What is a completion notice?
A completion notice is issued when a newly constructed building (or existing building that has been split/merged) is considered complete for council tax purposes or for national non domestic rates (business rates). This may be prior to a completion notice that is issued by our planning or building control department.
Taxation legislation does not provide a definition of 'complete' in respect of new properties. However, with reference to case law, it is taken to apply to a property that is weatherproofed (roof on and windows and doors fitted), plastered internally and having internal walls and stairs. It need not be connected to utilities, or to have a bathroom and kitchen plumbed and fitted.
The billing authority is required to determine a completion day when a building is considered complete. It must also calculate the day in advance where the work that is still to be finished can reasonably be expected to be completed if that is within the next three months.
It is reasonable for us to consider that a professional builder or building company has the resources to build a property, to a standard where a completion notice can be issued, faster than someone working on a self build project. This will be reflected in the completion date that we issue.
What happens once a completion notice has been decided?
A completion notice must be served by the authority to the owner of the building, unless the valuation office says otherwise, this must be done in writing. The owner of the building for the purpose of a completion notice is "the person entitled to possession of the building".
A completion notice must state;
- The date of issue of the notice
- the building it relates to
- the day which the billing authority considers to be the completion date. This day is considered to be the day the building was completed, or that the work still left to be done can reasonably be expected to be completed, within three months from the notice date.
On service of a completion notice, we are always prepared to discuss the matter and arrive at a mutually acceptable date whenever possible.
What does a completion notice mean to me?
A completion notice in respect of council tax for an empty property means that from the date indicated 100% discount will be awarded for up to 1 month, provided the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished. Following the 1 month discount period, should the property remain unfurnished and unoccupied, a charge of 100% will be applied.
Can a completion date be withdrawn?
A completion date may be withdrawn by the billing authority by the service of a subsequent notice. However, where an appeal has been made against the original notice, the withdrawal of the completion notice is dependant upon the "written consent of the owner of the building to which the notice relates".
If the person on whom the completion notice is served agrees in writing that the day the billing authority has specified is correct, then that day will be the completion date. If an agreement is reached, the notice is deemed to have been withdrawn.
How will a completion notice be served?
A completion notice may be sent via:
- Letter to the last known place of the person concerned, or to an address for service that has been provided.
- In the case of an incorporated company or body, by delivering it to its secretary/ clerk at its registered, main office, or by sending it in a prepaid registered letter, recorded delivery, to secretary or clerk.
- Where the name/ address of the person to whom the notice is to be served cannot be found, the letter will then be sent by the description of 'Council Tax payer' of the building, describing the building and relating it to another part of the premises.
How do I appeal against a completion notice?
An appeal against a completion notice may be made, in the first instance to your Council and, if no agreement can be reached you have the right of appeal to the valuation tribunal on the grounds that the building has not been or cannot be completed within the given time.
This appeal to the valuation tribunal must be started within 4 weeks of the date of issue of the completion notice, or you will lose your right to appeal through the valuation tribunal. Forms for an appeal can be obtained direct from the tribunal office. Where an appeal is neither dismissed or withdrawn, the completion date shall stay the same unless the tribunal determines otherwise. A further appeal may be made to the Lands Tribunal.
Any valuation tribunal appeal against a completion notice must be started by serving a letter on the clerk at the valuation tribunal, within four weeks of the date of the completion notice. This must be accompanied by a copy of the completion notice and a statement of the grounds on which the appeal is to be made. The valuation officer must be provided with details of any agreements regarding the completion date that have been made between the billing authority and the person on whom the notice was served.
What happens while appealing against a completion notice?
Under the council tax regulations;
- Normal payments, as stated on the bill are required to be paid (if no exemption is applicable or it has expired).
- Reminders, summons and full council tax recovery measures can be taken for any unpaid sums due.
When the appeal is fully resolved then the account can be fully amended with any new completion date and the new charge calculated.