Freeman on the Land and challenges to the legality of Council Tax

Freeman on the Land, Sovereign Citizens, and similar groups advocate that they are bound only by contracts and laws they consent to. However, belonging to any of these groups does not exempt you from your obligation to pay Council Tax.

Council Tax is a statutory obligation. Its liability is not based on consent or contractual agreements with the Council. No person can decide to opt out of Council Tax liability.

Valid Council Tax discounts and exemptions are stipulated in the Local Government Finance Act 1992, which governs Council Tax liability. You can find out more on our website.

All enforcement and administration of Council Tax are detailed in The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. Any individual withholding Council Tax payment will face recovery actions.

For matters concerning law, including Council Tax liability, you should seek appropriate legal advice.

We will not respond to correspondence related to Council Tax avoidance tactics based on these groups or any similarly unfounded arguments.

Why you are required to pay Council Tax

The legal mandate to impose and collect Council Tax is governed by legislation including

As a Local Authority, we are statutorily obligated to bill and collect Council Tax. Once liability is established, you must pay as determined. Opting out is not an option.

Challenges to the collection of Council Tax

Groups opposing Council Tax payment, such as the Sovereign Citizen movement, frequently assert that they are not bound by statute law. However, refusal to pay Council Tax on these grounds does not absolve liability and may incur additional costs.

Claims of sovereignty or refusal to consent to personal data processing are not valid reasons for withholding Council Tax payment.

We are a local authority, not a for-profit company, and are mandated to collect Council Tax under statutory law.

Council Tax is a property-based tax, not a contractual obligation, and refusal to pay may lead to legal consequences.

Ancient laws like Magna Carta and admiralty law are not applicable to Council Tax liability in Scotland.

The Council does not apply admiralty law which provides the framework for international trade and has no relevance or bearing on the issue of liability for Council Tax.

Protection of Council employees

Threats to Council employees are unacceptable and will be treated as abuse. Appropriate legal action may be taken, including involving the Police.

Further advice

Following misleading advice advocating non-payment of Council Tax can escalate costs. We strongly recommend that payment is made in line with notices issued for payment of Council Tax.

The Advice Shop

If you are having financial difficulties, please call our debt advice and welfare rights services on 0131 200 2360.

Citizens Advice Edinburgh

Citizens Advice Edinburgh offer online self-help and a call back service on 0131 510 5510.

National Debtline

There is also free independent advice on managing Council Tax obligations from National Debtline. Call 0808 808 4000 Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm and Saturday from 9.30am to 1pm.