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Council Tax - who pays and how much

Council Tax helps pay for local services like policing and rubbish collection. Council Tax applies to all domestic properties, including houses, bungalows, flats, maisonettes, mobile homes and houseboats, whether owned or rented.

How Council Tax is worked out

All properties were valued and put into a 'valuation band' – in England these bands are based on their value on 1 April 1991, not their current value. The valuation band determines how much Council Tax you pay.

The table below shows the different bands. Underneath you can check the band for your property.

Valuation bands

 Council Tax valuation bands Ranges of values in England
 A  up to £40,000
 B  over £40,000 and up to £52,000
 C  over £52,000 and up to £68,000
 D  over £68,000 and up to £88,000
 E  over £88,000 and up to £120,000
 F  over £120,000 and up to £160,000
 G  over £160,000 and up to £320,000
 H  over £320,000

Please note that the valuation bands differ in Scotland and Wales.

What to do if you think your banding might be wrong

If you think your Council Tax band is wrong, contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which is responsible for making sure your home is in the right band. You can speak to a member of the Council Tax team who will answer your questions and explain how your Council Tax band has been worked out. They may also be able to review your banding. 

Appealing to the valuation tribunal

Valuation tribunals deal with Council Tax appeals. This happens when the VOA or the council do not agree with a Council Tax payer’s challenge to their bill, or if a Council Tax payer is not satisfied with a decision by the VOA or their council.

Council Tax valuation

If you have contacted the VOA to challenge your Council Tax band, they must give you a decision within four months. They will explain their decision and tell you how you can appeal. You will need to appeal within three months of receiving the decision, either by letter, by email or on an appeal form, which you can get from the valuation tribunal or from the Valuation Tribunal Service website.

Council Tax invalidity notice appeal

If the Valuation Tribunal decides that your challenge to the valuation did not follow the regulations, or that you do not have a right to make a challenge, they may send you an invalidity notice – this will tell you why your appeal is not valid.  This letter will tell you how you can appeal to the valuation tribunal, if you do not agree with the notice. 

You can appeal the invalidity notice within four weeks of receiving the decision, either by letter, by email or on an appeal form, which you can get from the Valuation Tribunal Service website. 

What you actually pay

How much Council Tax you pay depends on your property band and your local council - each council sets its own Council Tax rates.

Your council can tell you the rates for your area.

Who is responsible for paying the bill?

There's one Council Tax bill for each home. Usually the person living in the property has to pay the bill. Spouses and partners who live together are both responsible for paying the bill.

The person at the top or nearest to the top of the following list has to pay the bill:

• lives in the property and owns it
• lives in the property and has a lease (this includes 'assured tenants' under the Housing Act 1988)
• lives in the property and is a 'statutory' or 'secure' tenant
• lives in the property and isn't a tenant but has permission to live there
• lives in the property (for example a squatter)
• has a lease of six months or more on the property, but doesn't live there
• owns the property but doesn't live there

You can't be responsible for paying the bill if you're under age 18.

If you're still unsure about who is responsible for paying the bill, you can contact your local council and they'll be able to help.

When a property is empty

If a property is empty, the person normally responsible for paying may qualify for exemption or a discount. You can find more information about discounts and exemptions in sections 10 to 13 of the leaflet 'Council Tax - a guide to your bill' (you'll find this in the 'More useful links' section below).

The links below will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local council’s website where you can find out more or apply online.

Council Tax and moving house

If you move home you need to tell your council. This is so you don't pay too much Council Tax for your old home and you pay the right amount for your new home. When you move:

  • tell your council the date you're moving out, so that they can adjust the bill for your old home (you may get a refund)
  • tell your council (or your new council if you're moving to a different area) when you're moving in, so they can start the bill for your new home from the right date

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