When you purchase or rent a new property, it is understandable to want to know what your expected monthly outgoings will amount to, especially with the UK living costs currently on the rise.
However, quite often, an accurate expenses sum cannot be determined until you physically move into the property and start using the amenities, but council tax is one monthly outgoing which can be fortunately known prior.
Most families living in domestic properties across the UK are legally required to pay council tax, but not every individual is aware of why we pay council tax, what it is used for and why different properties have specific rates.
So what is council tax, how much can it be, and how can you find out what band of council tax your house is in? Keep reading for answers to these pressing questions.
What is council tax?
Council tax is a taxation system that each local authority collects from residents who own or live in dwellings in the area. The council tax amount payable is valued against their domestic property through a valuation band.
Council tax contributes toward the cost of local services, which includes public schooling, general waste and recycling collection, emergency services, street lights and more.
In most instances, council tax is paid by every household nationally, but there are certain households which are exempt from council tax or may be entitled to paying a reduced amount.
Households which are considered ‘disregarded’ from council tax, meaning they are entitled to paying a reduced amount or are completely exempt from paying council tax, include those who are:
- Under the age of 18
- On specific apprentice schemes
- Aged 18 or 19 years old but are still receiving full-time education
- Full-time students studying a college or university course
- Aged under 25 and are receiving financial funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency
- A student nurse
- A registered foreign language assistant with the British Council
- Severely mentally impaired
- A live-in carer for an individual – this cannot be your partner, spouse or child aged under 18 years old
- A diplomat
The reduced amount those considered disregarded will be required to pay, or whether they are considered completely exempt, will depend on certain matters. This information can be obtained from the local authority.
How much can council tax be?
All domestic homes are split into eight different valuation bands, which are determined and assigned by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The valuation band given to each domestic property is based on what the property would have been valued at on 1 April 1991.
Domestic property valuation bands and the range of values follow as:
|Range of values
|Up to £40,000
|Over £40,000 and up to £52,000
|Over £52,000 and up to £68,000
|Over £68,000 and up to £88,000
|Over £88,000 and up to £120,000
|Over £120,000 and up to £160,000
|Over £160,000 and up to £320,000
Although each domestic property in the UK is placed under a council tax valuation band, the amount of council tax the household will be responsible for paying will depend on a number of factors, including where the property is situated in England and Wales, as well as the size, layout and specific factors concerning the residing household.
Valuation band H is the highest council tax rate, where those who own or reside in a property of this valuation band may be expected to pay the maximum amount for their local authority.
Rutland, located in the East Midlands, is presently the local authority with the highest council tax valuation band rate in the UK, with valuation band H costing up to £4,390 in council tax annually.
Across the UK, the average family home has a valuation band D, which on average will cost them £1,966 annually. Rutland will pay 17% more than the average, at £2,300 in council tax per year.
How to find out what band of council tax my house is in
Finding out what council tax valuation band a property comes under is a fairly straightforward process and can provide peace of mind before making the decision to purchase a property, as well as provide helpful when budgeting monthly expenses or for any other reasons.
You can simply find out the council tax valuation band for your current property or one you may be interested in purchasing or renting using the GOV.UK council tax band service. You do this by entering the property’s full address or postcode. This service shows properties situated in both England and Wales.
Once the council tax valuation band is found, you can use this information to determine the annual council tax cost the owner or tenants of the property are required to pay through your local authority.
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