Council tax

What information do we need?

Argyll and Bute Council will act as the ‘Data Controller’ for the personal data you provide to us. The Data Protection Officer, who is responsible for ensuring personal data is managed in accordance with data protection legislation, can be contacted as follows:

Address: Iain Jackson, Governance and Risk Manager, Argyll and Bute Council, Governance and Law, Kilmory, Lochgilphead PA31 8RT. 

Email:  Iain.Jackson@argyll-bute.gov.uk   or  data.protection@argyll-bute.gov.uk  

Telephone:  01546 604188 or 01546 605522

As part of the Council Tax billing and collection process, Argyll and Bute Council will collect data about you and members of your household where appropriate. You will usually have to pay Council Tax if you are aged over 18 years and own or rent a home.

The information collected includes:

  • Name and current address
  • Other property addresses if different
  • Household make up in order to accurately apply relevant discounts, exemptions, disregard and reductions, and other relevant information

We will use this data to process your application and may check some of the information with other sources, such as the electoral roll, or credit reference agencies to ensure this data is accurate.

We are required to collect special category information in some instances, such as information about your health. This is to allow an assessment of any application for discount under the category, disabled banding reduction or for exemption for being severely mentally impaired.

Who will process your information?

The personal information you give to us through any of our forms relating to council tax, and any other personal information we hold about you in this context will be processed by Argyll and Bute Council staff. This is for the administration of your council tax account and any benefits, reductions or discounts you are entitled to.

Do you have to provide your information?

Yes you have a statutory duty to provide your information under the Local Government Finance Act 1992. Without the correct information we may charge you the incorrect rate of council tax and you may not receive the benefits, reductions or discounts which you are entitled to.

If we ask you to provide specific information in order to assess the correct amount of council tax payable and you do not provide this information we may fine you. You could be fined up to £500 for not supplying the Council with information or giving the Council wrong information that affects your Council Tax liability. Deliberately providing false information in order to avoid or reduce council tax is also a crime.

How will we use the information we hold about you?

Your information is processed to allow us to:

  • Meet our legal obligation to bill and collect council tax
  • Administer council tax accurately by setting up your account for billing purposes
  • Check that the information provided is accurate
  • Process your application for Council Tax exemption or discounts
  • Comply with legal obligations in relation to the prevention and detection of crime including fraud
  • Protect public funds
  • Perform any statutory enforcement duties in relation to the collection of council tax where appropriate.

What is the legal basis for us to process your information?

Legislation requires local authorities to bill and collect council tax. The legislation that requires local authorities to collect and administer tax from its residents is as follows;

  • Local Government Finance Act 1992.
  • Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
  • The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) (Scotland) Regulations 1992
  • The Council Tax Reduction (Scotland) Regulations 2012

The law gives certain types of information special significance because of its sensitivity e.g. health information. If we process this type of information about you in relation to Council tax we do so on the basis that it is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest.

There are laws that give the Council powers via mandatory and permissive gateways to share information such as;

  • Schedule 2 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, which allows councils to use Council Tax data to identify empty properties
  • Section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 allowing anyone to pass information to certain authorities if it is necessary or expedient for the purposes of any provision of the act
  • Section 17 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 allowing disclosures under the statutory provisions in Schedule 4 for the purposes connected with the criminal investigation and prosecution, where such disclosures are proportionate
  • The National Audit Act 1983 imposing a legal obligation on public bodies to share relevant information with the National Audit Office.
  • Part 2A of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 which concerns the sharing of data for the National Fraud Initiative carried out by Audit Scotland.

Who will we share your information with?

We will share your information with agencies as necessary for the performance of tasks carried out in the public interest under the data protection legislation. This is for the detection, prevention and prosecution of fraud and criminal activity. Examples are;

  • Other departments of the Council
    • The Benefit section
    • Non-domestic rates (NDR) section for properties going between NDR valuation roll and the council tax register
    • Landlord data may be shared with Environmental Health section for homes in multiple occupation
    • Housing, Planning and Building Control in relation to properties under repair and empty dwellings
    • Other organisations or public bodies
      • The Department of Works and Pensions (DWP)
      • HM Revenues and Customs
      • The Police
      • Scottish Water in respect of our duty to collect Water and Waste Water charges
      • Our contracted Sheriff Officers for the purpose of performing any of our statutory enforcement duties
      • To make any disclosures required by law such as disclosure to the Office of National Statistics
      • LoCTA, The National Anti-Fraud Network (NAFN), Datatank and other bodies responsible for detecting or preventing fraud or auditing or administering public funds

Anonymised data is shared with the Scottish Government and other bodies for research purposes.

We will not share your information with other organisations unless there is a legal basis to do so. However, there may be certain circumstances where we would share without your consent, such as where we are required to do so by law to safeguard public safety and in risk of harm or emergency situations. Otherwise outside of the conditions stated, we will not share your information as detailed unless you have provided your written consent to do so. 

How long will we keep your information?

The data will be held as long as the account is live and on closed accounts for up to 6 years after the account has closed. We keep this data to ensure the accuracy of council tax liability administration. Data is deleted via an automated batch program which will be controlled by authorised users only.

Do we transfer your information outside the UK?

We do not transfer personal information outside the UK.

Your rights

When you provide information to the Council, you will have the following rights:

  • to withdraw consent at any time, where the lawful basis specified above is consent
  • to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office – see below for details
  • to request access to your personal data – please contact the Data Protection Officer if you wish to submit a request.
  • to data portability, where the Legal basis specified above is i) consent or ii) performance of a contract
  • to request rectification or erasure of your personal data, as far as the legislation permits – please contact the Data Protection Officer and provide details of what data you wish to be rectified or erased.

You can find out more about your rights in relation to data protection here: www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/data-protection or from the Data Protection Officer by telephone or in writing, as detailed above.

Information Commissioner’s Office

The ICO is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights. 

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Telephone:  0303 123 1113  
Email:  casework@ico.org.uk

The Information Commissioner’s Office – Scotland
45 Melville Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7HL
Telephone:  0303 123 1115 
Email:  Scotland@ico.org.uk