Why Do We Pay Council Tax?
Wherever you live, whether you live in a council property or not, you will be required to pay council tax. It is a sum of money that is paid monthly to the council that goes towards funding local services such as the police, a leisure centre or rubbish collection.
Not everybody pays the same amount of council tax. How much you pay will depend on your personal circumstances, what council tax band your property sits in and how much money the council needs for local services.
How much should I be paying in council tax?
Council tax fees vary and depend on your local authority, the value of your home and your personal circumstances. If you like in England you can find out how much council tax you should be paying by entering your postcode in the Government’s council tax finder. You can also pay your council tax online or set up a direct debit for ease.
What is my council tax band?
In England there are eight council tax bands. They are displayed as letters, A through to H. Properties in the A bracket have the cheapest council tax whereas H banded homes are the most expensive. Typically, the more expensive the property the higher the council tax band. Sometimes you may be charged too much council tax and you can contact your local authority to rectify this.
|Valuation band||Range of values|
|B||£40,000 – £52,000|
|C||£52,000 – £68,000|
|D||£68,000 – £88,000|
|E||£88,000 – £120,000|
|F||£120,000 – £160,000|
|G||£160,000 – £320,000|
Each property is assigned a tax valuation band by the VOA – the Valuation Office Agency. The band assigned is based upon how much your property was valued on 1st April 1991.
Could I receive a council tax reduction?
Council tax aims to be fair and there are a number of reasons why your council tax can be reduced:
- You live alone
- You’re a student
- You’re on a low income
- You receive benefits
- You or somebody you live with has a disability
Some of the most common discounts and exclusions include:
- Single person discount: if you are 18 or over and living alone you could get a 25% discount
- Disability discount: if you are mentally impaired, or care for somebody who is, you are exempt
- Full time student: students whose course lasts one year or more could be exempt
What happens I don’t pay my council tax?
If you don’t pay your council tax by direct debit you can pay it online as long as it is by the date stated on your council tax bill. You should remember that council tax is a priority bill. That means, if you don’t pay it on time (or at all) you could face bailiffs and court proceedings.
If you go into council tax arrears you should contact your council straight away and explain your situation. They may be able to set you up with a payment plan. Otherwise it is likely that you will be taken to court and court fees will be added to your debt too.
What happens if you think your council tax band is wrong?
If you think your property might be sitting in the wrong council tax band you can contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). Typically, issues can be sorted out via the telephone. If the VOA choose to review your council tax band, they will write to you within 60 days with their final decision.
You, yourself, can make a formal application to change council tax band. This is known as ‘making a proposal’. You can make a proposal within six months of becoming a new council tax payee or the VOA notifying you that your band has changed.
You can also make a proposal if your property has been adapted for somebody with a disability or your home has been demolished.