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Amnesty offer for tax cheats

SOLIHULL Council is launching an 'information amnesty' to get residents claiming a reduction in Council Tax for living alone to tell them if their circumstances have changed and they feel they may not be entitled to the discount any longer.

SOLIHULL Council is launching an 'information amnesty' to get residents claiming a reduction in Council Tax for living alone to tell them if their circumstances have changed and they feel they may not be entitled to the discount any longer.

Residents claiming this 25 per cent discount are urged to speak up before December 31 if they now have a second adult living with them.

From January 2009 onwards, new data matching technology will be used to carry out a review of the 29,000 households that claim the discount to try and weed out those that do have two adults living at a property and should be paying the full rate.

The review is part of a move to ensure fairness to those correctly claiming the discount and to enable the best possible services for residents. It's also aimed at helping those who may be entitled to other benefits or discounts that they are not aware of.

Anyone who shouldn't be claiming the discount but is may face a fine of up to £280 and prosecution under the Theft Act 1968 if caught.

Councillor Ken Hawkins, cabinet member for resources, said: "We understand that people's circumstances change and they may have forgotten to tell us they are no longer the only adult in their home. If they tell us now they won't face prosecution or a fine.

"We want people to feel that they can be open and tell us about their change of circumstances and we'll work with them on how they can pay back any amounts owing to us.

"We all have a duty to pay for public services and it's only right and fair that we all pay what we should and not pass the burden onto our honest neighbours."

Residents who are legitimately claiming the discount need not worry, says the council.

Residents can call 0121 704 8100 or on line at www.soli-hull.gov.uk/benefits/spd.htm to let us know of any changes.

 

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