Council tax

Council tax is collected by your local authority and is, in effect, a tax on domestic property. It's how you pay for everything from the local police to having your bins emptied. The charges are in bands and the larger your property, the more you'll pay. But some property is exempt, some people don't have to pay at all, and others get a discount.    

Do I need to pay council tax? 

There are very few instances where you won’t need to pay council tax, and to help you work out how much you’ll need to pay, you need to know these three things:

  1. The valuation band for your home in England and Wales or in Scotland
  2. How much your local council charge for that band as they can vary depending on where you live in the country
  3. Finally whether you qualify for any discount or exemption on your council tax – for instance if you live alone, on a local income or get benefits

Can I get money off my council tax?

If you’re on a low income or you’re claiming benefits then you could get a discount off your council tax. It’s known as ‘Council Tax Support’. Each local authority in England runs their own scheme – so it’s best to start by searching your local council’s website for information in your area.

How can I find out which council I live in?

The government has a web site that makes this very easy to find out. Enter your postcode, and it will give you a link that takes you directly to a page with information about the council tax and benefits or discounts available in your area.  

And do I get a bigger discount if I’m claiming a pension?

You may do – it’s something that’s decided by your council.

Do I get a bigger discount if I’m a tenant?

If you’re renting at the moment, and the amount you’re earning plus any savings you have is below a certain level, then you may qualify for Housing Benefit. Again, the government’s ‘find your local council for benefit information’ page is a useful place to start.