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What is Council Tax and who pays?

Council Tax is a charge on residential properties. It is collected by councils to pay for local services, such as services provided by us, the police, fire service,and your local parish or town council. A detailed breakdown of how this money is spent is on the budget information page.

How much individual households have to pay is based on the value of their property, whether rented or privately owned, where you live and what Council Tax band you are in.

Who pays Council Tax?

Usually if you are 18 or over and rent or own a home you will pay. People who are married or unmarried, in civil partnerships and joint owners are both liable to pay.

This applies even if you are:

  • not living in the property
  • a landlord of a public house who lives on the premises
  • a squatter

Special cases where the property owner pays

In some cases the property owner, not the resident, has to pay. These include:

  • hostels, nurses’ homes or houses combining a group of bed-sits, where cooking or washing facilities are shared
  • residential care homes, nursing homes (such as hospices) or certain types of hostel providing a high level of care
  • monasteries or convents, vicarages or similar where a minister of religion lives and works
  • accommodations provided to asylum seekers under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Discounts and exemptions

Some properties and people are exempt or receive a discount from paying the full amount. Further information is available on our discounts and exemption page. There are also rules around properties left empty, including empty and furnished, or unfurnished.

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