Council Tax - Privacy notice
Who we are and what we do
The council is a data controller under the Data Protection Legislation as we collect and process personal information about you in order to provide Council Tax services and meet our statutory obligations.
We maintain databases to ensure efficient and effective billing, collection and recovery of Council Tax.
This notice explains why we ask for your personal information, how that information will be used and how you can access your records.
Any questions regarding our privacy practices should be sent to:
Data Protection Officer (DPO)
West Oxfordshire District Council
Council Offices, Witney, OX28 1NB
Tel: 01993 861194
Why we need your information and how we use it
In accordance with prevailing legislation, Local Authority Tax collectors are obliged to levy and collect taxes. The legislation that requires Local Authorities to collect and administer tax from its residents is as follows, the list is not exhaustive:
- The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992
- The Local Government Finance Act 1992
- Local Government Act 2003 – section 85.
We use your information collected for purposes of administering Council Tax setting up your account for billing purposes, processing discounts, exemptions etc.
What type of information is collected from you
You will usually have to pay Council Tax if you’re 18 or over and own or rent a home.
In order to administer our services we collect the following information from you:
- telephone number
- National Insurance Number
- bank details
We will only ask for personal information that is appropriate to enable us to deliver our services. In some cases, you can refuse to provide your details if you deem a request to be inappropriate. However, you should note that this may impact on our ability to provide some services to you.
Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)
Information may be shared with other services at our partner Authorities such as Housing Benefit. It may also be shared with other agencies in accordance with prevailing Data Protection Legislation for the detection and prevention of fraud and crime.
Under section 85 of the Local Government Act 2003, information gathered as part of the Council Tax billing process will be shared with the Housing Department for the purposes of bringing empty homes back into use.
By law we must give out some information if we are asked - for example by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenue & Customs.
We are required by law to participate in National Fraud Initiative (NFI) data matching exercises and housing benefit and council tax reduction information may be provided to the Cabinet Office for NFI purposes and will be used for cross-system and cross-authority comparison for the prevention and detection of fraud.
We will also use the information for the purpose of performing any of its statutory enforcement duties. It will make any disclosures required by law and may also share this information with other bodies responsible for detecting/preventing fraud or auditing/ administering public funds. We may share the details with other organisations that handle public funds and assist in the processing of other benefits.
We can share information collected with other departments in the council, other local authorities the Department for Work and Pensions.
How long we keep your information (retention period)
We retain data for our current taxpayers up to 6 years after the last payment. For closed accounts from the start of council Tax in 1993 up to 6 years from the current tax year, the data will be anonymised but the accounts will remain accessible if an adjustment needs to be made due to a revaluation of current bands.
For tax payers who no longer live in the district, we retain your information for six years after the last payment. If an account has an outstanding debt, we will retain your information for six years after full payment.
If the claim has an active fraud investigation, we will retain all information until 6 years after the end of the fraud investigation and conclusion of court action.
How we protect your Information
We will not transfer your personal data outside the EU without your consent.
We have implemented generally accepted standards of technology and operational security in order to protect personal data from loss, misuse, or unauthorised alteration or destruction.
Please note however that where you are transmitting information to us over the internet this can never be guaranteed to be 100% secure.
For any payments which we take from you online we will use a recognised online secure payment system.
We will notify you promptly in the event of any breach of your personal data which might expose you to serious risk.
You have rights under the Data Protection Legislations:
- to access your personal data
- to be provided with information about how your personal data is processed
- to have your personal data corrected
- to have your personal data erased in certain circumstances
- to object to or restrict how your personal data is processed
- to have your personal data transferred to yourself or to another business in certain circumstances
- you have the right to be told if we have made a mistake whilst processing your data and we will self report breaches to the Commissioner.
How you can access, update or correct your information
As far as Taxation is concerned you will find us approaching you to review the data we hold. There is no set pattern but typically every year or so we will review aspects of the data we hold.
The Data Protection Legislation allows you to find out what information is held about you, on paper and computer records. This is known as ‘right of subject access’ and applies to your Council Tax data along with all other personal records. For more information see our data protection page.
If you wish to see a copy of your records you should contact the Data Protection Officer. You are entitled to receive a copy of our records free of charge, within a month.
In certain circumstances access to your records may be limited, for example, if the records you have asked for contain information relating to another person.
The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly. We are working to make our record keeping more efficient. In the meantime, if you change your address or email address, or if any of your circumstances change or any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date, email us or write to us at:
Revenues and Benefits Service
West Oxfordshire District Council
Council Offices, Witney, OX28 1NB
Tel: 01993 861000
If you would like to know more about how we use your information or if for any reason you do not wish to have your information used, email email@example.com.
You can also complain to the Information Commissioner.
We reserve the right to update this privacy notice from time to time by publishing a new version here on our website.