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Council Tax - Privacy Notice

As part of the assessment and collection of Council Tax, St Helens Council will collect personal data about you and your family. 

What information do we hold?

  • Your contact details and other persons liable for Council Tax at a property.
  • Contact details for the owner of the property (if this is different).
  • Your Council Tax liability, discounts and payments made for each financial year.
  • If you pay by direct debit, we will hold your bank account details.
  • If you apply for a discount or an exception, we will hold information concerning the reason for the discount, including the name of the person(s) who it applies to.
  • If you apply for Council Tax Reduction, we will hold additional information such as your national insurance number, date of birth, household composition and income details.
  • Your online portal registration details if you register for an online account or e-billing.

Who is processing my data?

All personal data we hold is treated as confidential and will be held securely in accordance with data protection legislation.  It will only be used for the assessment and collection of Council Tax unless otherwise stated.

The Council has contracts with suppliers who may process your data on our behalf and are designated data processors. Contracts include: software suppliers; hybrid mail providers; scanning bureau; credit reference agencies; debt collection and enforcement agents.

Legal basis for processing your data

The legal basis for processing your data is the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (amended) and associated regulations. 

This includes The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, which place certain obligations on residents, owners and managing agents to provide information to determine who is liable for Council Tax. It also places additional obligations on Council Tax payers who are in arrears to supply personal information once the Council has obtained a Liability Order, or where an attachment of earnings order is in place. A Council Tax payer may be guilty of an offence and liable for a fine if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to supply the information in accordance with these regulations.    

The Council has a duty to protect public funds and prevent and investigate all allegations of fraud and error. This includes the use of powers contained within The Council Tax Reduction Scheme (Detection of Fraud and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013.

How do we use the information we hold about you?

We collect information about you:

  • to correctly assess your liability for Council Tax, including entitlement to any discounts, exemptions and reductions.
  • to recover any Council Tax due.
  • to allow the Council to communicate with you and to provide services appropriate to your needs including the take-up of relevant services.
  • to protect public funds, including: the prevention and detection of fraud.

Who we will share your information with and why

We will only disclosure information to other bodies where it is allowed by law. This includes:

  • Internal use – other services within St Helens Council for the purpose of holding accurate records in respect of residency or where it is allowed for by law. Your representatives - including but not limited to appointees, Members of Parliament, Councillors, where you have provided consent.
  • Courts – for recovery purposes.
  • Enforcement agents and collections agents authorised to collect debt in accordance with agreed contracts.
  • Credit reference agencies – appointed to undertake debt tracing or verify discounts and exemptions.
  • Other local authorities, in respect of the administration and collection of local taxes.
  • Fraud prevention – including the National Fraud Initiative and National Anti-Fraud Network.
  • Other contractors – where we have a legal agreement for them to process your data on our behalf.
  • Tribunals and ombudsman – in response to appeals or complaints you have made.
  • Police, law enforcement agencies and prosecuting authorities – for the prevention or investigation of crime.
  • Upon receipt of a Liability Order, we may seek recovery from other bodies including your employer or the Department for Work and Pensions.

Transfers out of EU

  • No data will be transferred or held outside the EU.

We will receive information from the following sources:

  • Other Council Tax payers and landlords.
  • Other local authorities responsible for administration of local taxation.
  • Department for Work and Pensions, if you claim Council Tax Reduction.
  • Other organisations, including government departments, where we have a legal right to request information or to verify information you have provided including employers and credit reference agencies.

How long do we retain your information for

  • Council Tax liability and collection information is retained for financial and audit purposes since April 1993. It is also required in the event that a Council Tax banding is retrospectively changed.
  • Applications forms and other information that you provide in respect of Council Tax liability will be retained for a maximum of six years.

Automated decision making

  • Automated decision making is where an electronic system uses personal information to make a decision without human intervention. This may occur in certain processes which meet defined criteria.  Applications that fail to meet defined criteria will be reviewed manually.  
  • If you are not satisfied with a decision, you have the right to ask for the decision to be reviewed. In certain circumstances, you may also be able to make an appeal to an independent tribunal.
  • Your data is not subject to automated profiling.

Your rights

For more information on your rights please visit: https://www.sthelens.gov.uk/dataprotection

These rights may be restricted subject to St Helens Council undertaking its statutory obligations in accordance with The Local Government Finance Act 1992 and other legislation.