FOI Disclosure Log
09 January 2022
Please can you provide me with the following information under the Freedom Of Information Act 2000:-
- A list of all properties that have any credit balance on their business rates account
- The account number
- The account holder
- The property address including postcode
- Billing authority reference number
- The current balance
- Account start date
- Account end date
11 January 2022
Further to your request for Information. It is not possible to provide the Information you requested as it is covered by a Qualified Exemption and the Council considers that it is not in the Public Interest to release the Information.
The Council no longer publishes information about Business Rates accounts that currently have credit balances in response to Freedom Of Information requests.
Information in respect of credit balances is considered exempt under section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (prevention or detection of crime)
The Council holds this information but believes that its disclosure could result in fraudulent refund claims being made to the Council for these credit balances.
This follows a decision of the Information Commission dated 6 February 2017 in respect of a request made of Wandsworth Council in respect of a request for NNDR credit balances. The decision can be read on the ICO website.
Engaging section 31 requires a public interest test to be considered: there is a public interest in ensuring the transparency and efficiency of Council business, but there is wider public interest.
In favour of withholding the information as it is in the public interest to prevent fraudulent refund claims being made against the Council, and the cost that such fraud places on the public purse.
On this basis, the Council feels that the public interest in disclosing the information requested is outweighed by the public interest in preventing the risk of fraudulent claims being made.
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Section 17 this document acts as a Refusal Notice and the Information requested cannot be released.
If you have any queries or complaint about the processing of your request please do not hesitate to contact me.
Further Information and Guidance is available from the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioners Office
Telephone 01625 545 700
It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all correspondence related to this request.
Thank you for your request.