Council tax crackdown in Dumfries and Galloway

05/01/22. PA stockshot of a council tax bill. PA Images.

A council tax clampdown is due to come into force because too many people in Dumfries and Galloway have been claiming discounts they are not entitled to.

Council chiefs recently admitted that there has been an ongoing issue for around 15 years where householders have been awarded a single person discount on council tax that they are not eligible for.

With 25 per cent chopped off each single person household tax bill, this has resulted in a "significant reduction in council tax collection", according to council auditors.

Speaking at the council's audit, risk and scrutiny committee, Kevin Geraghty, the council's internal audit manager, said:

Internal auditors discovered found that the council tax department's planned review of single-person discounts had been delayed, which followed on from the non-completion of an external review the previous year.

The pressures of the pandemic on staff had disrupted this work, however auditors have now recommended that a full review be scheduled.

Mr Geraghty explained that people claiming council tax reductions who are not entitled to it can result in a large amount of money going uncollected.

Helen Drinkwater, the council's principal revenues officer, assured councillors that work is already underway to address the council tax problem.

She said: "We are doing another single person discount review. I'm currently working on a briefing paper that's going to be sent to all members explaining what the proess will be.

"You should hopefully receive that in the next few weeks."