Council Tax is an annual fee you pay to your local council. The cost is set by your council and goes towards funding local services. Find out more about Council Tax and how to make sure you’re not paying more than you have to.
- What is Council Tax?
- What does Council Tax pay for?
- How much is my Council Tax?
- Can I get a reduction?
- Paying your Council Tax over 12 months instead of 10
- What is my Council Tax band?
- How to get your home’s Council Tax band reviewed
- Complaints about Council Tax
What is Council Tax?
Living in Northern Ireland?
In Northern Ireland, you have to pay domestic rates, instead of Council Tax. Find out more on the NI Direct website.
Council Tax is an annual fee that your local council charges you for the local services it provides, like rubbish collection and libraries. Normally you pay it in 10 monthly instalments, followed by two months of not making any payments.
How much Council Tax you pay depends on:
- your personal circumstances
- which valuation band your property is in
- how much the council needs to fund its services.
What does Council Tax pay for?
If you’ve been overpaying on your Council Tax for years, you might be entitled to a refund worth thousands of pounds.
Local services are funded by Council Tax. This includes:
- police and fire services
- leisure and recreation projects such as upkeeping parks and sports centres
- libraries and education services
- rubbish and waste collection and disposal
- transport and highway services including street lighting and cleaning, and road maintenance
- environmental health and trading standards
- administration and record keeping, like marriages, deaths and birth, and local elections.
Council Tax isn’t used to pay for health services.
How much is my Council Tax?
The amount of Council Tax you pay depends on the value of your home and where you live.
Find your local authority and how much you need to pay using the links below:
- England – GOV.UK’s Find your local council tool
- Scotland – Scottish Local Government
- Wales – Welsh Local Government Association
Each of the links above will get you to your local council’s website.
From there you’ll need to find information on Council Tax.
You might also be able to contact them directly and ask.
Can I get a reduction?
You might be able to get a reduction on your Council Tax if:
- you’re on a low income
- you’re a student or you live with students
- you live alone or are the only adult in your home
- you get certain benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.
- you or someone you live with has a disability and as a result needs to live in a larger home
- you’re severely mentally impaired or living with someone who is
- you’re a care leaver in Scotland, where you’ll be exempt from Council Tax between the ages of 18 until you turn 26
- you live in certain counties in England and Wales and are a care leaver
Paying your Council Tax over 12 months instead of 10
Most councils allow you to choose to spread your Council Tax payments over 12 months instead of the usual 10. Making the same payment every month might make it easier for you to budget.
Just ask your council if they offer this option.
What is my Council Tax band?
England and Scotland have eight Council Tax bands ranging from A (the cheapest) to H. A house’s Council Tax band is based on its rateable value – the more expensive the property, the higher the Council Tax band.
Wales has nine bands – from 1 (the highest) to 9.
If your home is in a higher valuation band than it should be, you’re probably paying more Council Tax than you should.
How to get your home’s Council Tax band reviewed
Up to 400,000 homes in England and Scotland are in the wrong Council Tax bands. Welsh homes were more recently evaluated and are less likely to be in the wrong band.
If you think you’re overpaying Council Tax because your home is in the wrong Council Tax band, you might be entitled to a refund.
To get this refund you’ll need to ask for a review.
But remember: the review might lead to your council putting your property in a higher band.
To find out how to get your Council Tax band reviewed, visit MoneySavingExpert.
Complaints about Council Tax
If you have a complaint about your Council Tax, you’ll normally have to complain to the council first. They should take no longer than 12 weeks to resolve the problem.
But if you’re unhappy with the outcome, or they’re taking too long to resolve your complaint, you might be able to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.
Some important information about Rest Less Money
We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.
When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.
Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:
We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.
No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.
Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.
A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested.