Shire announces crackdown on council-tax cheats

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ABERDEENSHIRE’S Finance department has announced a new crackdown on those claiming, but not entitled to, single person council tax discount.

A review, conducted by software company Northgate and credit company Experian, seeks to identify households which the council believes have more than one person resident, despite claiming the benefit. The companies will refer to external sources to gauge whether or not there is more than one person at a property.

The single person council tax benefit is given to those who live alone, giving a 25% discount and potentially saving a householder hundreds of pounds each year.

The review will cover 22,000 households currently in receipt of the discount.

Aberdeenshire Council Head of Finance, Alan Wood, said: “This is one of a number of initiatives routinely undertaken by the council to ensure only those entitled to Council Tax reductions are receiving them.

“Work such as this helps make sure the local tax system is working fairly and money which should be collected for the public benefit is collected. We take a fair, balanced and firm approach to investigating council tax discrepancies working within legislative requirements too.

“When we get information back from the checks made by our software supplier we send out a questionnaire to customers to ask if they still live alone as there may be a number of reasons why the data would highlight multiple occupants at any one address. Once the form is returned to us we can decide on the next course of action which may involve further discussions before we take any decision on cessation of discount.

“If any of our customers think they are not paying the correct council tax, they should contact us for advice.”