Councils Use Common Sense to Collect Council Tax

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GeoPlace works with local authorities to build the National Address Gazetteer. Local authorities used this data to link datasets and identify additional properties that should be paying council tax but as yet haven't.

The Department of Communities and Local Government stated on 3 July that 'Council Tax collection rates remain high but councils failed to collect £2.5 billion of Council Tax last year'. Council collection rates have been around 97% for the last few years against properties that Council Tax departments know about.

GeoPlace co-ordinates a national programme of work to help councils bring together address datasets from across their organisations into one corporate address database which is used as a single view of properties in each council.

Councils such as Salford City Council, Leeds City Council, Newport City Council and Cardiff City Council have used their address databases to identify properties that should be paying council tax but as yet haven’t.

Each council’s local address list is constantly updated with information such as new builds, splits, mergers and demolitions. In the councils mentioned above, the local address and Council Tax teams share their address intelligence to ensure the council has maximum understanding of changes and to ensure residents pay the appropriate council tax revenues and receive the services they require.

In Salford, this arrangement led to outstanding Council Tax queries being reduced by 43% over a 5 month period. In Leeds, the team have located 58 assessments in total (44 council tax properties and 14 business rate eligible properties) which equates to a total annual revenue of £92,826.27. This includes seven assessments that were back dated for five years or more. The highest single assessment was for a missing office building which pays an annual figure of £11,076.00.

In Wales, increased revenue from identification of missing properties – over £100,000 from Newport and Cardiff alone, with a further £160,000 from the nine additional participating local authorities. Future improvements, based on the evidence of projected benefits, are likely to be over £500 000 across Wales – potentially in excess of £7 million when extended throughout England and Wales.

The address data held by councils such as Leeds, Salford, Newport and Cardiff is provided under contract to GeoPlace and placed into the National Address Gazetteer. Ordinance Survey uses this data to create the AddressBase® range of products and make them available to the whole of the public sector. This means that the public sector uses one definitive list of addresses to join up information for service improvement, efficiency and delivery. The work in Leeds, Salford, Newport and Cardiff is one example of local use of the data.

Department of Communities and Local Government
Official figures reveal ‘room to improve’ Council Tax collection -

Case studies from Leeds, Salford and Newport are available at:

Leeds City Council – the benefits of data matching
Salford City Council – making the most of its knowledge
Welsh authorities to generate £500 000 of additional revenue

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Gayle Gander
GeoPlace LLP
+44 20 7630 4600
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