Council tax is an unavoidable cost for most tenants and homeowners. Many see their monthly bill from the council and don’t think about why they’re paying what they are.

At face value, these council tax bands can be quite confusing. But it’s not as perplexing as you might think, and we’re here to guide you through it.

You’ll need to know 3 things:

  • the valuation band for your home in England and Wales or in Scotland
  • how much does your local council charge for that band
  • whether you can get a discount or exemption from the full bill

You may be able to get Council Tax Reduction (this used to be called Council Tax Benefit) if you’re on a low income or get benefits.

Changes that may affect your Council Tax band

Your property may be revalued and put in a different band in some circumstances, for example if:

  • you demolish part of your property and do not rebuild it
  • you alter your property to create 2 or more self-contained units, for example an annexe – each unit will have its own band
  • you split a single property into self-contained flats
  • you convert flats into a single property
  • you start or stop working from home
  • the previous owner made changes to your property
  • there are significant changes to your local area, like a new road being built
  • a similar property in your area has its Council Tax band changed

Who has to pay?

You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax if you’re 18 or over and own or rent a home

A full council tax bill is based on at least 2 adults living in a home. Spouses and partners who live together are jointly responsible for paying the bill.

You’ll get 25% off your bill if you count as an adult for Council Tax and either:

  • you live on your own
  • no-one else in your home counts as an adult

You will not have to pay any council tax if everyone in your home, including you is a full-time student

Paying Your Bill

Your council tax bill tells you, how much you have to pay for the year, how that amount has been worked out and the dates you have to pay.

The cost is usually split into 10 monthly payments. Contact your council immediately if you’re having trouble paying – they can help you by spreading your payments over 12 months instead of 10.