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Crackdown on false claims for council tax discount
COUNCILS are cracking down on people trying to save money by falsely claiming they live alone.
Worcester City , Malvern Hills and Wychavon district councils are repeating an exercise last conducted in 2009, which uncovered nearly 1,500 fake single person council tax discounts – amounting to a saving of nearly £600,000 for the three bodies.
There are currently more than 40,000 single person discounts being claimed in south Worcestershire.
The discount reduces a council tax bill by 25 per cent, but there are occasions when residents’ circumstances change and they may forget to tell the council or knowingly withhold the information.
All local authorities are required to check that households are entitled to receive the discount and a review is now taking place in partnership with Northgate Information Systems, who will undertake checks to identify households making false claims.
Nick Jefferies, head of revenues and benefits shared service, said: “We recognise that from time to time circumstances change in any household and remembering to tell us of a change may be overlooked.
“But there are also people who deliberately choose not to inform us when they are no longer entitled to the discount and this could constitute a criminal offence. Where someone is incorrectly in receipt of the single person discount this adds to the financial burden on councils and tax payers.
“During these difficult times it is important we ensure only those who are entitled to this discount actually receive it.
“I would urge people to contact us now if they have had a change in their circumstances and are unsure as to whether they are still entitled to receive the single person discount.”
Call 01905 822733 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register any changes.