3 Things You Should Know About Council Tax
Council Tax is the current system of local taxation in the UK. Collected by your local authority, your council tax funds many local government functions including the police, fire service, recycling, refuse collection, street cleaning, museums, planning services, meals on wheels, facilities for young people, social care, and sports facilities.
Our guide looks at all the essential information you need to know about your Council Tax.
How you work out your Council Tax bill
In order to work out how much you will pay you will need to know 3 things:
- the valuation band for your home
- how much your local council charges for that band
- whether you can get a discount or exemption from the full bill – for example, people living on their own get a 25 per cent discount
In England and Scotland, valuation bands are based on property values on 1 April 1991, not what a property is worth today. In Wales, valuation bands are based on property values on 1 April 2003.
A full Council Tax bill is based on 2 or more adults living in a household. You can apply for a discount if you live on your own, as we see next.
Your sole occupation discount
If you count as an adult for Council Tax purposes and you live on your own you will get 25 per cent off your Council Tax bill.
You’ll also get a discount if you live with people who don’t count as adults for Council Tax. These include 18 and 19 year olds in full-time education, student nurses, some apprentices and children under 18.
You have to pay Council Tax on an empty property
You will have to pay Council Tax on an empty and unfurnished home, but you may qualify for a discount. Individual councils have different rules about whether you get a discount and, if so, how much.
In addition, your council can charge an additional premium of up to 50 per cent if your home has been empty and unfurnished for two years or more (unless its an annexe or you’re in the armed forces).
Some homes don’t get a Council Tax bill for as long as they stay empty. They include homes:
- of someone in prison (except for not paying a fine or Council Tax)
- of someone who’s moved into a care home or hospital
- that have been repossessed
- that cannot be lived in by law
- that are empty because they’ve been compulsory purchased and will be demolished