Tax fraud crackdown is pioneered by council

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FAREHAM Borough Council is leading a county-wide project to target people who commit council tax fraud.

It has joined forces with private firm Northgate in a bid to catch those fraudulently claiming a single-person council tax discount.

Single people are eligible to a 25 per cent discount on their annual council tax bill.

But councils suspect many are wrongly or illegally claiming it.

In Fareham alone this could be costing taxpayers as much as £130,000 a year.

Now using a combination of council information and other commercial data it will be checking claims to see if they are legitimate.

Other local authorities are now signing up to the scheme.

Council leader Seán Woodward said: ‘Most council tax discounts are being claimed honestly and legitimately, but there is a minority who believe they can cheat the system and claim discounts that they know they are not entitled to.

‘This is an excellent Hampshire-wide project that Fareham Borough Council is leading on.

‘Not only will this project help to remove ineligible or fraudulent claims and increase the council’s revenue, it will provide fairness for all our residents – helping to ensure those who are paying the correct level of council tax are not subsidising those who make fraudulent discount claims.’