Council Tax: what it is, what it costs and how to save money
Your Council Tax helps to pay for services such as waste collection, street lighting and cleaning, and police and fire services. Read on to find out more about Council Tax and how to make sure you’re not paying more than you have to.
- What does Council Tax pay for?
- What is my Council Tax band?
- How much Council Tax must I pay?
- Lower your property’s valuation band
- Complaints about Council Tax
If you’ve been overpaying on your Council Tax for years, you might be entitled to a refund worth thousands of pounds.
What does Council Tax pay for?
Council Tax is an annual tax that your local council charges you and sets each year.
How much Council Tax you pay depends on:
- Your personal circumstances
- Which valuation band your property is in, and
- How much the council needs to fund its services
What is my Council Tax band?
England and Scotland have eight Council Tax valuation bands ranging from A (the highest) to H.
Wales has nine bands – from 1 (the highest) to 9.
Northern Ireland has domestic rates based on rental values rather than Council Tax.
If your home is in a higher valuation band than it should be, you’re probably paying more Council Tax than you need to.
How much Council Tax must I pay?
The amount of Council Tax depends on 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 authority tool
Just enter your postcode.
- Scotland – Scottish Local Government
- Wales – Welsh Local Government Association
- Northern Ireland – NI Direct
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 live alone or are the only adult in your home
- You’re a student or you live with students
- You or someone you live with has a disability and as a result needs to live in a larger home
- You get certain benefits, such as jobseeker’s allowance or income support
- You’re on a low income and don’t have much money saved up
Lower your property’s valuation band
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 you’re in the wrong 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.
Complaints about Council Tax
You’ll normally have to complain to the council first. This should take no longer than 12 weeks.