Council Tax is a local tax that is
used to fund services such as schools, rubbish collection,
services, police and fire services. You may hear it called the
Poll Tax or Community Charge, although these were earlier forms
of local taxation.
How much does it cost? The amount of
Council Tax that you pay relates to
the value of your house on the 1st
of April 1991, if it was
built after this date an estimated
value for your property is used.
The value of all homes is
into eight bands from A to H.
houses are those with the lowest value
and therefore people who live in them
least while H banded
houses are the most expensive so people
will pay more Council Tax.
Reducing your Council Tax There are a variety of discounts available that can reduce
your Council Tax bill. They include:
If you live alone then you may be entitled to
a reduction in the tax by a quarter.
If your property is empty then you may have
your bill reduced by 50%.
Full-time students are not normally required
If you have a low income then you may qualify
for Council Tax Benefit.
If you are disabled or have a disabled person
who lives with you and have adapted or use part of the building for
In all cases you
need to contact your local council to check if you are eligible for
Council Tax Benefit If you have a low income and pay Council Tax, then you may qualify for help Council Tax Benefit to help you cover the cost. See our section on Benefits for more information or Directgov.
How do I pay Council Tax? It is your responsibility to let your local council know that you are living in the area. Once you have done this, the Council should send you a bill that explains
how and when to pay. Normally, you can pay by instalments (e.g.
ten monthly payments). However, you can choose to make one payment or in some cases two. In all cases you must pay by the
due date (e.g. first day of the month) or you may be told you are in
arrears. If you fail to pay your Council Tax it can cause you
problems as non payment of Council Tax
is a serious matter.
Most local authorities offer you different
ways to pay your Council Tax. You need to check what ways your
own council provides. You can locate your council offices by
searching the Internet
or by using a local telephone directory. Move your mouse over
the signpost to discover the 5 ways that most councils will accept
What happens if I don’t pay? There are serious implications for not paying Council Tax. If you do not pay an installment of your Council Tax then
the local authority can obtain a court summons from a Magistrate's
Court. If you receive a summons you must immediately contact them.
In many cases they will allow you to make them an offer to repay
the arrears. However, if you have missed three or more instalments
then they can demand payment in full, so contacting them at once
If you fail to pay arrears after receiving a summons
then the local authority can ask for a liability warrant from the court.
This can result in deductions being made from wages, Income Support,
Jobseekers Allowance or even a visit from the bailiffs to take your
property or possessions.
See our section on priority debts for more information on dealing with Council Tax debts.