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crocket

Rejected discount for one month when unoccupied (first time buyer)

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I have a valuation tribunal upcoming, and I have received the following correspondence. The issue is that the council will not grant the 1st month discount because the previous occupiers used up this discount. As we are first time buyers and didn't actually move in till at least a month later I was hoping the 1st months council tax would be discounted 100%. However this is not the case. Is there anything that I can backup this case with as it's basically their legislation against what I think I should be entitled to.

Issues in Dispute

The dispute concerns the application of the 100% discount for one month for properties that are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for the period 20 June 2016 to 20 July 2016.

Decision Sought

The decision we seek from the Tribunal is that the appeal is dismissed based on the reasons set out below.

Reasons for Decision

The Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings)(England) (Amendment) Order 2012 omitted the exemption Class C of the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992, whereby properties that were both unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a period not exceed six months were exempt from Council Tax. Billing Authorities were then able to prescribe classes of empty dwellings, and the level of discount applicable under Section 11 of the Local Government Finance Act 2012 referred to Section 11A of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (appendix 10)

North West Leicestershire District Council made the decision that for properties that were both unoccupied and substantially unfurnished, there would be a one month 100% discount from Council Tax from the date the property became such, after which there would be a 0% discount (appendix 11 & 12)

The Council were notified by the previous owners that the property had become both unoccupied and substantially unfurnished more than a month prior to Mr Buyers purchase of the property. The previous owners contacted the Council as and when changes occurred, and there is no reason to disbelieve them. Furthermore, no evidence has been provided to dispute the information provided by them.

In line with North West Leicestershire District Council’s local discount scheme, the property had been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for more than a month prior to 20 June 2016, therefore no discount is applicable for the period 20 June 2016 to 20 July 2016.

The Tribunal is asked to dismiss the appeal on the grounds set out above.

Edited by crocket

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I'm sure there is a difference between "dwelling" and "property" (otherwise blocks of flats would share 1 council tax bill) so the council have contrived to make them one and the same. When you bought it it becomes your dwelling so the clock for the relevant period would only start when you bought it. their year seems to be an arbitrary one and they dont mention the exact period that applies for the previous discount, it might well be in the previous financial year and that would better define what the relevant period is.

Your year should start on the date you bought it and the relevant authorities notified via the correct manner ( ie land registry) The year they are referring to would be the previous year acccording to the date they have used which clearly starts on the 20th june 2016.

This also shows that councils are utterly contemptuous to the council taxpayer as fighting over a bill that can be no more than £200 will have cost them around £500 in salaries so far, plus the cost of attending to the tribunal so even if they win they lose money. You could ask for the single person discount for the month if you lose this claim, zero people is not 2 people, just adjudged to not receive the 100% discount.

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