Council Tax collection is a key component of income to local authorities that pays for frontline services and supports those in need. Residents may be eligible for discounts or exemptions on their liability, for example if they are the sole adult resident or are in full time education. Fraud can occur when those not entitled to a reduction deliberately misapply for a discount or exemption.
Councils take part in a number of local and national exercises to help uncover fraudulent discount claims. Cabinet Office led matches between 2016 and 2018 helped uncover £32.6 million of unduly awarded discounts where individuals did not qualify for a Single Person Discount because they were living with other adults that attracted a council tax charge. This figure represents only the cases which have been exposed so far.
Veritau have successfully uncovered, investigated and prosecuted a number of Council Tax frauds for councils in North Yorkshire. Last year a Veritau investigation led to a North Yorkshire resident being prosecuted for what may be the longest running council tax fraud in the country. Over a 20 year period, the man misled the council into believing that he lived alone when he in fact lived with his wife. He was reported to the Counter Fraud Team after being heard bragging about his gains. Pleading guilty at court, the council were able to recovery nearly £5,000 in unpaid council tax.