Most households in the UK have to pay council tax. It’s an annual charge which covers the activities of the council, from collecting your rubbish and recycling to your local fire and police departments.
What’s more, it looks like the amount we will be paying in council tax is set to rise next year. The government has announced that councils will be able to increase their taxes by up to 2.99% without having to consult residents, while they can add a further 2% in order to cover the costs of adult social care.
What’s more, the police have been allowed to increase the amount they receive through council tax in response to rising crime figures.
Taken together, this could see a typical home in Band D pay more than £100 extra in the 2019/20 tax year than they currently pay.
What determines my council tax bill?
Each home in the nation is placed within a lettered band. This is based on valuations of the property, though in truth those valuations are enormously out of date. In England and Scotland the bands were based on valuations made in 1991, while in Wales they are from 2003.
In England and Scotland the bands range from A to H, while in Wales it goes one further from A to I. Your bill is then based on what band you fall into.
The current council tax bills for England and Scotland are detailed in the table below. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that individual councils are able to set their own council tax rates, so there are some significant regional variations.
Average Council Tax: £1,114
Average Council Tax: £1,299.70
Average Council Tax: £1,485.30
Average Council Tax: £1,671
Average Council Tax: £2,042.30
Average Council Tax: £2,413.70
Average Council Tax: £2,785
Average Council Tax: £3,342
Can I get a council tax discount?
Your personal circumstances will play a part in precisely how much council tax you need to pay, if any at all.
For example, students are exempt from council tax.
You may also get a discount on your bill if any of the following apply:
- You live alone
- You are on a low income or receive certain benefits, such as universal credit
- You or someone in the property has a disability
- You are a care leaver and live within certain counties
Other homes are not charged council tax, for example if you are selling a home that is now empty because someone has died.
Spreading your payments
It’s also worth bearing in mind that while councils generally look to collect council tax in 10 monthly payments - giving you two months off of paying the bill - you can ask them to instead collect it in 12 payments.
This should give you some welcome breathing space if the bill is starting to feel unaffordable.