Civil penalties and council tax penalties

Civil Penalties

Local authorities can now impose civil penalties on households which fail without reasonable excuse to inform the council of a change in circumstance that results in an overpayment of Housing Benefit.

This means from 1 April 2014 any overpayment of £250 or more, where the entire overpayment period occurred after 18 October 2012, may be subject to a £50 civil penalty.

There are a variety of different scenarios where a civil penalty can be imposed. The sort of changes that claimants should inform the council about are:

  • failure to correctly declare circumstances on a new claim application
  • changes in income and entitlement to state benefits
  • an increase in capital
  • changes where a young person or child ceases to be a member of the household
  • changes in rent charged
  • changes affecting the residence or income of any non-dependent
  • absences exceeding or likely to exceed 13 weeks
  • changes affecting any child living with the claimant
    (eg if Child Benefit ends).

A civil penalty is intended to help tackle the financial loss which arises from claimant error and to encourage all claimants to take responsibility for their benefit claim and for any overpayments they receive.

Recovery of a civil penalty

If you have had a civil penalty imposed on you, this will be recovered by:

  • reducing any ongoing entitlement to Housing Benefit
  • deductions from ongoing benefits
  • the new direct earnings attachment provisions in the Welfare Reform Act 2012
  • through the courts

If you disagree with the decision to impose a civil penalty

If you disagree with the decision to impose a civil penalty on you, you can ask for an explanation of the decision, a reconsideration of the decision or appeal against the decision which must be received within one calendar month from the date the civil penalty was imposed.

You must appeal to:

Benefits Service, Bracknell Forest Council, Time Square, Market Street, PO Box 3781, Bracknell, RG12 1HJ

email at benefits@bracknell-forest.gov.uk

In asking for a reconsideration or appealing, you will need to state, and provide evidence where appropriate, why you feel the decision is wrong.

Council Tax Penalties

From 1 April 2016 Council Tax Penalties will apply where a customer:

  • Fails to notify the Council that Council Tax Reduction should have ended
  • Fails to notify the Council that there has been a change in their circumstances which would affect Council Tax Reduction
  • Makes a false application for Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme
  • Fails to notify of a change to the household or any other changes that affect their council tax reduction entitlement

The amount of penalty will be £70 and will be added directly to the Council Tax account and collected via the normal billing process.

Please see full details of the council tax penalty policy.

If you disagree with the decision to impose a council tax penalty

If you disagree with the decision to impose a council tax penalty on you, you can ask for an explanation of the decision, a reconsideration of the decision or appeal against the decision which must be received within one calendar month from the date the civil penalty was imposed.

In asking for reconsideration or appealing, you will need to state, and provide evidence where appropriate, why you feel the decision is wrong.

The council will then look at your claim and advise you of the outcome of the reconsideration, outlining the reasons. If the decision is not changed in your favour, you have the right to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal for England within 2 months of the date of the reconsideration.

Was this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you. You can provide further feedback on this page using our feedback form.