FOI Disclosure Log

Customer Request Details

24 January 2022

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

This is a request for Business Rate information, to be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We wish to obtain information relating to unclaimed business rate credit balances, including any write-on’s (credits written down to nil).

 

Please provide me with a list of credit balances (and write-on’s) currently held on business rate accounts within your Billing Authority, which remain due to be repaid to Limited Companies.  It would be helpful if the following information could be provided in each case:-

  • The name of the Company to whom any business rate credit balance (or write-on) remains payable;
  • The amount of the overpayment (write-on) which remains unclaimed;
  • The years(s) in which overpayment (write-on) was made;
  • The hereditament address.

 



East Herts Council Response

24 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
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 01625 545 700

www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all correspondence related to this request.

 

Thank you for your request.