Council Tax Exemption

I have an estate where there is a sole Executor who is sole beneficiary. The estate is subject to IHT. There is a property but Exor/Beneficiary doesn’t reside in it but occasionally stays there as she is sorting out the contents prior to sale. She has a main residence elsewhere and is registered for council tax at that other property.

The local authority have decided to charge her the full amount of council tax as the owner of the property on the basis that she has an equitable interest in the property. The Grant of Probate has only just been issued, the balance of IHT only paid in the past week and she is likely to sell the property in the next few months. My view is that as a beneficiary she doesn’t have any equitable interest in any asset in the estate.

Have any other members encountered this with a local authority before?

Samir Hussain

The Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992 applies here. On the face of it a Class F exemption should apply for 6 months from the Grant whilst the property remains in the hands of the Personal Representative. You refer to the PR as ‘owner of the property’ has there already been an Assent of the property to the PR as beneficiary?

C Coles, Waughs

It happens a lot with council tax regarding the Class F exemption.There’s always been debate with councils as to what point the ownership and the council tax liability will transfer etc (and thus when the Class F exemption may or not apply).

Take a look at the definition of ‘qualifying person’ under article 2 of the order and then look at the Class F definition in article 3. The exempt dwellings order was last updated in 1994 regarding the Class F - part 2(ii) of the Class F definition is possibly the most relevant.

If you do a text search for ‘Class F exemption’ on the Valuation Tribunal website you can see the decisions which have been made regarding eligibility - they can be a mixed bag

Craig Suddick
lgfa92 Council Tax consultancy