- 1 Is it mandatory to pay Council Tax in UK
- 2 Why is London council tax cheap
- 3 How much is council tax on average UK
- 4 What happens if you don’t pay council tax in UK
Is it mandatory to pay Council Tax in UK
Your liability to pay – You don’t have a choice of whether you are charged Council Tax. This is determined by law. Council Tax does not require your consent or a contract with the council. The issue of a Council Tax Demand Notice (the bill) creates the debt.
- It isn’t a criminal offence to not pay Council Tax.
- However, it’s a criminal offence to not supply information without reasonable excuse in response to a Request for Information.
- It’s also a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly supply false information.
- You can be imprisoned for up to 3 months if your failure to make payment is due to wilful refusal or culpable neglect.
Whether a name is legal or fictional is irrelevant for the purposes of Council Tax. Freemen of the Land are still liable to pay Council Tax. If you have any concerns over the charging of Council Tax, please seek professional legal advice.
Why is London council tax cheap
London is the most affordable area to pay council tax in England – Despite being home to some of the most expensive properties in the UK, places like Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham have some of the lowest council tax rates in the country, primarily due to local councils gaining revenue from other sources, like parking charges or business rates.
How much is council tax on average UK
4. Calculation of council tax in England, 2023-24 – Council tax levels are calculated by dividing the council tax requirement by the tax base for tax setting purposes. The council tax requirement represents how much revenue councils have agreed is needed to be met through council tax.
- The tax base is the number of Band D equivalent dwellings in the authority determined for tax setting purposes for the year ahead.
- There are several factors affecting comparability of some figures from year to year, including the referendum principles that are set each year.
- See the Introduction section for more information.
Table 1 gives a breakdown of the council tax level for England for 2023-24.
The average Band D council tax set by local authorities in England for 2023-24 is £2,065, which is an increase of £99 or 5.1% on the 2022-23 figure of £1,966. This includes adult social care and parish precepts. The council tax requirement (including adult social care and parish precepts) in 2023-24 is £38.7 billion, £2.4 billion higher when compared with 2022-23. Parish precepts in 2023-24 will total £708 million which is £53 million higher than in 2022-23. The total tax base used for setting council tax for 2023-24 was 18.7 million Band D equivalent dwellings.
Table 1: Calculating council tax levels: England summary 2019-20 to 2023-24
|Year||2019 to 2020||2020 to 2021||2021 to 2022||2022 to 2023||2023 to 2024|
|Council tax requirement including adult social care precept, excluding parish precepts (£ millions)||30,894||32,544||33,819||35,658||38,011|
|Parish precepts (£ millions)||554||596||618||655||708|
|Council tax requirement including adult social care and parish precepts (£ millions)||31,448||33,141||34,437||36,313||38,718|
|Taxbase for council tax setting purposes (millions)||17.972||18.232||18.139||18.473||18.749|
|Average Band D council tax including adult social care, excluding parish precepts (£)||1,719||1,785||1,864||1,930||2,027|
|Average Band D council tax including adult social care and parish precepts (£)||1,750||1,818||1,898||1,966||2,065|
Footnotes for Table 1 Since 2016-17 social care authorities have been able to increase council tax under the social care precept, as well as under the core council tax referendum principle. Local authorities were given the flexibility to increase council tax by up to 3% a year in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and increase by up to 2% in 2019-20, while being capped at a maximum total of 6 percentage points rise over the period 2017-18 to 2019-20.
- In 2020-21 adult social care authorities were able to increase council tax by an additional 2 per cent to fund adult social care.
- In 2021-22 and 2022-23 adult social care authorities were able to increase council tax by an additional 3 per cent over the two years to fund adult social care, with no limitation as to how this is split between the two years.
But for 2022-23, the additional amount was then set as a 1 per cent increase plus any amount of the 3% that had not been used in 2021-22 because the authority had planned to defer it to 2022-23. In 2023-24, authorities were able to increase the adult social care precept by up to 2%.
