West Norfolk council to crackdown on single person tax rate

PUBLISHED: 17:17 03 September 2014 | UPDATED: 17:17 03 September 2014

West Norfolk council have announced a crackdown on council tax.  Joe Giddens/PA Wire

West Norfolk council have announced a crackdown on council tax. Joe Giddens/PA Wire

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Officials are launching a crackdown to recover thousands of pounds being lost in bogus claims for council tax discounts.

From tomorrow, West Norfolk council said it would begin checking though its records for people wrongly claiming the single person’s 25pc discount on their bill.

Council tax bands assume two adults live in a property as their main home. Those occupied by a single person qualify for the discount.

But national figures show around 4pc of claims are bogus - which in West Norfolk’s case would equate to £210,000 a year.

And Andrew Lawrence, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Many false claims come about purely because people have forgotten to tell us about a change in circumstances and are not the result of a willful attempt to cheat the system.

“Each case will be considered on its own merits and if we have reason to believe that the information provided is incorrect or if forms are not returned, we may withdraw the discount whilst we undertake an investigation.”

West Norfolk council said it would write to households whose records showed discrepancies.

Mr Lawrence warned: “If, following investigation, we find that someone has been fraudulently claiming the 25% single occupancy discount, we will revoke the discount and could pursue prosecution.

“Keeping the borough council’s element of the council tax bill to a minimum is a priority, so it is important that we ensure that those that are entitled to discounts receive them, but that we clamp down on fraudulent activity to ease the burden on others.”

A spokesperson for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau said it was hard to predict how many claimants would be affected by the review.

Should the council launch a tax crackdown? E-mail natalie.copeland@archant.co.uk.

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