Council Tax Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes when we send our Council Tax bills, we receive telephone calls/enquiries asking for certain explanations. Please see below for answers to our most frequently asked questions.
I think the band is too high. How can I check it is correct?
The Listing Officer, who is part of the Valuation Office Agency, is responsible for valuing your property and setting the band. If you wish to appeal against the band you will need to contact the Listing Officer at The Valuation Office Agency on 03000 501 501 or visit the Valuation Office Agency website for more information. The amount of Council Tax charged on your current bill will remain payable until we are notified officially, by the Listing Officer, that the band has changed.
Why does my name / partners name appear first on the bill?
There is no set rule as to whose name appears first on the bill. All persons named on the bill are jointly and severally liable for the amount due.
Does my bill include arrears from previous years?
No. Any amounts that you still owe from previous years are treated separately. You should continue to pay these as previously notified.
Who should pay?
Generally, the person who is highest in the following lists is liable to pay the Council Tax:
- Resident freeholder e.g. an owner occupier.
- Resident leaseholder e.g. an owner occupier who is paying a ground rent.
- Resident statutory or secure tenant e.g. a council or private tenant.
- Resident licensee e.g. the landlord of a public house who lives on the premises.
- Other resident e.g. a squatter.
- Non-resident owner.
Note: Husbands and wives, partners and joint owners are liable to pay Council Tax. The bill will show all the names, although only one bill may be sent.
When should the owner pay?
The owner is liable to pay the Council Tax in the following special cases:
- House in multiple occupation e.g. groups of bedsits which share washing and cooking facilities
- Care and nursing homes together with some hostels
- Some second homes
- Some vicarages
- Properties occupied by asylum seekers
Can I receive my council tax bills by email?
Yes, you can. Simply download your e-billing application form to apply.
Why has my bill got more than one page?
If you have been associated to more than one property within a financial year, you will receive a consolidated bill. This bill has multiple pages. There are separate pages for each property linked to your account reference number, which detail the charge for each liability. There is also a separate page showing the total amount due and your payment plan.
Which page shows my payment plan?
The top sheet of your consolidated bill is a summary statement. This lists the properties and shows charges, payments and any benefit, discount, relief or exemption adjustments. The total amount due for your account is shown on the top sheet, together with a payment plan.
I’ve had several bills this year. Which ones do I pay?
The account reference number is shown at the top right-hand corner of your bill. If you receive more than one bill with the same account reference number, you should pay the bill with the most recent date.
How can I make a payment?
Please see our information page on payments. A list of payment methods is also shown on the back of your bill.
Can I change my payment dates?
Your instalments are due on the first of each month. Please be aware that if a payment is late you may be sent a reminder.
Can I choose which day of the month my direct debit is paid?
Unfortunately, direct debit payments can only be taken on the first of each month.
I have made a payment since the date of this bill - do you need to send me a new bill?
Your payment will be allocated to your account. Please deduct this amount from the first instalment showing on your new bill and pay the balance on the due date. If you want to check that we received the payment, please telephone 01452 396495.
I am having difficulty in paying my bill. What should I do?
Please contact us on 01452 396495. Never 'sit on' your debt - we are here to help. We will discuss with you how much and when you can pay. Please remember that this is an important debt. If we have to take extra steps to recover the amounts due, you can be liable for costs. Don’t leave it contact us without delay!
You can seek independent fiancial advice from:
Reductions in your Bill
I am on a low income and I can’t afford to pay my bill. Can I get help?
If you are on a low income (this may include people working part-time, on a low wage, claiming benefits) you may be entitled to Council Tax Support.
My circumstances have changed. I am no longer entitled to the discount I have on my bill. What do I need to do?
You must contact us a soon as your circumstances change. Please telephone 01452 396495. We will then send you a revised bill.
My circumstances have changed and I think I may be entitled to a discount. What do I need to do?
Please see our information page on council tax discounts, where you can also download an application form.
I am living on my own. Am I entitled to claim a reduction?
People who are aged 18 or over and who live on there own, are entitled to a reduction of 25% on their bill. Please contact us on 01452 396495.
I am disabled/ somebody else in my house is disabled. Will I receive a reduction on my bill?
If you or someone in your house is disabled and can meet certain criteria, you may qualify for a one-band reduction on your bill. Please see our information page on council tax discounts, where you can download an application form.
I am a pensioner. Am I entitled to discount?
Unfortunately there is no automatic discount for pensioners. However, if you are on a low income, you may qualify for Council Tax Support.
Council tax support
I have made a claim for Council Tax Support. Why isn’t the reduction showing on my bill?
You will need to contact the Benefits Section on 01452 396440. They will be able to tell you when your application will be calculated. Once the claim has been processed, a notification will be sent to you, explaining how the support has been calculated. You will then receive a revised Council Tax Bill showing your new instalments to pay, if any.
What period does the amount of Support on my bill relate to?
You will have already received a notification letter from the Benefit Section advising you how much Support has been given to you and how it has been calculated. This letter will also tell you the period it relates to. If you have any further enquiries or would like help; please telephone the Benefits Services on 01452 396440.
I am receiving Income Support/Job Seekers Allowance. Do I have to pay any Council Tax?
You may be entitled to Council Tax Support, which will reduce the amount you have to pay. You will need to complete a Council Tax/Housing Support application form. For more information please see our information page on Housing Benefit. To find out how your claim is progressing please contact the Benefits Services on 01452 396440.
I have moved / will be moving soon – what do I need to do?
Please telephone 01452 396495, preferably within 5 days of your move. We will then amend your account and send you a revised bill.
I am moving to/from another council’s area. Do I have to notify them?
Yes, each local authority must be notified separately