Amnesty in Council Tax crackdown

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A COUNCIL tax amnesty is launched today as part of a crackdown on fraud.

Councils across East Sussex – including Eastbourne Borough Council and Wealden District Council – are joining forces to review how many people may be wrongly claiming a discount on their council tax.

The authorities say it will help keep council tax as low as possible for all council tax payers.

The partnership review – the first of its kind in East Sussex – will examine who is claiming the Single Person Discount (SPD), which entitles claimants to a 25 per cent reduction in their council tax, and alert those who are not entitled to it.

Similar reviews carried out elsewhere in the UK have generated a 5 per cent reduction in the number of ineligible SPD claims.

In East Sussex, this could lead to an additional £1.6 million in council tax payments.

Before the review starts, a two-week amnesty will be held from today, October 14, to October 28 to give people the chance to come forward without fear of penalty to declare they no longer live alone and have been wrongly claiming the Single Person Discount.

The review, to start at the end of October, will examine around 83,000 taxpayers in East Sussex who claim the SPD.

For an average Band D property, those claiming the SPD pay around £400 less a year.

The partnership is also encouraging residents who live alone and who may not be claiming the SPD to contact their local authority.

In a joint statement, the council partnership said, “The vast majority of SPD claimants are fully entitled to the 25 per cent discount, however, there are some who are not.

“The amnesty will give those people the chance to come forward without sanction and we would encourage anyone who may be wrongly claiming to declare themselves straightaway to avoid a potential fine.”

Anyone who thinks they may no longer be entitled to a council tax discount, or would like more details about the SPD amnesty, should telephone the council’s revenues department on 0845 300 6715 or email counciltax@eastbourne.gov.uk