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City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (22 001 275)

Category : Benefits and tax > Council tax

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 19 May 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about Mr X’s council tax bill. This is because the Council has agreed my invitation to provide a suitable remedy.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complained the Council gave him inaccurate advice about charging council tax on an empty property. He stated this led to him incurring £373.38 more council tax than he would have otherwise done.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We provide a free service but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we are satisfied with the actions an organisation has taken or proposes to take. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(7), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council. I also viewed relevant online information about council tax.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. The Council accepts it gave Mr X inaccurate advice. When the Council considered the complaint, it reduced Mr X’s council tax bill by £75 because of its fault. Mr X was dissatisfied as £75 was less than the £373.38 council tax he reported he had incurred because of the Council’s advice. He therefore complained to us. Mr X has not paid the £373.38.
  2. On the balance of probabilities, I am satisfied the inaccurate advice had the effect Mr X described. At my recommendation, the Council has agreed to remove all the £373.38 from Mr X’s council tax bill. As the Council has already reduced the bill by £75, it will now take off another £298.38 so the full £373.38 is removed from the bill.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because the Council has now agreed a suitable remedy for the injustice its fault caused.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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