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Increase in council tax fraud claims

Increase in council tax fraud claims
Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

According to fraud prevention service Cifas, there has been an increase in people fraudulently claiming the council tax single person discount.

Households with only one adult living at the address can apply to receive a 25% discount on their council tax bill.

But according to recent research by Cifas, one in five (21%) people say they, or someone they knew, had fraudulently claimed the discount in the past 12 months – an increase from 19% in 2022.

As many UK households prepare for an average rise of 5% in their council tax bill this year, the research revealed that 10% of respondents thought falsely claiming the single-person discount was a ‘reasonable’ fraud to commit, with 12% believing it to be legal. Those between 25 and 34 years old were most likely to dishonestly claim the discount (37%).

Cifas’ survey also found single-person-discount fraud to be one of the most common first-party fraud offences committed in the past 12 months overall, alongside falsifying CV qualifications (21%) and gaming chargeback fraud (21%).

Rachael Tiffen, director of public sector for Cifas, said: “UK people are facing various pressures during a cost-of-living crisis, which may be forcing many individuals to look for ways in which to reduce their monthly bills. However, defrauding the public purse and abusing systems that are specifically designed to help households and fund local communities should never be the answer.

“First-party fraud remains a crime – it is not victimless, nor is it justifiable. It not only results in serious and long-lasting consequences for the person involved, but also has critical knock-on effects on residents who rely on the council for crucial help.”

Related: Majority of local authorities to raise council tax by maximum allowed – Your Money