Table of Contents
A council tax is a charge levied on the property you own or rent. It is a direct tax that you are liable to pay to the council of your locality. It is a mixture of personal and property tax. This tax is charged on your domestic property based on factors like size, usage, number of residents, and more.
Council Tax Band
This council tax is used to provide public services within the locality. The services include things like police and fire services, street cleaning and rubbish collection and disposal, road maintenance, libraries and education services, public transport, recreational projects, and many more services. Interestingly, it does not include health services.
How much do you have to pay?
The council tax amount calculated by the local council is different for each property, depending upon its valuation. The factors that affect your council tax are:-
- The valuation band of your property
- The charge levied by the local council
- Whether you are eligible for a discount/exemption or not
The council tax system is separated into eight bands called the valuation bands. These bands determine how much tax you will have to pay. You always have to make sure that you are taxed correctly and placed in the correct valuation band.
The eight valuation bands are from ‘A’ to ‘H’ in the united kingdom and till ‘I’ in Scotland. These bands go higher in ascending order. Mentioned below will be the property value range of your property, depending on which your council tax charge is also figured.
- A : up to £40,000
- B : £40,001 to £52,000
- C : £52,001 to £68,000
- D : £68,001 to £88,000
- E : £88,001 to £120,000
- F : £120,001 to £160,000
- G : £160,001 to £320,000
- H : any value above £320,000
With this range, you can determine the band your property falls in based on its valuation. After that, you can check the council tax charge of your area based on the band.
For example, let’s say that Mr. Tom owns a property in the city of Nottingham valued at £44,000, and he is not eligible for any exempts or discounts. Hence, according to the chart above, tom’s property falls under the ‘B’ band. He will then check the council tax charge of the ‘B’ band property either on the website of Nottingham city council or by contacting them over the phone.
How to check your council tax?
To check your council tax charge online, you can go to the official website of the Government of the United Kingdom, which is gov.UK.
You will be required to put in the postcode of your area. You will be relocated to the website of your local council. You will be able to find all the needed information on the website.
You can also visit your city’s council office to inquire about your council tax. You can also contact your local council through the phone, a letter, or an email.
When is exemption or Discount available?
The council tax is not charged to everybody equally. The government of the United Kingdom makes some exceptions and provides benefits to those who need them. Doing so gives either exemptions/disregard or discounts to citizens who are eligible under the criteria. Following are the criteria for you to avail of these facilities:-
Disregarded or exempted
Being disregarded or exempted from paying the council tax means that the person is not liable to pay it. If such a person lives in a household, the local council will exempt his share of the tax. Following are the criteria for availing of the exemption:-
- Full-time students
- Mentally disabled people
- Live-in carers with no relation to their patient
- Visiting members of armed forces
- Foreign diplomats
The government provides a discount for people who might not pay the total amount and need some support or benefits. If you fit in any of these criteria, then you can ask your local council for a discount on the council tax bill:-
- Living on low-income will get a council tax reduction in the form of a discount.
- If you are an adult living alone, you will get a 25% discount.
- A discount of 50% for all individuals residing in the property who are not adults or not eligible for council tax.
Changes that affect council tax band
There are situations due to which there might be a change in the council tax band of your property. These can be changes made by you, policy changes, or changes due to other reasons. Following are the circumstances:-
- You destroy your home or building on your property and do not rebuild
- If you split your property into two or more self-contained units. These units will have tax bands of their own
- You convert two or more flats into a single property
- If a similar property to yours has its tax band changed
- The previous holder made changes to the property
- If you start or stop WFH
- Structural changes were made in your area. Such as a new road or a new development project being introduced
Suppose you are not sure whether your property’s band has changed and you want to get it checked. You can contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to review the valuation assessment.
Council tax payment
A household pays a council tax every month for ten months within a year starting from April. You can pay your council tax bill through all mediums like online payment, cheque through the post, through your debit or credit card over the phone, or a letter, and even by visiting the office and paying in cash.
You would receive a council tax bill that will inform you about the total amount of tax for the year, the amount payable monthly, your tax calculations, and the dates on which you are supposed to pay your tax. If you are having trouble paying your council tax, you can request your council, and they will spread your bill over 12 months instead of 10, making it easier and manageable.
Also Read: Can Tax Debt be Negotiated?