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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What is Council Tax?
    Council Tax helps to pay for local services – like education, parks and household refuse collection.

    The amount you have to pay depends on which property band your home is in. Your bill will be less if you qualify for Council Tax Benefit or other reductions.


    2. I live alone how do I claim my 25% discount? - Sole Adult Resident Applications. You will need to complete a Sole Adult Resident Discount form, available from any council office. These are usually accessible online on your council’s website.
    An adult resident is any person aged 18 years or over living at the property. The discount can only be claimed against one address.

    3. I am a student, am I exempt from council tax? - Full-time students are only exempt if the property they live in is occupied solely by other students. You will need to send in your student certificate to your council before anything can be awarded. If there are any non-students in the property you may have something to pay. You should contact your local council if you are unsure or want further information. Any changes in occupants or student status should be notified to your council as soon as possible.
    (Full time = at least 21hrs/week for 24 weeks in any single academic or calendar year)

    4. The people I share with are students but I am not, do I have to pay? - Where there are non-students in the property council tax will be liable. The full charge is due if there are two or more non-students. A 25% discount is applied where there is only one. Normally only the non-students will be named on the bill, however there are some exceptions to this. For more information you should contact your council. The students will need to supply evidence of student status as in answer 2.

    5. Do I have to pay the full council tax for a second home? - Normally, a second home will attract a 10% discount. In order to claim this you will need to provide proof of your main residence, such as a council tax bill.
    To apply write to the Local Taxation Services Department for your local council.

    6. I am not living at my property because it is being renovated. Can I claim exemption? - Exemption is available to property that is empty and undergoing extensive works. A visit to the property by an inspector is usually required. For further information or to make an inspection appointment contact your council and ask to speak to a Council Tax Inspector.

    7. How can I find out the Council Tax Band for a property.- A list is usually displayed in your council’s main office buildings; alternatively you can contact the council and ask them.
    You can also find your council tax banding by visiting the Valuation Office Agency's website

    8. How do I pay my council tax and can I pay in instalments? - The annual council tax charge is payable in ten monthly instalments from April to the following January. For new payers who receive their bill after 1st April, their council tax is payable over the reduced number of those months still available in that financial year. For details of your own instalment plan, please refer to the bottom of the front page of your council tax bill.
    Direct Debit is for most people the best way of paying. Information on this and other payment methods can be found on the reverse of your bill.

    9. I work from home, will this affect my council tax? - The effect on your council tax will depend on if you have adapted part of your home for business use and/or how that area is used outside business hours. The Valuation Office provides more information and examples on their web site, www.voa.gov.uk/council_tax/working_from_home.htm

    10. Can I get help with my council tax if I am unemployed or on a low income. If you are on a low income or unemployed you may be eligible for council tax benefit. Help may also be available with your rent. For full details contact your local benefits department.

    11. I am moving house, what do I need to do? If you are moving into, within or out of your local council area, please notify them using their online moving forms. It is best to notify them within 10 days of your move.
    Alternatively, phone or go into your council offices for advice.

    12. I have moved and think I have paid to much on my old account. Can I get a refund? Any credit or debit left on your previous account will show on your closing bill. If you have moved within your council area, a credit may have been transfered to your new account. If this is not the case a refund can be requested by contacting your council and quoting the relevant account number.

    13. What happens if I don't pay my council tax? Failure to pay your council tax or regularly missing instalments will lead to recovery action being taken against you. There are a range of actions open to the council which will depend on your response to any notification of arrears or requests for information sent to you.
    If you have any difficulty in paying you council tax you should contact your council as soon as possible.

    14. How can I find out the balance on my account and can I do it on-line? At present only some councils allow you to do this online. For those that do not allow this, please contact your council offices either by phone or in person ensuring you have your Council Tax account number with you. If attending in person, it is also a good idea to take along two forms of identification –eg- a passport / driving licence and a recent utility bill.
    Last edited by caspar; 5th July 2011, 15:26.
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