Crackdown launched on council tax cheats

Reporter:

Staff reporter

COUNCIL tax cheats fraudulently claiming to be living alone are being targeted in a new campaign.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has launched the crackdown to identify people who are fraudulently claiming council tax single person discounts.

Each year councils across the country receive high numbers of applications
for sole occupier discount.

But some applications are not genuine and these people are falsely claiming reductions in their bills just like benefit cheats.

Cllr Les Ford, executive member for resources said: “These people who are taking advantage of the system are also taking advantage of our genuine council tax
payers.

“This is because when the council tax charge is set, the council has to take into account the reduction in the amount due because of people claiming discounts or exemptions.”

The council has promised to consider each case on its merits and accepts some fraud may be unintentional.

In some cases, the mismatch may be due to someone moving out recently or by someone who should be disregarded such as a student.

In these cases, the records will be corrected on receipt of the information.
Those who choose not to declare the change will be put under investigation
and have their discount revoked.

Cllr Ford said: “The legislation allows council tax cheats to be prosecuted in the same way that Benefit cheats are; through the court system and made to pay back the money they owe.

“We value our residents and understand that you expect value for money
in the service we provide.

“We are doing all we can to stamp out this type of fraud in our borough.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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