Around twenty-two million homes in England are liable for council tax, raising more than £25 Billion in revenue for the government, which accounts for about 25% of total government spending.
The money raised is intended to go to your local authority to fund services such as the refuse collections, the emergency services as well as support for the elderly and needy. A proportion of the money is apparently also used for the 'upkeep' of your local council borough, through things like street cleaning and park maintenance
Replacing the 'Community Charge' (poll tax), council tax was first introduced in 1993. The poll tax system was based on the rental value of a residence, whereas council tax is based on the market valuation of the property..
Council tax is payable for individual dwellings, and it is normally the responsibility of the occupiers or tenants to make payments to their local authorities. In instances where a property is unoccupied, it is the responsibility of the owner, although a discount rate is applicable in most circumstances.
How Bills Are Calculated
The amount due is dependant on the local borough, and will differ according the the amount of money that council needs to run its services, and the valuation band your property falls into. The charge for a property in band A is always one third of the charge for a property in band H. That is to say that band A covers the smallest/cheapest properties, with the property banding valuation and council tax charge increasing with each band.
As house prices can vary so much across the country, there are regional variations as to how many properties fall into each band. For example , in London only around 3% are in band A, whereas in the North-East, around 57% of properties are band A. That being said the majority of properties nationally fall into band A, with about 68% belonging to A, B or C.
Council Tax Exemptions
All properties are banded for council tax, however some may be exempt permanently or for a limited time if any of the following conditions are met:
- Occupied by those in full time education (students etc)
- Occupied by only under 18s
- Occupied by armed forces personnel
- Unoccupied and undergoing major renovation to make the property habitable
- Unoccupied due to someone dying (up to 6 months after the grant of probate)
- Unoccupied or repossessed. (seized by a mortgage lender, bankruptcy etc.)