Dominic Cummings and his family will not be charged an estimated £50,000 in council tax on two properties they built in breach of local planning laws.
The Cummings family will dodge years of unpaid taxes equalling between £30,000 and £50,000 but will instead be hit with a new charge on properties located on the outskirts of Durham, where his parents live.
The Northern Echo reports that the charges will now have to be paid on Cummings’ band A cottage, and his sister’s band C family home.
An investigation by Black Isle Media in June found that a cottage Cummings build on his father’s farm in 2002, where he is listed as the owner, breached local building control regulations and dodged enforcement action due to the amount of time that had passed.
It followed revelations of a trip that the Brexiteer took to County Durham during the coronavirus lockdown, which police say may have breached the guidelines enforced by government.
The Valuation Agency Office, which is a part of HMRC, said it did not comment on individual cases.
But a spokesperson added: “We treat all council taxpayers equally and in accordance with the law.”
John Hewitt, corporate director of resources at Durham County Council, told the newspaper: “I can confirm that the Valuation Office Agency have concluded their inspection and provided us with details of the required changes to the valuation list in respect of North Lodge, where the current single assessment will be replaced with three entries in the rating list going forward.
“These changes will be implemented with effect from October 4, 2020, which is the date we have been instructed to apply the changes from.
“The date from which the rating list is to be amended is a matter for the Valuation Office Agency.
“We are instructed that they have made their assessment in line with the relevant legislation and custom and practice in terms of such changes in accordance with Article 3 of the Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings) Order 1993.”
Independent Durham County councillor John Shuttleworth hit out the decision. He said: “They should have informed them (the authorities) and it should have been checked.
“If it was anybody else, they would be getting charged and it would be backdated, or they would be getting taken to court.
“It just proves there is two sets of rules, one for them and another for everyone else. It is not right.
“We have to abide by the law and it we don’t you get put in prison or you get fined. They are just above it.”