Non-Domestic Rates Service Privacy Notice

How we use your personal information 
 
Personal information, for the purpose of this Notice means data relating to living individuals which is held and processed by the Council in line with data protection rules.  Different rules apply to information held in respect of companies and other organisations and these are explained at the end of this Notice.
 
At West Somerset Council we take your privacy seriously and will only keep and use your personal information for reasons that the law requires or allows.  We are a data controller for the personal information we hold about you in relation to Non-Domestic Rates (sometimes referred to as business rates) administration and enforcement.  In order to comply with data protection legislation we want to be sure you understand how we use this information.
 
The purposes for which your data will be used are:-
 
  1. Ensuring that you are charged the correct amount of Non-Domestic Rates.
  2. Ensuring that you receive any reductions that you are entitled to.
  3. Determining any appeals received against Non-Domestic Rates liabilities including attendance at tribunals as necessary.
  4. Liaising with the Valuation Office Agency, as necessary, to enable them to maintain the Rating List.
  5. Issuing accurate and timely Non-Domestic Rate bills.
  6. Collecting, receiving and receipting payments made.
  7. Taking appropriate action when payment are not made on time, including the issue of recovery documents and notices and referring cases to courts as deemed necessary.
  8. Appointing and engaging agents and specialists in the enforcement of unpaid Non-Domestic Rates
  9. Preventing and detecting fraud and error within the Non-Domestic Rates, Council Tax system and/or Benefit system.
We must do this in accordance with legislation and so the processing is necessary for compliance with legal obligations.
 
There are very many different regulations covering the administration Non-Domestic Rates.  The main rules are contained in the following statutes and subsequent amendments to them;
 
  • Local Government Finance Act 1988
  • Local Government and Housing Act 1989
  • The Non-Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement)(Local Lists) Regulations 1989
  • The Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Property) Regulations 1989
  • Local Government Finance Act 1992
  • Local Government Finance and Rating Act 1997
  • Local Government Act 2003
  • Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007
  • Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Property) (England) Regulations 2008
  • The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013
  • The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014
  • The Taking Control of Goods (Certification) Regulations 2014
This list is not intended to be exhaustive.
 
We are required by law to hold and use some of your information for:
 
  • The administration, recovery and enforcement of Non-Domestic Rates
  • Preventing and detecting fraud and error within the Non-Domestic Rates system schemes or other areas.
We may share your information with;
 
  • Other agencies directly involved in administration, recovery and enforcement of Non-Domestic Rates (this would typically be the Valuation Office Agency, and agents or specialists acting for the Council in fulfilling its statutory duty)
  • Other councils or organisations as part of the national fraud initiative.
Otherwise, we will only share your data if it is in the public interest to do so and if the law requires or allows us to.  Examples of where we may share your data are;
 
  • Notifying emergency services of properties that become unoccupied and therefore at risk of fire or criminal damage.
  • Notifying relevant Council officers of properties becoming unoccupied, in order that they may assist the owner to bring it back into use.
  • Providing appropriate authorities with details of the person responsible for a property that has been considered to be unsafe.
We only keep this data for the time specified in our retention schedule or as required by law. 
 
Your personal data is processed (including storage) within the European Economic Area only.
 
As far as possible, we will apply the same principles to a company or organisation’s data as we would to an individual.  However, legislation (particularly the Freedom of Information Act 2000) requires the Council to disclose information which we hold.  In particular we are regularly required to disclose the following information in respect of all businesses on our rating records;
 
  • Property info (such as address, property reference, rateable value etc)
  • Name of liable party
  • Amounts of rates payable
  • Any reliefs awarded
  • Whether the property is occupied or vacant.
  • Any accounts which have been overpaid.
This information is therefore made available on our Open Data Finance page.
 
Personal data about ratepayers who are individuals is redacted.
 
Data protection law provides you with certain rights, however not all of these rights will be available to you in all situations, particularly where we process your information as part of one of our statutory duties.  Where we are under a legal duty to use data for a particular purpose you will not have the right to prevent it being used in that way.
 
A full list of the rights you may have, under data protection law, is given in the main privacy notice at the top of this web page.
 
If you wish to complain about how your personal information has been handled by West Somerset Council then please contact the Data Protection Officer at DPO@westsomerset.gov.uk in the first instance.  If you are not satisfied you can submit a formal complaint to the Council via our online complaints form.
 
Finally you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, Tel: 0303 123 1113 or you can visit their website at ico.org.uk.
 
As explained at the start of this notice the Council must comply with different rules with regards to information held in respect of companies and other organisations, to which Data Protection rules do not apply.