‘Freemen’ and other Spurious Challenges to Council Tax Liability

The Council is aware of a number incorrect and misleading statements on the internet and social media that suggest various ways to avoid paying council tax e.g. Freeman on the Land or similar arguments. These are wholly inaccurate and not helpful to fellow taxpayers or the Council.

You do not have a choice as to whether you are liable for Council Tax and using the term ‘Freeman on the Land' or 'Freeman of the Land' or other such arguments about common law, contract or consent does not exempt anyone from paying Council Tax.

Liability for Council Tax is decided in line with the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This Act, along with associated regulations set out a Council’s rights to demand council tax to fund services, who is liable to pay and other administrative arrangements.

The Council is aware of a number of misleading / incorrect arguments put forward to avoid paying council tax and/or that council tax is unlawful. Please see the following table for the various arguments / requests for information that we are currently aware of along with our response:

Challenge or Request   

I'm a Freeman of the Land and am not liable.

Being a Freeman of the Land does not mean an individual can decide which law applies or which can be ignored based on consent.
Council tax remains payable.

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

Neither an exchange of contracts or agreement between the Council and taxpayer are required by law for the levying and recovery of council tax. Council tax remains payable.

Please provide evidence that I'm lawfully obliged to pay council tax.

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

Provide documents containing a wet ink signature.

A signature is not necessary for the billing of council tax, and no wet ink signature is mandatory on a court summons. Council tax remains payable.

Paying Council Tax would be committing an offence under the Terrorism Act 2000

This has no basis in law – please seek proper legal advice if you have genuine concerns.
Council tax remains payable.

The Council has not disapproved or attempted to disapprove or rebutted claims made in an Affidavit of Truth and Statement of Fact.

This has no basis in law. Council tax remains payable.

The Council has no right to take recovery action or demand payment during the year as I have until the 31 March to pay any council tax that is due for that financial year.

The ability for a Council to require council tax to be paid by instalments along with subsequent demand notices, including the issuing of reminders and other enforcement activity is done so in accordance with The Local Government Finance Act 1992 and The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. Council tax remains payable when due during the year and not just by 31 March of the relevant financial year.

If you contact the Council and put forward a challenge or request set out in the table above or similar argument, the Council reserves the right to not respond to such enquiries that focus on hypothetical arguments with no basis in law. Responding to such requests on an individual basis uses our resources at the expense of other taxpayers. This includes letters and notices served on any council officers with the same reasoning.

It is likely that further spurious claims will be made in the future, which will be added to the table above as necessary.

If you don’t pay

Anyone who does not pay their Council Tax will have recovery action taken against them.

There have been a few people who have attempted to use ‘freeman of land’ or similar defences to not pay their Council Tax. In extreme cases this has led to:

  • Court proceedings,
  • A criminal record, (which could affect your credit rating), and a
  • Prison sentence

Contacting us

While we do our best to answer all relevant and genuine enquiries about council tax, as set out above we will not respond to enquiries that focus on hypothetical arguments that have no legal basis.

Legal Advice

There are many internet and/or social media sources that contain misleading information and incorrect advice relating to council tax such as those highlighted above. The correct legislation is freely available from the government website Legislation.gov.uk and includes:

Local Government Finance Act 1992

Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011

If you have any concerns over thecharging of your council tax, please seek proper legal advice.


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