Retrospective Claim for Incorrectly Charged Council Tax

Last February, my local council informed me, by letter, that they had undercharged me and my wife’s Council Tax, since July, 2015. They had applied a student discount that was not appropriate. In April, this year, I received 7 separate ‘bills’, for each Tax period, totalling just over £2500. The council employee, I spoke to on the phone, admitted that the error was made by the council. 

Is it legal to retrospectively claim this money? For services already provided? And if so, could others;  such as my mortgage company, or local filling station , make similar claims?

Thank you, in anticipation of your thoughts and replies,
Stephen

Comments

  • Yes, it’s legal. 

    Would you be wanting your money back if they had overcharged you? 
  • Cameron1590_2
    Cameron1590_2 Posts: 183
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    edited 20 October 2023 at 6:02PM
    Last February, my local council informed me, by letter, that they had undercharged me and my wife’s Council Tax, since July, 2015. They had applied a student discount that was not appropriate. In April, this year, I received 7 separate ‘bills’, for each Tax period, totalling just over £2500. The council employee, I spoke to on the phone, admitted that the error was made by the council. 

    Is it legal to retrospectively claim this money? For services already provided? And if so, could others;  such as my mortgage company, or local filling station , make similar claims?

    Thank you, in anticipation of your thoughts and replies,
    Stephen
    Council Tax debt is an unsecured debt which means that it will expire after 6 years according to the Limitation Act 1980 in England & Wales. Scotland is 5 years. 

    In other words, they can only pursue you for the last six years worth of underpayments which would be from 2017 (England & Wales) or from 2018 (Scotland). 

    Unfortunately, you are still liable for the last six or five years depending where you live in the UK. 

    I would however hope that if the council made the error, they would give you a reasonable timeframe to pay or a payment plan.  
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,318
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    could others;  such as my mortgage company, or local filling station , make similar claims?
    Council tax has its own legal setup and is nothing to do with general consumer rights or what would happen in such other scenarios. But in any event yes there is generally an ability to claim for money owed some time after the event.
  • calleyw
    calleyw Posts: 9,814
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    So you have not noticed or queried a line on your council bill that says something like student discount on the bill for 8 years?
    Council tax bills always show discounts as a line and then -£xxx which will be the amount of the discount.
    Hope for everything and expect nothing!!!

    Good enough is almost always good enough -Prof Barry Schwartz

    If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try -Seth Godin
  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 13,786
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    edited 20 October 2023 at 11:02PM
    Were you receiving a correctly applied student discount up to July 2015?  If so, why did you not cancel it then, or at any point since, when it would have been listed on your annual statement?  

    You say that the council admitted their error, but isn't there something on the annual statement to the effect that you are to read it and notify them if anything is wrong or out of date?  Did you?
  • lincroft1710
    lincroft1710 Posts: 17,453
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    Last February, my local council informed me, by letter, that they had undercharged me and my wife’s Council Tax, since July, 2015. They had applied a student discount that was not appropriate. In April, this year, I received 7 separate ‘bills’, for each Tax period, totalling just over £2500. The council employee, I spoke to on the phone, admitted that the error was made by the council. 

    Is it legal to retrospectively claim this money? For services already provided? And if so, could others;  such as my mortgage company, or local filling station , make similar claims?

    Thank you, in anticipation of your thoughts and replies,
    Stephen
    Council Tax debt is an unsecured debt which means that it will expire after 6 years according to the Limitation Act 1980 in England & Wales. Scotland is 5 years. 

    In other words, they can only pursue you for the last six years worth of underpayments which would be from 2017 (England & Wales) or from 2018 (Scotland). 

    Unfortunately, you are still liable for the last six or five years depending where you live in the UK. 

    I would however hope that if the council made the error, they would give you a reasonable timeframe to pay or a payment plan.  
    Council Tax is a tax and as such is not subject to the 6 year rule. Plenty of examples on this forum of CT payers being chased for CT under or non payment dating back more than 6 years. 
    If you are querying your Council Tax band would you please state whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales
  • nyermen
    nyermen Posts: 1,084
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    edited 23 October 2023 at 9:24AM
    Council Tax is a tax and as such is not subject to the 6 year rule. Plenty of examples on this forum of CT payers being chased for CT under or non payment dating back more than 6 years. 
    Agreed - I think there was someone last year who the council was claiming back something like 20 years ago, even though neither them nor the poster had paperwork still.  To complicate, I think it was a specific discount in dispute.

    It's why I still keep a copy of every bank statement and scans of all the council tax bills ever since I moved to rent on my own.
    Peter

    Debt free - finally finished paying off £20k + Interest.
  • Thank you all who have contributed, offered advice and made comments. I’m very grateful for you helping me to establish a baseline for my own position in the negotiations, with my local council, in settling this matter.
  • Update:
    Following discussion and emails, my local were weary approachable and ultimately compromised with the total amount required to settle my case.
  • # very approachable!

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