Council Tax privacy notice

Reading Borough Council complies with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR and is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as a Data Controller.

ICO Registration Number: Z5495098

This Privacy Notice explains how personal information is going to be used, what for, who it will be shared with and why.

Who we are and what we do

We maintain databases to ensure efficient and effective billing, collection and recovery of Council Tax.

Reading Borough Council
Civic Offices
Bridge Street

Phone: 0118 937 3727

Directorate: Resources
Service: Finance
Team: Revenues and Benefits

Why do we collect personal information about you?

We collect and hold personal information relating to Council Tax liability.

We use this information to:

  • To manage and collect council tax, business rates, BIDS and other monies owing to the council
  • To provide you with necessary and appropriate services
  • To help us to develop and improve our services
  • To complete and send reports to Government departments
  • To do the things that the law says we have to do
  • To prevent and detect crime

We process personal data because it is necessary to comply with our legal obligations.

  • Local Government Finance Act 1992
  • Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

For more information visit our Council Tax webpages.

When do we collect personal information?

We collect information from you the service user via online forms, hard copy documents, e-mail, by telephone or through face-to-face discussions.  This information will be collected from either you directly as the data subject, or from a representative acting on your behalf, for example a landlord or estate agent.  We may also receive information from the Valuation Office (VOA), Enforcement Agents and other Local Authorities.

Some examples of the forms that may be submitted are online change of address forms, Discount or Exemption application forms, and Council Tax Support Application.

What type of information is collected from you?

You will usually have to pay Council Tax if you’re 18 or over and own or rent a home.  The information that we collect and process for administering Council Tax is;

  • Name
  • Contact details
  • The name and age of other persons living in your household
  • Bank details
  • Other information that may be required to check your entitlement to discounts and exemptions
  • If you choose to pay by Direct Debit or request a refund for an overpayment we will also collect some financial information from you

How do we use the information you have provided?

All information provided is used by us for the purposes of administering and enforcing Council Tax.  This includes:

  • Issuing you bills and statements
  • Setting up Direct Debits
  • Collection of monies owed to us
  • Ensuring you receive the correct discounts, reliefs and reductions
  • Monitoring of empty properties
  • Responding to enquiries and other matters

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)

Your data may be shared with other internal council services where the council identifies a “legitimate” processing purpose. This is on a case-by-case basis; and your data will never be used for commercial purposes, sold or otherwise used in a way that negatively affects your rights or freedoms.

1. His Majesty’s Revenues and Customs – this authority is responsible for tax, payments and customs for the UK. Your information may be shared for statistical purposes and be anonymized.

2. Police – your personal information may be shared for the prevention and detection of crime. We have a duty to do this under:

  • The Road Traffic Act (1988)
  • The Crime and Disorder Act (1998)
  • The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (1984)
  • The Prevention of Terrorism Act (1989)

3. Environmental Health teams – these teams may request your personal details if there is a problem with your home. They are allowed to do this under the Housing Act 2004. We can also share your information for the prevention and detection of crime. We have a duty to do this under the Crime and Disorder Act (1998).

4. Debt Collection Agencies and Enforcement Agents – If we employ outside debt collection agencies to collect unpaid tax we will have data sharing agreements with these agencies. These agreements strictly control how they store and use your personal information. We are allowed to do this under the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.   We will only share your name and contact details with these agencies. Your health and financial information is not shared with anyone.

5. Credit Reference Agencies – We may use credit reference agencies to find people who owe Council Tax. We are allowed to do this under the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.   We will only share your name and address with these agencies.

6. NHS Counter Fraud Authority. Your personal information may be shared for the prevention and detection of crime. We have a duty to do this under the Crime and Disorder Act 1992.

7. National Crime Agency. Your personal information may be shared for the prevention and detection of crime. We have a duty to do this under the Crime and Disorder Act 1992.

We may also share your information with:

  • Other Councils and public bodies where the law permits.
  • The Courts, the Valuation Office and the Valuation Tribunal Service, Employers and the DWP.
  • Solicitors, Insolvency Practitioners and Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service.
  • Other organisations that carry out services for the Council.
  • Other agencies and contractors for the purpose of billing and collecting Council Tax .
  • The Cabinet office (who are a government department) for the purposes of a data matching exercise called the National Fraud Initiative. The purpose of the exercise is to detect fraud and error. The Council is legally required to participate in this exercise.
  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS).
  • Citizens Advice Bureau, with your permission.
  • Reading Business Improvement District Limited.
  • Elected Members, Members of Parliament and Advice Agencies when acting on your behalf.

We will not share your information with any other organisations unless required to do so by law.

We will not transfer your information to countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) unless this is necessary, and only to countries which have sufficient safeguards in place to protect information.

How long we keep your information

We will only keep your information as long as we need to so we can give you the service you need, unless we have to keep it for legal reasons.

In accordance with financial regulations governing the retention of accounting records, for tax payers who no longer live in the borough, we retain your information for seven years after the last payment. If an account has an outstanding debt, we will retain your information for seven years after full payment.

If the claim has an active fraud investigation, we will retain all information until seven years after the end of the fraud investigation and conclusion of court action.

How is data stored

We make sure we hold records about you (on paper and electronically) in a secure way, and we’ll only make them available to those who have a right to see them. Examples of our security include:

  • Data is stored securely on encrypted computer systems.
  • Controlling access to systems and networks allows us to stop people who are not allowed to view your personal information from getting access to it
  • Training for our staff allows us to make them aware of how to handle information and how and when to report when something goes wrong
  • Regular testing of our technology and ways of working including keeping up to date on the latest security updates (commonly called patches).

Automated decision making

Reading Borough Council uses automated decision making for the Billing and Collection of Council Tax.

How you can access, update or correct your information

The Data Protection law gives you the right to apply for a copy of information about yourself. This is called a ‘Subject Access Request’. Requests can be made by the following link:

The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly. We are working to make our record keeping more efficient.

In the meantime, if you change your address or email address, or if any of your circumstances change or any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date please call 0118 937 3727.

Your information choice and rights

You have the right to:

  • Ask to see the personal information we hold about you
  • Ask us to change information we hold about you if it is wrong
  • Ask us to delete the information we hold about you
  • Ask us to limit the way we use your personal information
  • Ask for human Intervention regarding decisions made about you by a computer
  • Data portability (have your data transferred to another Authority)
  • Complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (address below).

The right to withdraw consent at any time needs to be communicated.  You have a ‘right to be forgotten’ so you can ask for your personal information to be deleted where:

  • It is no longer needed for the reason why it was collected in the first place
  • You have removed your consent for us to use your information and we do not have to keep your information for legal reasons
  • If we have shared your personal information with others, we will do what we can to make sure those using your personal information comply with your request for erasure.

We may not be able to delete your personal data if it is needed for legal reasons, for reasons of public health, public interest or for medical purposes.

Data Protection Officer and Information Commissioner’s Office

Should you wish to contact Reading Borough Council’s Data Protection Officer please email:

Should you wish to contact the Information Commissioners Office please contact: Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Last updated on 20/10/2023