Horse forced to pay council tax

"My horse has to pay council tax!" claims a Morecambe woman who has been left stunned by a bill for more than 700 from Lancaster City Council.

Sharon Monks and two friends received a demand for non-domestic rates for their small stables in Overton, where they keep three horses Denver, Cooper and Gucci.

But Sharon, and her fellow horse-lovers Jason Lee and Sandra Parker, were left bewildered by the bill, because they don't run the stables as a business. "We are three friends, we have one horse each and we keep them at a stables," said Sharon, who also runs two laundry businesses in Morecambe.

"I can't believe it, my horse is a council tax-payer! What services does the council provide for my horse?

"I rang them up to query the bill and told them I don't run a business from the stables. I was told, 'Well, you might run a business from

there in the future'. I think it's a tax fiddle."

Sharon and her friends are querying the demand, which Lancaster City Council says is 100 per cent correct.

"Livery stables are liable for a non-domestic rate charge if they are not within the curtilage of your home," said a spokesperson for the council.

"A bill was issued in the name of Mr Jason Lee, who completed an occupier's form on November 29, 2007 stating he was the tenant of Trailholme Farm Stables.

"On January 4, 2008, Sharon Monks rang to say that she and Sandra Parker also kept horses in the stables along with Mr Lee and as a result the Valuation Office were to visit with a view to splitting the assessment accordingly.

"We are awaiting a decision by the Valuation Office, which is part of the Inland Revenue."