- The parish precept data has had a minor revision following the validation of the individual parish data.
- The revision has had a negligible effect on the average Band D including parish precept figure.
- Table 2 shows average Band D council tax levels for England as a whole and by class of authority, along with the percentage change over the corresponding figure for 2022-23.
This is shown including adult social care precept only (column 1 & 2) and including both adult social care and parish precepts (column 3 & 4). Due to reorganisations, the percentage change figures for unitary authorities, shire districts and shire counties have been calculated on a like-for-like basis.
London boroughs have an increase in average Band D council tax of 5.1% (including adult social care and excluding parish precepts). Metropolitan districts have an increase of 4.7% for average Band D council tax (including adult social care and excluding parish precepts). Unitary authorities have an increase of 5.0% in their average Band D council tax (including adult social care and excluding parish precepts) on a like-for-like basis. Shire counties will see an increase of 5.0% in their average Band D council tax (including adult social care) on a like-for-like basis. Shire districts will see an increase of 3.0% (excluding parish precepts) on a like-for-like basis due to referendum principles which allowed some authorities to set an increase of £5 or 3%. Police and crime commissioners will see an increase of 6.2% (£14.88) due to referendum principles which allowed these authorities to set an increase of up to £15. Fire and rescue authorities are increasing their average Band D council tax by 6.3% due to referendum principles which allowed these authorities to set an increase of up to £5.
Table 2: Council tax (average Band D) in England 2023-24, and percentage change from 2022-23: by class of authority
|Class of Authority||Average council tax for the authority including adult social care precept, excluding parish precepts (Band D) £||Percentage change of average council tax for the authority including adult social care precept, excluding parish precepts (Band D) %||Average council tax for the authority including adult social care and including parish precepts (Band D) £||Percentage change of average council tax for the authority including adult social care and including parish precepts (Band D) %|
|Inner London boroughs including City||1,086||4.3%||1,086||4.3%|
|Outer London boroughs||1,530||5.6%||1,530||5.6%|
|Greater London Authority||434||9.7%||434||9.7%|
|of which The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime||292||5.4%||292||5.4%|
|of which other services||142||19.9%||142||19.9%|
|Metropolitan fire and rescue authorities||80||6.6%||80||6.6%|
|Shire unitary authorities||1,733||5.0%||1,793||5.0%|
|Shire fire and rescue authorities||87||6.1%||87||6.1%|
|Police and crime commissioners||255||6.2%||255||6.2%|
|Fire and rescue authorities||86||6.3%||86||6.3%|
Footnotes for Table 2 This includes core GLA, Transport for London (TfL), The London Legacy Development Corporation, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA); and The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. Three (Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (CA), Liverpool City Region CA, and the Greater Manchester CA) out of the eight combined authorities set a precept in 2023-24.
- As this was the first time that a precept had been set by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, no percentage change has been calculated.
- For Greater Manchester Combined Authority, this reflects only the precept for their general functions which includes their responsibility for fire and rescue services.
- The year-on-year percentage change has been calculated as if Cumberland Council, North Yorkshire Council, Somerset Council and Westmorland and Furness Council had been in existence in 2022-23 to allow for like-for-like comparisons at class level.
It has not been possible to calculate a like-for-like comparison to reflect move of fire and rescue responsibilities from Cumbria County council arising from the 2023-24 reorganisation. Does not include the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime element from GLA and excludes City of London Police (as this element is not distinguishable from the council tax charged by the City of London).
- Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s and West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s police function are included.
- Covers both metropolitan and shire and fire rescue authorities.
- It excludes fire and rescue services provided by counties, unitaries, GLA and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
- Table 3 and Chart A give figures for, levels of, and changes in, the average Band D council tax (including parish precepts) for England for the last 14 years.
