Council tax

Council Tax and Business Rates Privacy Notice

We keep the Council Tax and Business Rates Privacy Notice under review. It was last reviewed and updated in February 2020.

If you have any questions about this Privacy Notice contact the council’s Data Protection Officer.

View the Privacy and transparency information for all of the City of York Council (CYC).


Personal data

We collect, process and store your personal data for the purposes of billing, collecting and enforcing council tax and business rates.

We collect information about you when you fill in one of our forms or contact us about your Council Tax and Business Rates, either in writing, over the phone or face to face in one of our Gateways. We may also obtain information about you from third parties, including previous owners of your premises, landlords, estate agents and solicitors, where this is necessary in order to administer and enforce collection of council tax and business rates.

In order to carry out this purpose, we collect and obtain the following personal data:

  • name
  • address

We may also need to ask for:

  • telephone number(s)
  • email address
  • employer details
  • income details
  • income and expenditure details
  • bank details
  • household composition and circumstances
  • National Insurance Number
  • property ownership details
  • details of other properties owned
  • tenancy information
  • previous addresses
  • physical or mental health (Special Category Data)

Special Category Data

The law treats some types of personal data as ‘special’ because the information requires more protection due to its sensitivity. We'll use information about your physical or mental health, or disability status to administer discounts and exemptions. If you're in arrears, we may also use this information to determine whether you are vulnerable and tailor our recovery methods accordingly.

See further details about how we define personal data and non-personal data.


Collecting personal data

We may monitor and record electronic communications (website, email and phone conversations) for a number of reasons such as:

  • staff training
  • records of conversations
  • the detection, investigation and prevention of crime

We will inform you if your call is being recorded or monitored.

Emails that we send to you or you send to us, may be retained as a record of contact and your email address stored for future use in accordance with our retention periods. If we need to email sensitive or confidential information to you, we may perform checks to verify the correct email address and may take additional security measures.

See further details about the steps we take when we collect your personal data.


Using personal data

We'll only use your personal data in accordance with data protection legislation, and for the purposes stated in this privacy notice.

We'll:

  • only ask for what is necessary for the purposes of billing, collecting and enforcing council tax and business rates. This includes contacting you to remind you of non payment of council tax or business rates
  • protect it and make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t
  • ensure you know if you have a choice about giving us personal data
  • only share your personal data with other City Of York Council departments or with external partners, agencies and contractors involved in delivering services on our behalf
  • make sure we don’t keep it for longer than is necessary
  • delete or destroy it securely when we no longer have a need to keep it

We ask that you:

  • give us accurate information
  • tell us as soon as possible of any changes
  • tell us as soon as possible if you notice mistakes in the information we hold about you

From time to time, we may conduct or ask you to take part in a survey to get your feedback, comments and opinions to help us improve our services. We will only do this where we have your explicit consent to contact you for this purpose.

See further details about how we use your personal data.


Sharing personal data

We don't disclose or share sensitive or confidential information without your explicit consent except where disclosure is required by law, or where we have good reason to believe that failing to do so, would put you or someone else at risk.

We may monitor and record electronic communications (website, email, phone conversations and text messages) for a number of reasons such as records of conversations or detection, investigation and prevention of crime. We'll inform you if your call is being recorded or monitored.

Emails or text messages that we send to you or you send to us may be retained as a record of contact and your email address or mobile telephone number stored for future use in accordance with our retention periods. If we need to email sensitive or confidential information to you, we may perform checks to verify the correct email address and may take additional security measures.

Any information we use in presentations or reports will be anonymised and will not identify any individuals. For example a report on the collection of the council tax and business rates payments will not feature any of your personal information.

Information sharing: our partners

We may share personal information about you with the following organisations:

Northgate Public Services: Northgate Public Services is a company which may processes amendments to Council Tax and Business Rates liability on behalf of the Council.

The Land Registry: To check ownership of properties.

External enforcement agents: If you have accrued arrears and we have been unsuccessful in recovering monies owed or you have absconded without leaving a forwarding address. Our Current enforcement agents are:

  • Bristow and Sutor
  • Jacobs
  • Greenhalgh Kerr
  • Wilkin Chapman

Datatank: We have a statutory duty to monitor and review all council tax discounts to maintain accurate records. We carry out regular reviews of households claiming Single Occupancy Discount. We are supported in the Single Occupancy Discount review process by our partner company; Datatank.

Local Government Ombudsman: We may share information when requested as part of any ongoing complaint investigation.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service: If we are required to take legal action to recover monies you owe.

Experian Public Services: We may share your details to verify your entitlement to Council Tax Discounts, or to trace individuals who owe arrears. We may verify your personal and financial situation to ascertain your ability to pay arrears of council tax, where appropriate. We may also share details to enable us to better tailor our services to where they are most needed.

Valuation Tribunal and HM Courts and Tribunal Service: We may share information when requested as part of an appeal.

Cabinet Office: We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative, a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise. This data may then be passed on to other public bodies to investigate any matches.

Department for Work and Pensions: We may share your details for the purpose of requesting an attachment to your benefits.

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs: we may share your details for the purpose of recovering unpaid Council Tax.

External auditors: to ensure correct administration of Council Tax and Business Rates legislation.

