Moving home is stressful enough without having to deal with the challenge of updating personal information and records for bills. Council tax is one of the main bills that you’ll need to sort out when moving. In our guide to council tax, we’ll reveal how much you need to pay, how to save money on your council tax and what to do when you’re moving house. Whether you’re moving out of the family home, downsizing or moving home after a divorce, you’ll find everything here you need to know about council tax.
What is Council Tax?
Council tax is a domestic property tax collected by local authorities. This fee is charged for local services, such as rubbish collection, fire and police services, street cleaning, library services and more. Most council tax is paid to your local council in ten monthly instalments with a two-month break. Anyone over 18 who rents or buys a home has to pay council tax.
Council Tax Band Guide: Amount of Council Tax to Pay
How much you pay for your bill depends on your council tax band. A valuation band is used to determine the exact amount you pay, and this is something you should accommodate for in your moving costs.
The valuation band is associated with the price of your home on 1st April 1991. Each band is labelled between A and H and has a different range of house values. However, in general, lower-priced houses are in Band A while those that are higher are in Band H. You can discover which band your home belongs to and how much your household pays by checking on your local council tax website.
Our Council Tax Guide to Reductions
It’s important to know that some people are exempt from paying council tax. These exemptions include:
- A home inhabited by a mentally impaired person’s
- A home inhabited by people under 18
- An unoccupied property due to the person residing there having to care for someone else
- An unoccupied property due to the person needing to be cared for elsewhere
- A property that has been legally repossessed
- A property inhabited by students
How to Save Money on Council Tax
Some people can receive a reduction on their council tax bill. You can save money if you:
- Live on your own or are the only adult in your home
- Are registered as disabled
- Have zero income or low income
- Receive specific benefits, including Income Support, Pension Credit and Jobseekers Allowance
- Are a member of the Armed Forces and living in the home for work reasons
If you can’t obtain a reduction, you can ask to spread the cost over twelve months instead of ten. However, you won’t receive a payment break.
Council Tax Bill When Moving Home
If you’ve been living in a property as the main resident, you’ll need to contact your local council who will send you a final bill. You’ll then receive an annual bill for your new home. If you’re staying within the same local area, you can use the same account. However, if you’re moving to a different location, you’ll have to make a new account with the local council of that area.
If you’re a homeowner and your old property is staying empty, you’ll still need to pay your council tax at a reduced rate. If you’re renting, your landlord will be responsible for making the council tax payment. It’s best to inform your local council as soon as possible to arrange your final bill. If you paid your council tax upfront and don’t pay monthly, you’ll be able to apply for a refund.
Remember, you’re responsible for making council tax payments once you move into a new property. If you move within the same local authority, you don’t have to worry too much as you can use the same direct debit and pay at the same time as you did previously. Start making payments on your new home straight away or your council tax will be backdated and you could find yourself with a hefty bill.