Amnesty time over ‘honest’ Council Tax benefit errors

DISTRICT chiefs have announced an “amnesty” for people wrongly claiming council tax discounts to let off anyone making an “honest mistake”.

However, they warned they will launch a crackdown on tax dodgers when that is over, and will dish out fines or even take offenders to court for fraud.

From now until November 15 people in South Holland are being urged to check their bills and make sure they declare if they are currently getting the 25 per cent single person’s discount but are not living alone.

The council will soon be checking the cases of each person who claims the single persons’ discount to make sure their cases are genuine.

Councillor Paul Przyszlak, district portfolio holder for finance, said: “People should check their Council Tax bills and come forward if they’re claiming a discount they’re no longer entitled to.

“While most people are honest and are rightfully claiming the discount – there are others who are not telling us of changes in their circumstances.

“We are offering the amnesty to encourage those who have made an honest mistake to come forward, so we can then focus on those intent on stealing money from the public purse. I would urge people to come forward and take advantage of this opportunity.”

The crackdown will be carried out by the council’s Fraud Team, which will cross-check credit reference agency information against Council Tax records. There was a similar crackdown two years ago.

Anyone incorrectly claiming could face a £70 fine or possible prosecution for fraud.

Residents in South Holland can call the Council Tax billing section on 01775 761161, email counciltax@sholland.gov.uk or write to South Holland District Council at P.O. Box 8, Spalding, PE11 2XQ.