Council tax is a tax on domestic property system collected by local authorities to part fund local services. The amount you pay is based on a tax valuation band calculated by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

Council Tax replaced the Community Charge in 1993 as part of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

All domestic dwellings are allocated a council tax valuation band based on the value of the property on 1 April 1991. New build properties are allocated a nominal 1991 valuation. A varying amount of council tax is charged on each band.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is the agency of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that provide the Government with the valuations and property advice required to support taxation and benefits.

The VOA compile and maintain the lists of council tax bandings 23 million domestic properties in England to support the collection of council tax.

Some properties are exempt from council tax, some people do not have to pay council tax and some people get a discount.

Full details of Council Tax, including:

  • Working out your Council Tax
  • Paying the bill
  • Council Tax exemptions
  • Full-time students
  • Discounts for disabled people
  • Second homes and empty properties
  • Problems paying and financial help

can be found at the GOV.UK website.

Further information is available at the following links:

Further guides are available at the following links:

Council Tax Reduction

Depending on your council and your personal circumstances you may be eligible for Council Tax Reduction. More information on eligibility and how to apply can be found at GOV.UK.

Full details of Council Tax Reduction can be found on this MyAdviceGateway page.

Checking and Challenging your Council Tax Band

You can check the council tax band of your property at the GOV.UK website.

If you think your Council Tax Band is wrong you can have it checked by the Valuation Office Agency.

A Guide to What to do if you disagree with your council tax banding is available from Which?

If you disagree with the VOA's valuation you can challenge their decision by taking it to The Valuation Tribunal who are the independent body that deals with appeals about council tax arising when the Valuation Office Agency or the council do not agree with a ratepayer on the valuation of their property.

This is a free service and they will NOT award any costs. For details of how to challenge a decision go to this link.

Full details of Council Tax Appeals can be found at the GOV.UK website.

Council Tax Arrears

If you get into arrears with your council tax, you need to contact your local council and make a repayment arrangement. Normally you will be expected to pay off any arrears within the current financial year, which ends on 31 March. It may be possible to arrange a longer repayment period if you are on a low income or have special circumstances but you will need to pay an amount off the arrears each month as well as your normal council tax payment.

Full details of Council Tax Arrears can be found at the GOV.UK website.

A guide to Council Tax arrears is available at the citizensadvice.

Discounts for disabled people

The Disabled Band Reduction Scheme makes sure disabled people don’t pay more Council Tax if they need:

  • a bigger property
  • to adapt their home because of their disability

You can apply for Council Tax Discount from your local council by following this link.

People who are severely mentally impaired and some live-in carers are exempt when working out Council Tax. Full details are available at this link.

Second homes and empty properties

You may be eligible for a Council Tax discount of up to 50% on a second home that you own or rent and on an empty property.

However if your property has been empty for more than 2 years you could have to pay up to 50% extra Council Tax. 

Full details are available from GOV.UK.

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