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Council Tax - Who has to pay?

There is still a lot of confusion over who has to pay for Council Tax and who is exempt. We have ...

There is still a lot of confusion over who has to pay for Council Tax and who is exempt. We have put together a simple guide to what is what. 

Working out your Council Tax

You’ll need to know 3 things:

The valuation band for your home in England and Wales or in Scotlandhow much your local council charges for that bandwhether 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.

You can challenge your Council Tax band if you think your home is in the wrong valuation band.

Changes that may affect your Council Tax band

  • You demolish part of your property and don’t rebuild it
  • You alter your property to create 2 or more self-contained units, eg an annexe - each unit will have its own band
  • You split a single property into self-contained flats
  • You convert flats into a single propertyyou start or stop working from home
  • There are significant changes to your local area, like a new road being built

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’ll usually get a 50% discount if no-one living in your home, including you, counts as an adult.

You won’t have to pay any Council Tax if everyone in your home, including you, is a full-time student.

Who doesn’t count as an adult?

  • Children Under 18
  • People on some apprentice schemes
  • 18 and 19-year-olds in full-time education
  • Full-time college and university students
  • Young people under 25 who get funding from the Skills Funding Agency or Young People’s Learning Agency
  • Student nurses
  • Foreign language assistants registered with the British Council
  • People with a severe mental impairmentlive-in carers who look after someone who isn’t their partner, spouse or child
  • Diplomats

People on apprentice schemes

To show that you don’t qualify as an adult for Council Tax, you’ll need a declaration from your employer stating that:

  • You won’t be paid more than £195 a week
  • The training leads to a qualification accredited by a body recognised by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) or the Scottish Vocational Education Council (SVEC)

If you get a Council Tax discount by mistake You must tell your local council. If you don’t, you could get a fine. The council may ask you to pay back the discount.

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