Freeman on the land and council tax legality

Council Tax is a statutory tax on occupiers, and some owners, of homes in the council's area, it is not a charge for individual services provided. The amount of money we collect from council tax goes into a central fund so we can provide services to benefit the whole Newcastle City Council area. 

You cannot opt out of paying council tax

The 'Freeman on the land' movement and similar groups believe that people are only bound by the contracts and laws they have consented to. You do not have a choice as to whether you are liable for council tax and you cannot choose which laws to obey and which to ignore. Being a 'freeman' does not exempt anyone from paying council tax.

There are many misleading articles and templates on the internet about the legality of council tax. For example, some people believe that using very old fashioned laws means they don't have to pay council tax, but this is false information. You should seek proper legal advice before using them as a defence against council tax liability based on contract, consent and common law. 

There is no contract involved 

You do not need to have a signed legal contract agreeing to be held liable for council tax. In the UK, council tax liability is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This sets out a council's rights to demand payment of council tax to fund services, how council tax is calculated and who is liable to pay. Individual agreement to pay council tax is not necessary. Any reference to the Companies Act, Contracts Act, Bills of Exchange Act or other acts regarding companies or contracts are irrelevant. 

Your council tax bill

As soon as a council tax bill (demand notice) is sent, the debt is created, there is no need for a signature or agreement from the person responsible to pay council tax. Therefore it is important that you check your bill to ensure that you are paying the correct amount and that any reductions, discounts, disregards or exemptions have been applied.

Check you are paying the correct amount

If you do not pay, we will take action to recover the debt

In extreme cases of non payment of council tax, as in the Manchester Magistrates' court vs McKenzie (2015) case, an individual who attempted to use 'freeman on the land' defences in court ended up in prison for 40 days. 

If you have any concerns over the charging of council tax, please seek proper legal advice rather than relying on internet sources or forum statements which may be incorrect or misleading.

We do not need consent to collect unpaid council tax charges.

For more information on our recovery processes and help available if you are struggling with financial difficulties please click on the link below.

Trouble paying your council tax

Council tax legislation 

You can find the laws that cover council tax on the government website.

These include:

Acts and statutes

Acts of Parliament are statutes which set out the law. You can read more about Acts of Parliament below.

UK Parliament website.


We do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about council tax. However, we reserve the right to refuse to respond to long queries focusing on hypothetical arguments with no basis in the law.