A guide to Council Tax

26. A guide to Council Tax
We know that Council Tax can cause some confusion, that’s why we’ve created this useful guide.

This information applies to Scotland only.

What is Council Tax

Council tax is a tax on the home you live in collected by your local authority.

Who has to pay Council Tax

You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax if you’re aged 18 or over and own or rent a property.

Typically, those living in a property will be  responsible for payment, but if the property is in multiple occupation (a house shared by a number of different people who all pay rent separately) or the people who live in the property are all under the age of 18, the owner will be responsible to pay. For more details see here http://bit.ly/1TG3UH8

How much is Council Tax: Valuation Bands

All residential properties are given a council tax valuation band by the council. The band is based on the value of your home and different amounts are charged on each band. In Scotland there are eight Council Tax valuation bands, ranging from A the lowest, to H the highest, see more here http://bit.ly/1WE9K1L

You can check your valuation band by visiting your local council website. You can find that information at http://www.saa.gov.uk/

Discounts

A full Council Tax bill is based on at least 2 adults cohabitating, but you can get a discount if you fall in the following categories

  • Everyone in your home, including you, is a full-time student (to count as a full-time student, your course must last at least one year and involve at least 21 hours study per week), you’ll get a 100% discount.
  • No-one living in your home, including you, is over the age of 18, you’ll get a 50% discount.
  • You live alone or with minors, you’ll get a 25% off.
  • If the property you own or rent isn’t your main home, you can get up to 50% discount.

If you have low or no income you might be entitled to a Council Tax Reduction.  You can find more information herehttp://bit.ly/27uYf0v

For the empty properties there could be a discount, but they may actually charge more if the home has been empty for 2 years, so best to contact your local council to check how it affects you. http://bit.ly/19pg8n8

How to pay Council Tax

Council tax bills are normally sent out each year in April and you’ll be told how much you have to pay for the year, how it was worked out, and when to pay. You have the right to pay in ten instalments, although some local authorities will accept other payments. You might want to check out if your local authority offers a reduction if you pay the bill in full at the beginning of the year.

Arrears

It’s important that you keep bang up to date with your council tax payments. If you miss an instalment on the due date, you’ll get a reminder, asking for payment within seven days. If you still don’t pay within this time, you’ll lose the right to pay by instalments and you’ll have to pay the full amount. If you still haven’t paid an instalment of council tax within 28 days of the due date, the local authority may take legal action against you.

If you do find yourself in arrears with your council tax, talk to an experienced adviser, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or log onto http://www.cas.org.uk/

Council Tax Reform 2017

Announced by the First Minister, from April 2017, the Council Tax freeze will be replaced with discretion for local authorities to increase council tax by a maximum of 3 per cent per year.

To make the system fairer from April 2017, the rates paid by those in the four highest council tax bands (E, F, G and H) will be increased. The average band E household will pay around £2 per week more and the average household in the highest band will pay around £10 a week more.

You can find more information on the Government’s site: http://bit.ly/1RMCgJY




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