You will usually need to pay Council Tax if you are over 18 and own or rent a home. A full Council Tax bill is based on at least two adults living in a home together. Council Tax is collected by your local council and helps pay for services in your community. The current system was introduced in 1993, replacing the Community Charge (poll tax), which replaced local rates in England and Wales in 1990. The previous system was based on the rental value of your home, but Council Tax is calculated a little differently.
How much is my Council Tax?
Your Council Tax band determines how much tax you will pay on your property. The tax is calculated based on the value of your property at a specific point in time.
For example, in England, your band is calculated on what the value of your home would have been on April 1, 1991.
Council Tax bands in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all calculated in different ways. If you think your bill has been valued incorrectly, you can dispute the matter with your local council.
Properties in England are placed in bands ranging from A to H, depending on the price the home would have sold for in 1991.
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The valuation bands for England are as follows:
A – Up to £40,000
B – More than £40,000 and up to £52,000
C – More than £52,000 and up to £68,000
D – More than £68,000 and up to £88,000
E – More than £88,000 and up to £120,000
F – More than £120,000 and up to £160,000
G – More than £160,000 and up to £320,000
H – More than £320,000
You can use a Council Tax calculator to see how much your local council charges for each band.
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What is my Council Tax band?
To work out which band your property belongs in, you can use this tool to work it out by entering your postcode.
All properties are placed in a Council Tax band, but in some cases, residents can be exempted from paying the bill.
This generally depends on how many people are living in the property or how it is being used.
If you are unable to change your property’s band, one way to reduce your bill is to apply for a discount.
Several groups of people are eligible for a Tax discount, including full-time students – who usually pay no council tax at all – and people living in a property by themselves, who receive a 25 percent discount.
Properties are exempt from paying Council Tax if all the residents are:
- Only full-time students
- Only people aged under 18
- Members of the armed forced in armed forces accommodation
- People who have moved into a care home or hospital
- People living with somebody else to receive care for reasons of old age, disability, sickness, easy or present alcohol or drug abuse or mental health issues
- People with severe mental impairment
- Diplomats, as long as they are not a British citizen or have a main residence in the UK
- People in prison
If you are on a low income, you may also be eligible for a Council Tax reduction of up to 100 percent, which will be paid to you in the form of a tax rebate.
Each local council has different qualifying criteria for who is eligible to claim a tax reduction.
The size of the rebate will largely depend on your income, savings and whether you live alone or with other adults at the property.
To find out whether or not you qualify for a reduction or exemption, contact your local council authority.
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