What is council tax?


Council tax is charged by all local councils to residents in their area. Council tax goes to the local council to help pay for services in the local area, such as rubbish collection and policing.

Council tax is charged to residents of all types of domestic properties, whether they own or rent, including:

  • Houses
  • Bungalows
  • Flats
  • Maisonettes
  • Mobile homes
  • Houseboats

How much council tax should I pay?

The amount of council tax that is charged to a household depends on a valuation of the property. The property is valued and put into a 'valuation band', based on the valuation of the property in 1991 (for England).

The valuation bands in England are different to those in Scotland and Wales. There is a council tax valuation website on which you can check your property.

The amount of council tax is then calculated dependent on the valuation band but also upon the policy of your local council. Each council sets its own council tax rates. For information on your local area, consult your local council.

If the property is leased, it is the tenant who has the responsibility to pay council tax, not the person who owns the property.

If a property is empty, the person normally responsible for paying may qualify for exemption or a discount. There are also other exemptions and discounts available, such as for students.

Are you in dispute with the council?

Sometimes disputes arise regarding the amount of council tax that should be payable. If your property has been assessed in the wrong valuation band, you can contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

The Council Tax team of your local council can also help to explain how your council tax band has been worked out. You may be able to request them to review your banding.

If this does not resolve the situation, it is possible to appeal to a valuation tribunal. The tribunal will need to explain their decision to you.
You also have avenues to appeal the decision. If the tribunal decides against you, they may send an invalidity notice explaining their reasons. You may wish to consult a tax solicitor for legal advice at this point.

Tax law is a complex area of law and therefore it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Contact Law can recommend a housing law specialist with experience in council tax law to help resolve your issue. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or fill in the web-form above.

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