Information sharing: software providers

Our software providers may have to have access to our Council Tax and Business Rates system on occasion where there is a fault, to perform necessary upgrades or to host information on our behalf. The following have access:

Northgate Public Services: We use Northgate Public Services Revenues and Benefits for the administration of Council Tax and Business Rates. We also use them for our online services and hosting our online Council Tax and Business Rates forms to enable you to notify the local authority of changes that affect your liability or payment of Council Tax and Business Rates.

Govtech Solutions Limited: We use Govtech Solutions Limited to process and cleanse information you provide to the local authority via our online services regarding your liability or payment of Council Tax and Business Rates.

Customer Records Management: We use CRM to store, record, maintain and profile all customer service requests, transactions and digital requests some online forms services for council tax.

Anite: Document Imaging System for electronically storing and viewing information received and issuing manual & digital correspondence.

Pinnacle Solutions: We use Pinnacle Solutions to send text messages for Council Tax Recovery.

Information sharing: City of York Council

We may share your information with other departments within the Council, if there is a legal basis to do so. These services currently include:

The Audit and Counter Fraud Team: in order to prevent and detect fraud and help protect public monies.

Business Intelligence and the Policy Office: to inform decisions on the equality impact on protected groups so that elected members can make an informed decision on any disproportionate impact from proposals or changes to policy.

Welfare Rights Service or Debt Advice Service: with your consent we may share some information to enable these services to assist you where to negotiate payment plans if you are experiencing difficulty.

Adult Social Care Client Financial Affairs: To support the processing of fairer charging assessments.

Electoral Register: to support the administration of the electoral register.

Information sharing: other agencies

We may share your information with your employer for the purpose of requesting an attachment to your earnings in the event of council tax debt.

If you provide another person or organisation authority to discuss or to act on your behalf in council tax and business rates related matters, we may share information with them. In all cases we would require evidence that you had granted authority before any information is shared.

We may be asked to provide access to personal information by relevant authorities with regulatory powers such as the police, government departments and other local authorities for the purposes of the prevention or detection of crime and/or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders without the permission of the data subject. The Council will consider such requests on a case by case basis.

As well as information collected directly from you, we may also obtain information from:

  • letting Agents: To provide confirmation of occupation and vacation dates for tenants
  • solicitors: If they obtain relevant information in relation to you whilst acting on our behalf
  • landlords: To provide confirmation of occupation and vacation dates for tenants
  • Department for Work and Pensions: confirmation of any deductions from benefits in place
  • Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs: confirmation of any deductions from benefits in place
  • credit reference agencies: to verify your personal and financial information to ascertain your ability to pay arrears of council tax
  • other council services: To keep our records up to date and to help prevent and identify fraud

Sharing data under Data Protection legislation

We do not disclose or share sensitive or confidential information without your explicit consent except where disclosure is required by law, or where we have good reason to believe that failing to do so, would put you or someone else at risk.

We may be required or permitted, under data protection legislation, to disclose your personal data without your explicit consent, for example if we have a legal obligation to do so, such as for:

  • law enforcement
  • fraud investigations
  • regulation and licensing
  • criminal prosecutions
  • court proceedings

We must protect public funds and may use personal data and data-matching techniques to detect and prevent fraud, collect taxes and ensure public money is targeted and spent in the most appropriate and cost-effective way. To do this, your personal data may be shared with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, including the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs, the Police and other local authorities.


Our legal basis for collecting and sharing personal data

City of York Council has a statutory responsibility to provide services that administer and enforce the collection of local taxation. Therefore the legal basis we rely on under GDPR for processing your personal data is:

  • necessary for compliance with a legal or statutory obligation

Other legislation also applies to the provision of the Council Tax Service as follows:

  • Local Government Finance Act 1992
  • The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 (as amended)
  • Digital Economy Act 2017
  • Digital Government Regulations 2018
  • Local Government Finance Act 1988
  • Local Government Act 2003
  • Local Government Finance Act 2012
  • Localism Act 2011

If you fail to provide certain information when requested, you may be committing a criminal offence and we may as a result be prevented from complying with our legal obligations to administer and collect outstanding monies owed to the Council. Similarly in not providing your information you may find yourself subject to legal and debt recovery proceedings.


Retaining personal data

We will keep your personal data for 7 years after your last contact with us. This means if there is no activity on your account, we will delete or destroy your personal data securely.

At the end of the retention period, we may pass any relevant information to the City Archives where it is required or appropriate to do so.


Further processing of personal data

If we wish to use your personal data for a new purpose, not covered by this Privacy Notice, then we'll provide you with a new notice.

The new notice will:

  • explain this new use before we start the processing
  • set out the relevant purposes and processing conditions

Where and whenever necessary, we'll seek your consent to the new processing, if we start to use your personal data for a purpose not mentioned in this Privacy Notice.

See further details about the further processing of personal data.


Personal data in online payments

The personal data you give to us when using our online payment system will only be used for the recording of your payment. We'll ensure that it is used for no other purpose and is not disclosed to a third party such as other companies or individuals, unless required to do so by law for the prevention of crime and the detection of fraud.

We'll hold it securely and only for as long as is needed. It will then be deleted in line with our Retention and Disposal Policy and Procedures.

See further details about how we process your personal data in connection with online payments.


Your rights relating to personal data

When we collect your personal data we'll tell you how we are going to use it. Where we process your personal data, you have a number of rights under data protection law.

See further details of your rights relating to personal data.


Also see

Data Protection Officer

West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Telephone: 01904 554145