

    What I find interesting is that the council has not quoted this reason in their letter but say it is because the information was formerly contained in an accompanying leaflet and is now on their website.

    Personally I think you should have a go at challenging this decision. Your relative has been awarded the exemption based on his severe mental impairment. They appear to accepted that this was the case since his council tax liability began.

    You could appeal on the grounds that your relative was unable to access the information in the booklet due to his severe mental impairment and therefore should be entitled to backdating to the first date of council tax eligibility.

    You might want to see if you/relative could get help from CAB with doing the appeal. Do you have LPA?
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Oct 17, 1:35 PM
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    CIS
    • #4
    • 12th Oct 17, 1:35 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Oct 17, 1:35 PM
    I am sure CIS will correct me if I am wrong but some councils are limiting backdating to 6 years because of the Statute of Limitations Act. From what I have read this has been contested in court and some people have won and some haven't. I do not think there has been a high court decision on this?
    You are correct, the councils are doing it for that reason. The situation hasn't gone to the high court.

    We argued in writing on a case recently for a client on the basis of backdating being restricted and they agreed with the former tribunal president's view that the 6 year limit is misinterpreted by local authorities in how it is used (and the president admitted that he himself misunderstood the application of it at first !). The tribunal isn't bound by previous decisions but they're expected to follow the president's logic on cases as much as possible.
    Last edited by CIS; 12-10-2017 at 2:04 PM.
    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.
    • IAmWales
    • By IAmWales 12th Oct 17, 2:05 PM
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    IAmWales
    • #5
    • 12th Oct 17, 2:05 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Oct 17, 2:05 PM
    Is your son in receipt of income based ESA? If so was he not in receipt of council tax benefit?

    (The council tax benefit system changed in 2013, so his entitlement, may have changed then.)
    Last edited by IAmWales; 12-10-2017 at 2:09 PM.
    • gray1404
    • By gray1404 13th Oct 17, 10:27 AM
    • 40 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    gray1404
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 17, 10:27 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 17, 10:27 AM
    No, he was not entitled to council tax benefit. So it seams that in this case rather then argue that the limitations of liability act doesn't apply, I have to dispute the reason given by the council that they used to enclose a booklet giving information. If I recall this was a general information booklet. Any help in constructing this argument would be very welcome. Is it worth asking the council to look at their decision again before going straight to appeal?
    Last edited by gray1404; 13-10-2017 at 10:30 AM.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Oct 17, 11:06 AM
    • 10,032 Posts
    • 5,725 Thanks
    CIS
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 17, 11:06 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 17, 11:06 AM
    No, he was not entitled to council tax benefit. So it seams that in this case rather then argue that the limitations of liability act doesn't apply, I have to dispute the reason given by the council that they used to enclose a booklet giving information. If I recall this was a general information booklet. Any help in constructing this argument would be very welcome. Is it worth asking the council to look at their decision again before going straight to appeal?
    Originally posted by gray1404
    To use a tribunal you really need to have warned the local authority in writing that you wish to use a tribunal if they reject your application. If you haven't then you run the risk of the appeal being rejected.

    I would suggest that the entitlement or not to a discount/exemption is not the main thrust of the local authority's argument and is going off on a tangent slightly - they're don't seem to be arguing there was no entitlement, they're arguing that they have simply restricted the length of time they backdate for.

    The valuation tribunal president has previously also stated that in their reasonings that restricting to 6 years is wrong - the 6 years applies to the length of time to bring a case, not on the time that backdating can be used for; "The Limitation Act sets a limit on when proceedings must be initiated. If they are not brought within the maximum period following “the date on which the cause of action accrued”, then the action cannot proceed and must fail. The Act does not set a limit on the number of years in the past in respect of which sums may be recovered. That is the fundamental error made by the BA in these appeals"

    In the case I have mentioned that we worked on recently a 6 year backdating limit was one of the key points that the council were arguing, the tribunal stated, in respect of rejecting any claim going back more than 6 years, that "that wholesale rejections by BAs are unjustified."

    You have an additional secondary point of argument if you can show that the local authority were aware that a discount or exemption should have applied and had not followed it up themselves.
    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.
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