Shock at £300,000 plus cost of Cardiff Council's dispute with HMRC

Cardiff’s Liberal Democrat councillors have expressed shock that Cardiff Council has so far spent over £300,000 for external professional advice regarding a dispute with HMRC over a purportedly under-declared landfill tax assessment.


As revealed in the council’s Statement of Accounts for 2017/18, which were presented to a meeting of the full council in September 2018, the council is in dispute with HMRC regarding a potential under-payment of landfill tax dating back to 1 April 2015 in relation to waste tipped at the Lamby Way landfill site. HMRC believes that some materials disposed of should have had the standard rate of tax applied rather than a lower rate which was in fact paid, with the difference in the tax rate being £80 a tonne. The council has previously refused to disclose how many tonnes of waste HMRC believes this applies to.


Now, in a reply to a written question tabled by the council’s Liberal Democrat spokesperson for finance, Councillor Rodney Berman, the council has revealed that as of 27 January 2019, it has paid out £323,533 so far for external professional advice.


Councillor Rodney Berman said: “The fact this dispute is still on-going and has cost Cardiff’s taxpayers over £300,000 so far is shocking. The council has previously refused to indicate how much HMRC thinks it may have under-paid in landfill tax, but if it has paid this much to date just to get external advice then we are clearly talking about a very significant sum – probably millions of pounds. So the cost may be much greater by the time this issue is resolved.


“The present Labour administration’s handling of the council’s finances is looking increasingly chaotic. Spending in various council departments is repeatedly going significantly over-budget meaning spending in other areas needs to be hacked back in order to get the books to balance.


“There are also increasing signs of incompetence in Labour’s handing of the council’s waste department. We have seen indications of increasing problems with fly-tipping, garden waste collections in some parts of the city were recently suspended without this being properly communicated to residents, and the household waste recycling centre at Wedal Road was shut in March last year with no sign to date of any promised replacement.


“Cardiff’s Labour councillors need to get a grip on the way they are running our city’s services.”




  1. Answers to written questions tabled for the January 2019 meeting of Cardiff Council can be found here.
  2. The council’s statement of accounts for 2017/18 can be found here.

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