What is council tax?
We collect council tax on behalf of the county council, the police authority, parish councils and ourselves.
Council tax is the main source of locally raised income for the district council. The money we collect is used by the council to part-fund the many services provided for the local community.
Council and police services are paid for by income from Government grants, council tax, fees and other charges. Council tax is the main source of locally raised income for councils. The money collected is used by the council to part-fund the many services provided for the local community. These services include:
- rubbish collection
- recreational facilities
- social services.
Most self-contained dwellings are subject to the council tax. There is one bill per dwelling, whether this is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile home or houseboat. The charge applies whether the home is owned or rented.
The tax raised is based on the value of your property. There are a number of exemptions, discounts and disregards available if certain circumstances apply.
The administration of council tax is strictly governed by regulations over which we have very little discretion.
Occupiers and owners of domestic property have a duty to inform us of any changes that may affect their liability.
Who pays council tax?
Normally the person who lives in a property will have to pay the council tax. The list below shows the order we use to help decide who should pay:
1. A resident freeholder
2. A resident leaseholder
3. A resident statutory or secure tenant
4. A resident licensee
5. Someone who lives in the property with no security of tenure
6. The owner (the person entitled to legal possession)
Example: If there is no resident freeholder then the resident leaseholder will be liable. If there is no resident freeholder nor a resident leaseholder then the resident tenant will be liable to pay etc. until the liable person is determined.
More than one person may have to pay the bill. For example, joint owners or joint tenants. Usually husbands and wives and couples living as man and wife are jointly responsible, unless either of them suffers from a severe mental impairment.
There are also situations when the owner will have to pay rather than the resident, for example:
1. Properties that are nobody’s main home
2. Homes where the tenants have separate tenancy agreements for part of the property or where it has been adapted for partial occupation (for example, bedsits)
3. Care homes, nursing homes and night shelters
4. Religious communities (monasteries or convents)
5. Properties which are not the owner’s main home but are occupied by their domestic staff
6. Homes where a minister of religion lives and works
7. Properties occupied by asylum seekers who are receiving support directly from the Home Office.
All domestic dwellings are charged according to the property band allocated by the Valuation Office in Lincoln.
The relevant band allocated is based on the market value of a property as at April 1991. Even if your property is newly built, it will still be banded based on what it would have been worth at that date.
The grounds for appeal about the banding of your property are restricted to the following cases:
- You can appeal within the first 6 months that you become the owner and/or taxpayer of a property. You must appeal to the Listing Officer in Lincoln. However, if the same appeal has been considered and determined by a Valuation Tribunal, it cannot be heard again
- You believe that the banding should be changed because there has been a material increase or a material reduction in the dwellings’ value
- Where you start or stop using part of your dwelling to carry out a business, or the balance between domestic and business use changes
- Where the Listing Officer has altered a list without a proposal having been made by a taxpayer.
The Listing Officer is an independent officer of the Crown and can be contacted using the following details:
Address: The Valuation Office Agency, Kings Wharf, 20-30 Kings Road, Reading, RG1 3ER
Telephone 03000 501 501
Fax 03000 505310
For a full guide to Council Tax, please refer to the documents at the bottom of this page.