Council Tax: what it is, how much it costs and how to save money
Council Tax is used to help 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 do I have to 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 which valuation band your property is in, how much the council needs to fund its services, and your personal circumstances.
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.
Check your Council Tax band:
- England – GOV.UK’s Council Tax band tool
Remember to include the space in your postcode, i.e. W2U 9NS
- Scotland – Scottish Assessors Council Tax band tool
- Wales – Welsh Government’s tax bands
- Northern Ireland – Learn how domestic rates are calculated on the NI Direct website
If your home has been put in a higher valuation band than it should be, you’re probably paying more Council Tax than you need to.
How much Council Tax do I have to pay?
The amount of Council Tax you need to pay varies based 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 (don’t forget the space, i.e. W2U 9NS).
- 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 may also be able to contact them directly and ask.
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 on your Council Tax because you’re in the wrong tax band, then you might be entitled to a refund.
To get this refund you’ll need to ask for a review, but remember there’s always a chance your council might decide to put your property in a higher band as a result.
Complaints about Council Tax
You will normally have to complain to the council first. This should take no longer than 12 weeks. But if you’re unhappy with the outcome, or if they are taking too long to resolve your complaint, you may be able to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.