Tuesday, January 17, 2006



I have been reading on Accountancyage.com that, followed questions from an MP before Christmas, the Valuation Office Agency have sent an Inspector to assess whether the Big Brother house is liable for council tax.

The article quotes the Financial Times as saying that experts think that it is probably not liable because the celebrities are only there for three weeks, which is only a short period. I am somewhat puzzled by this and wonder what experts have expressed this view. Section 2 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, which introduced the council tax, firmly states that “liability to pay council tax shall be determined on a daily basis”. It therefore seems to me irrelevant that the celebrities are only there for three weeks.

What is more relevant is that I suspect that the Big Brother house is not the main residence of the celebrities so the discount for second homes will apply. Perhaps of even more relevance is that I think it questionable whether the Big Brother’s house is a “dwelling” at all. It seems to me much more likely to be business premises and, as such, to be liable for business rates rather than council tax. I can certainly see no reason why it should not be bearing one or the other.

Robert W Maas


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