Table 3: Average Band D council tax (including parish and adult social care precepts) in England and the annual percentage change 2010-11 to 2023-24
|Year||Pounds £||Percentage Change %|
|2010 to 2011||1,439||1.8|
|2011 to 2012||1,439||0.0|
|2012 to 2013||1,444||0.3|
|2013 to 2014||1,456||0.8|
|2014 to 2015||1,468||0.8|
|2015 to 2016||1,484||1.1|
|2016 to 2017||1,530||3.1|
|2017 to 2018||1,591||4.0|
|2018 to 2019||1,671||5.1|
|2019 to 2020||1,750||4.7|
|2020 to 2021||1,818||3.9|
|2021 to 2022||1,898||4.4|
|2022 to 2023||1,966||3.5|
|2023 to 2024||2,065||5.1|
Footnotes for Table 3 Referendum principles vary year to year which will affect the annual change. Please see the introduction section of the statistical release for further information. Freeze grant was paid to local authorities that froze or reduced council tax between 2011-12 to 2015-16.
- Local authorities have been given flexibility to increase council tax by an additional amount to fund adult social care since 2016-17.
- The amount of flexibility has varied from year to year.
- In 2022-23, the Government provided a £150 one-off Energy Bills Rebate for most households in council tax bands A-D.
This did not affect these figures. Chart A: Average Band D council tax in England percentage change 2010-11 to 2023-24 (including parish and adult social care precepts) See Accompanying Tables and Open Data to download the chart data. Footnotes for Chart A Referendum principles vary year to year which will affect the annual change. Please see the introduction section of the statistical release for further information.
Freeze grants were paid to local authorities that froze or reduced council tax between 2011-12 and 2015-16. Local authorities with adult social care responsibilities have been able to increase council tax by up to an additional 2% in 2023-24. This precept applies to London boroughs (including the City of London), county councils, metropolitan districts, and unitary authorities.
Table 4 shows the number of authorities using some, or all, of this year’s adult social care precept flexibility and how much additional council tax was raised through it.
The additional adult social care precept flexibility in 2023-24 will generate £561 million. Of 153 authorities with adult social care responsibilities, 151 utilised some, or all, of their precept flexibility for 2023-24. The adult social care precept flexibility in 2023-24 accounts for £30, or 1.6%, of the average Band D council tax bill.
Table 4: Average Band D council tax precept for adult social care in 2023-24
|Year||2019 to 2020||2020 to 2021||2021 to 2022||2022 to 2023||2023 to 2024|
|Number of authorities with adult social care responsibilities||151||151||152||152||153|
|Number of authorities utilising some or all of the adult social care precept||85||151||148||150||151|
|Total amount raised through the adult social care precept (£ million)||200||497||611||408||561|
|Tax base for council tax setting purposes (millions)||17.972||18.232||18.139||18.473||18.749|
|Average Band D council tax attributable to adult social care precept (£)||11.15||27.27||33.66||22.08||29.94|
Footnotes in Table 4 Social care authorities can increase council tax under the adult social care precept, as well as under the core council tax referendum principle. The adult social care precept increase was up to 3 per cent a year in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and an increase by up to 2 per cent in 2019-20, while being capped at a maximum total of 6 percentage points rise over the period 2017-18 to 2019-20.
In 2020-21 the increase could be up to 2 per cent. In 2021-22 and 2022-23 adult social care authorities were able to increase council tax by an additional 3 per cent over the two years to fund adult social care, with no limitation as to how this is split between the two years. But for 2022-23, the additional amount was then set as a 1 per cent increase plus any amount of the 3% that had not been used in 2021-22 because the authority had planned to defer it to 2022-23.
In 2023-24, authorities were able to increase the adult social care precept by up to 2%. Islington has been included in the figure for 2019-20, as they utilised the social care precept, although their precept element appeared as £0.00. All increases to council tax, whether or not attributable social care precept, become the new baseline for increases for the following year.
