Sunday, December 11, 2005

Shut that Door

Householders who close the door on or refuse to cooperate with bureaucrats sent to check their property for features that will increase their council tax bills could be fined £500 and receive a criminal record.

The fines will be imposed on anybody who "intentionally obstructs" Valuation Office Agency inspectors in their effort to record details of millions of homes. The move is likely to create more council tax rebels who refuse to pay fines, clog the courts and bring further chaos to the system.

Parliamentary answers given by Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister, show that anybody who refuses to let inspectors in could face a criminal charge.

She said: "A person who intentionally obstructs a valuation officer commits an offence and may be liable to a fine not exceeding level two [£500] on the standard scale."

Other parliamentary answers by the Government show that the valuation will also be used to assess liability for inheritance or capital gains tax.

Parliamentary replies show that the exercise is now under way. The revaluation carried out in Wales suggests that, in England, owners of a Band D property will face an extra £267 on their council tax bill if they go up two bands.

Ed: Now if everyone in Thanet shut their door to the inspectors, I wonder what the government would do then.


Anonymous said...

Of course, no responsible person could directly recommend non-cooperation. However, when people feel that taxation is being unfairly applied, as in the case previously of the poll tax, then they will often take action themselves.

You may all recall that labour party activists positively encouraged poll tax non payment and protest. Here is an example of where government crosses the line of reasonable approaches to taxation, where investment to improve yourself is penalised, sending out totally the wrong message to all. Gordon Browns desperation for yet more tax revenue for his bloated and wasteful public sector spending will in the end provoke a strong reaction from the population at large.

It is one of the reasons why David Camerons shyness about selling smaller government is, in the end, a mistake. The view from the towns and shires on this issue is very different to the view from the urban upper middle class elite, whose numbers these days include the Blunkett and Blairs, and may to some extent explain the unanimity of view that seems to be forming at the top on many of these issues.

Chris Wells

Anonymous said...

Oh Dear, it IS getting like NAZI Germany! The Councils are really taking everything to the borders of respectability. I do NOT agree to these measures being taken and used against my direct wishes, but I suppose I will have to submit to them, for fear of being shot or worse!
They are going to put Council Tax up anyway, so what is the use of going against them (swine).

Anonymous said...

Don't answer the door. When I get more for my money I'll pay more.