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.