Summer Council Tax Charge

Wondering if anybody can help me?

I'm studying full time with the OU, live alone and work 40 hours a week. I'm exempt from council tax while studying, which has been fine with the local council up until now. I've just finished my second year and the council are now trying to charge me for the upcoming summer months between year 2 and 3. It's the same degree, I've not switched courses or anything. Any help here? I thought I was exempt during summer months?

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  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260
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    edited 9 July 2019 at 4:54PM
    shaned1985 wrote: »
    Wondering if anybody can help me?

    I'm studying full time with the OU, live alone and work 40 hours a week. I'm exempt from council tax while studying, which has been fine with the local council up until now. I've just finished my second year and the council are now trying to charge me for the upcoming summer months between year 2 and 3. It's the same degree, I've not switched courses or anything. Any help here? I thought I was exempt during summer months?

    I was recently involved in drafting an initial tribunal appeal that went on to a further appeal in front of the tribunal president (for which part I was not involved but have seen the decision). This was made on similar grounds to your own - a person trying to complete the OU degree over 3 years of study and the council refusing student status for a period.

    In this case the exemption was awarded from the Oct to June by order of the tribunal president - the decision does not mention why the June - Oct period was not included but I suspect it was simply because the course modules only run across the period (and the OU only register you as an active student for this period). If the president had felt that the course qualified between June - Oct then they would have ordered the exemption be granted. I would certainly agree with the president in this case and the council's action would be consistent with this.

    If I was drafting something in your case however I'd probably still try an initial challenge with the council to see what their response is (risk of course is that they review and remove it retrospectively).
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • shaned1985
    shaned1985 Posts: 19 Forumite
    Interesting! I've checked in with several other councils and they've all confirmed that I should be exempt. My council is now simply asking that I provide an exemption letter that also states the course runs from 2018-2020, and one that doesn't simply state the module start and end dates. Which is easily obtainable, so I'll see what happens next.
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260
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    The council can award and some will without looking further but it isn't consistent with the current tribunal interpretation of legislation (and I agree). This being said, if the council award and don't put off a fuss I'd take it and run.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260
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    See what the OU will issue but historically the letters they issued would confirm the module dates only and add that a person had x years to complete overall.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
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