Council tax

What is council tax?

Council tax is collected by your local council to pay for services in the community such as, education, transport, social care, housing, waste and recycling, management of environmental services, public health and planning.

Who has to pay council tax?

Each property is put into a council tax band between A and H, based on property size and location and a few other factors. You will usually have to pay council tax if you are 18 years + and own or rent a home.

How do you pay council tax?

The council tax-billing period is from April to March of each year. You would normally receive your bill in March. The bill provides the option of paying either all at once or paying in instalments over 10 months.

What could happen if I do not pay my council tax?

If an individual does not pay their council tax, it can lead to:

  • extra costs being added that can increase the debt being chased by debt collectors
  • a prison sentence in extreme cases

What can you do if you are struggling?

  • Contact your council as soon as possible, if you are struggling or behind with your council tax payment
  • Please do not ignore the letters as you may incur more charges and court costs
  • Seek advice from local advice services, or one of our money and benefits advisers.

What is available if I am struggling?

Benefit change

If you have moved from another benefit (Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA), Income Support (IS), Working Tax Credit (WTC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), income –related Employment and Support Allowance (IR ESA), Housing Benefit (HB) on to Universal Credit and you used to be in receipt of Council Tax Support, then you would need to apply for Council tax support separately.

Council tax support

This is a benefit for people on low income or on certain benefits to support them to pay for council tax. You can make a claim with your council online. If you would like assistance in finding out if you are eligible for Council Tax Support, contact one of our money and benefits advisers.

Non-dependent deduction

If you have another adult living with you (relative or friend) this can affect your entitlement to benefits such as council tax and Housing Benefit. The council assumes the non-dependent is providing an income, so they will make a deduction from your benefits. If the non-dependent is in certain education, they may be exemptions that apply. Please seek advice from your local council to find out more.

Discretionary council tax discounts

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) and discretionary council tax discounts (DCTD) are not payments of housing benefit, Council Tax Support or Universal Credit. DHPs are separate payments made at the council’s discretion in cases where it considers that extra help with housing costs are needed.

Need help with budgeting?

If you were used to your benefits being weekly and they are now paid monthly, we can support you with learning new skills in managing your money. Attend one of our money sessions to help you reach your goals or contact one of our money and benefits advisers.

Discounts and exemptions

You may qualify for certain discounts or exemptions. If you live alone or are the only person over the age of 18 living in your property, you can apply for a  single person discount, which is currently 25%.  If  you are a full time student and live in a house with other full time students, you will not need to pay council tax. You may also be eligible if you have a disability You are not included if you’re a live-in carer looking after someone who is not your partner, spouse, or child under 18.  Find out how to check if you are eligible to apply for a discount with your local council.

Useful contacts

  • Money Advice Service: This service provides free and impartial advice on money and financial decisions. Call 0800 138 7777
  • Citizens Advice: This service provides free and impartial information and advice on different areas, such as employment, housing, debt, health, immigration and family law.
    Call 0344 411 1444
  • StepChange: Providing free debt advice, helping you find solutions and take back control of your finances. Call 0800 138 1111 Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm.