October 15, 2019 10.31 am This story is over 49 months old

Council tax fraud costs county council £1.3m

75,000 households were checked for council tax fraud

Around £1.3 million in council tax has been claimed incorrectly or fraudulently in a seven month period last year according to Lincolnshire County Council.

A review of 75,000 households across the county claiming single person discount on their council tax identified the amount being wrongly claimed.

The checks were run between April and October 2018. A few months was then given for people to respond about their claims, before the council started the recovery process earlier this year.

As a result of these checks, 3,441 discounts were taken away from people who were not entitled to them. This is now being reclaimed.

Enforcement action has been taken against 500 of these people as they have either failed to respond or have provided misleading information.

Councillor Alex Maughan, Lincolnshire County Council’s Counter-Fraud Champion, said: “Council tax fraud takes money away from local services, and is unfair on the vast majority of people who pay the correct bill.

“It’s important that we investigate and take appropriate action against people claiming discounts and exemptions that they are not entitled to.”

Since 2007, £4.7 million of fraud against councils has been detected, including procurement fraud, bank mandate fraud and financial mis-management.

Lucy Pledge, Head of Internal Audit & Risk Management at Lincolnshire County Council, added: “Lincolnshire councils are working together to tackle fraud by sharing resources and information. We have a zero tolerance approach to all forms of fraud, corruption and theft.

“Over the coming months, our next focus will be on procurement fraud, financial mismanagement and identifying where business rates have not been paid.”

Anyone wishing to report fraud involving a Lincolnshire council should contact the confidential hotline on freephone 0800 0853716 or by emailing [email protected].