WEST NORFOLK: Council to check on single people living alone after council tax probe
MORE than 4000 people in West Norfolk could be wrongly claiming a discount on their council tax, officials believe.Figures show 20,638 homes currently claim the single resident discount, while the 2001 census listed only 16,252 houses in the catchment to
MORE than 4000 people in West Norfolk could be wrongly claiming a discount on their council tax, officials believe.
Figures show 20,638 homes currently claim the single resident discount, while the 2001 census listed only 16,252 houses in the catchment to be occupied by a sole person.
A report to councillors says the discrepancy means a shortfall of up to £1.5million which could be spent on services.
Now the authority is set to use credit reference agencies to check people who say they live alone are telling the truth.
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Council leader Nick Daubney said: "We do not really know how many people could be claiming the wrong council tax, that it the trouble, but nationally statistics are quite high.
"The council owes it to the tax payer that everybody pays their fair share and there's quite an easy way to ensure that everybody is paying the correct amount of council tax."
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Under tax law those living alone are entitled to a 25 pc discount on council tax. There is no legal requirement to sign a declaration and the discount is given if the council believes it applies.
Until now residents a review has seen householders sent a letter to ask if they remain entitled to the discount.
The single person council tax review, which is recommended in a report to the council's ruling cabinet, would be carried out by a private company who would cross reference records including applications for credit, mobile bills and mortgages to check occupancy against the addresses receiving the discount.
The review will also offer the opportunity for those entitled to the single person discount who have not been claiming to come forward and claim the reduction.
Elsewhere in the country, the report says Lancaster City Council raised an extra £238,000 following a similar review and Coventry City Council discovered 2000 incorrect claims raising an extra £500,000 in tax revenue.