Single Person Discount review
We are carrying out a review of all households within the London Borough of Redbridge claiming a single person discount on their council tax bill. Approx 24,000 Council Tax payers in the borough currently receive a 25% single person discount.
This exercise is being undertaken by Civica UK Ltd on behalf of the Council. Our aim is to provide residents with the best possible service during the review by offering clear instructions for completing the forms that should be returned.
However, sometimes, circumstances may not be so easy to explain. To help in this situation, we have included below, the most frequently asked questions that can arise throughout the period of the review.
"Why have I been sent this letter?"
Each year we receive lots of applications for single persons discount. The council has a duty to ensure that where a discount is awarded there is a genuine entitlement to that discount. We are simply verifying that you are still entitled to it. Preventing and detecting fraudulent claims ensures that the council can maximise the income needed to provide services in the borough and keep council tax to a minimum.
"How do I complete the form?"
Please fill out and return the form using the envelope provided.
If you are the only adult over the age of 18 occupying your property, simply tick the relevant box, sign and date the form at the bottom and return to the address at the bottom of the letter.
If there is more than one adult living at the property, please provide their name, date of birth, the date on which they moved in and their previous address.
If you think they should not be counted for Council Tax purposes, for example if they are an apprentice, have recently left school or are a student at college or University you should include them on the form and tell us why. Please include details of their date of birth, the name of the school, college or University they attend and if their term time address is away from home, their address whilst they are studying. Evidence may be required such as a bank statement to show that you are getting Child Benefit for the person over 18.
We may need to contact you again for more information so it is helpful if you provide us with an email address or telephone number. Or if you need assistance with what evidence you may need to provide phone 0300 330 1505.
"What happens if I don't complete the form?"
We will assume that your circumstances have changed and you are no longer entitled to the discount. Your single person discount will be removed and a revised demand will be sent to you.
"How will the review be carried out?"
Civica UK Ltd will match the Council Tax database with third party sources and specialist validation services. Addresses of those in receipt of a single person discount are passed to an agency that runs a search to match other data sources such as the electoral register or credit agreements. The agency then provides Civica UK Ltd with a list of possible adults at the property.
"What credit information do you hold on me?"
We do not hold any credit information. If you want to see your credit file, you should contact any of the major credit referencing agencies:
- TransUnion (formerly CallCredit)
"What happens if I return the form after the 14 day deadline given?"
As long as the form is returned within a reasonable amount of time, you will not be penalised. If the form is very late you may end up receiving a reminder letter. If you do receive a reminder letter, you should complete the form as previously requested.
What should I do if someone is using my address for correspondence only?
Please provide their name and address at which they actually live so that it can be verified. You can supply more information if you think it relevant to assist your claim.
I have already informed the Council of a change of circumstances. Do I need to complete the form?
Yes; please include all the details of your current situation.
I receive mail for the previous occupiers; what should I do about this?
You need to write on the envelope that the person no longer lives at the address and return it to the sender.
A friend stays with me three or four nights a week; does this mean I am no longer entitled to the discount?
If your friend keeps their belongings at your house it may be classed as their main residence and you may no longer be eligible for the discount. Some of the questions we may ask are:
- Where does your friend stay for the other nights?
- What are the other addresses that they stay at?
- What address do their doctor/dentist hold for them?
- Does your friend work away and stay at your address on their days off?
- You should provide as much information as possible - if necessary, you can use a separate sheet.
"Who are Civica UK Ltd?"
Civica UK Ltd provides services in revenues and benefits processing work for many local authorities throughout the country. Civica UK Ltd has a dedicated and specialist team of experienced Council Tax officers to carry out discount reviews.
"Why am I being asked to return my information to a Pershore address?"
All returned forms are being handled by Civica UK Ltd at their specialist mailing centre at Pershore. The information you provide will be electronically scanned onto your Council Tax account held within The London Borough of Redbridge systems.
"Does it breach Data Protection Legislation?"
No. Civica UK Ltd holds the data for the correct purposes i.e. the levying and collection of a tax. In the interest of efficiency and to provide a more integrated service, information provided for council tax purposes may be shared with other departments of Redbridge Council. The information may also be shared with other agencies in accordance with data protection legislation for the detection and prevention of fraud and crime. We retain information for six years from the last payment on the account when you move out from the borough unless there is an outstanding debt or a fraud investigation.
The accuracy of the information is important, if you change your address or email address or your circumstances change or if any of the information we hold is inaccurate please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can view our full privacy notice and information about your rights under the data protection legislation at www.redbridge.gov.uk.