Freeman on the Land and challenges to the legality of Council Tax

Liability to pay Council Tax

The Council Tax is not a direct charge for services provided. It is a Statutory Tax levied on occupiers (and some owners) of dwellings within the council's area. Council Tax is not a direct charge for individual services received; the amount collected is paid into a central fund to enable authorities to provide services for the benefit of the community as a whole.

The Freeman on the Land movement and similar groups commonly believe that people are only bound by the contracts and laws they have consented to. However, contract law and alleged rights under common law are not the same as legislation relating to the administration and collection of Council Tax.

You do not have a choice whether you are liable for Council Tax and being a 'freeman' does not exempt anyone from paying Council Tax.

In the UK, liability for Council Tax is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This statute, created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown and subsequent statutory regulations, sets out a local authority's rights to demand Council Tax to fund services and who is liable to pay.

Your liability for Council Tax is not dependent on, and does not require, your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council. Any assertion to the contrary is incorrect and there is no legal basis upon which to make this argument.

Council Tax legislation 

The legislation that covers Council Tax in the UK is laid out in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and its subsequent statutory regulations. This statute was created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown. 

These statutes set out a local authority's right to demand Council Tax, how to establish who is liable and take recovery action in order to fund services.

Any queries you may have regarding the legality of legislation should be made with a qualified legal professional, not to the council. 

Very occasionally we get people who are convinced that using an archaic law means they don't have to pay Council Tax and there are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of Council Tax. Anyone drawing on these for advice should exercise caution and seek proper legal advice before using them as a defence against Council Tax liability based on contract, consent and common law.

Council Tax enquiries

We will try to answer all relevant Council Tax enquiries.

We will not respond to lengthy enquiries that focus on the following:

  • ancient, historic or outdated legislation
  • hypothetical arguments which do not appear to have any legal basis

These enquiries use our limited resources at the expense of other taxpayers. 

Frequently asked questions

The most common questions or requests we receive are:

Provide an autographed lawful contract with you, with both of our autographs

Some residents consider Council Tax a contract requiring a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement. As mentioned above, Council Tax is a creature of statute, and a contract is not required. Therefore, any reference to the following is irrelevant:

  • Companies Act
  • Contracts Act
  • Bills of Exchange Act
  • other acts regarding companies or contracts 

A variation of this question is:

Please provide evidence that I’ve agreed with you that you can lawfully collect an alleged debt from me.’ 

Again, this is inconsequential , as contracts or agreements have not been exchanged. Neither is required for the levy and recovery of Council Tax. 

Provide evidence that I am lawfully obliged to pay Council Tax

The hierarchy of who is considered to be the liable party is contained in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 c14 Part 1, Chapter 1, Sections 6 -9. Individual agreement of this is not necessary.

Provide confirmation the debt exists lawfully

The issue of a Council Tax demand notice (the bill) creates the debt. A signature or agreement from a resident is not necessary for Council Tax. It is a tax, not a contract.

I’m a Freeman of the Land and am not liable

Being a Freeman of the Land does not mean people can choose which laws they adhere to and which to ignore.

Please state if you are a company or a corporation

Mansfield District Council is a local authority within the public sector and is not a company or a corporation.

Promissory notes

Valid forms of payment for Council Tax are stated on the reverse of bills issued. Promissory notes will not be accepted and recovery action will continue if balances remain outstanding.