As a result, these figures do not reflect the full amounts in 2023-24 that follow from increases to council tax levels as a result of the social care precept. This is because full extent of the element within both i) council tax bills and ii) council tax receipts in 2023-24 that is attributable to the social care precept requires a cumulative calculation of each local authority’s decisions on the use of the social care precept in each year since its inception in 2016-17.
Table 5 shows information relating to parishes and other local precepting authorities and the precepts they raise. Not all areas have parishes and therefore, the tax base in this table is lower than in Table 1, The table below shows the number and tax base of town and parish councils and charter trustees charging precepts and the average parish precept on an average Band D property in a precepting area.
The average Band D precept charged by a parish or charter trustee for 2023-24 will be £79.35, an increase of £4.54, or 6.1%, from 2022-23.
Table 5: Average Band D parish precepts for England 2019-20 to 2023-24
|Year||2019 to 2020||2020 to 2021||2021 to 2022||2022 to 2023||2023 to 2024|
|Total number of precepting parishes||8,859||8,886||8,877||8,874||8,881|
|Tax base (thousands)||8,253.8||8,532.7||8,600.7||8,757.7||8,920.2|
|Aggregate of local precepts (£000)||554,492||596,362||618,060||655,138||707,805|
|Average parish precept per Band D (£)||67.18||69.89||71.86||74.81||79.35|
|Percentage change (%)||4.9%||4.0%||2.8%||4.1%||6.1%|
Footnotes for Table 5 Council tax payers in the Charter Trustees for the City of Durham have only been included once here, although they are actually spread across multiple parishes in Durham. The aggregate of local precepts presented here may be different to the local authority total due to rounding. The data have been revised following the validation of the individual parish level data.
How does council tax work UK?
Council tax and your bill – Council tax is your way of helping to pay for many local services like emergency services, rubbish collection, libraries, schools, street lights and much more. Council tax is charged on the household. It’s based on the value of the property and not on what the household earns.
What happens if you don’t pay council tax in UK
If you don’t pay off your council tax debt Usually the council will want you to pay the debt within the current tax year. The council might: send a bailiff to take items from your home – check what to do if bailiffs visit your home. take a fixed percentage from your pay – this is called an ‘attachment of earnings’
What happens if you don’t pay council tax England?
Court – Your council can take you to court if you don’t pay the money you owe and the bailiffs can’t recover enough property to cover it. The court will consider whether you:
can afford to pay the bill have a valid reason to not pay
You can be sent to prison for up to 3 months if the court decides you don’t have a good reason to not pay your Council Tax and you refuse to do so. If the court decides you have something to pay back you may be able to make an arrangement to pay your debt over time.
Can I refuse to pay tax UK?
Other action HMRC can take – HMRC can take further enforcement action if you haven’t paid your income tax and haven’t made an agreement with them to pay it. It’s rare to be prosecuted or sent to prison for tax evasion, but HMRC can:
take your possessions, including vehicles, to sell at auction (called ‘distraint’) take money directly from your bank account, if your debt is £1,000 or more take court action make you bankrupt, or close down your business
HMRC don’t do these things in order – they take whichever action they think is the most likely to work, based on the size of your debt. If you’re having problems paying your income tax and need further help, you can talk to an adviser at Citizens Advice, or contact TaxAid,
Who pays Council Tax in UK landlord or tenant?
Properties on separate tenancy agreements – If a property is rented out on separate tenancy agreements, the landlord is usually responsible for paying the council tax. The landlord would need to pay the council tax if either:
the tenants each have their own tenancy agreement which makes them responsible only for their own rentthe tenants each rent a specific room which may have its own lock or number (even if they share a kitchen or a bathroom)the property was built or adapted to be lived in by people who are not a single household (for example, a house turned into bedsits)
Example If you rent with other people but your tenancy agreement only has your name and the rent for your room, your landlord must pay the council tax. Example If your tenancy agreement includes the name of your housemates and you are collectively responsible for the rent on the whole property, you are responsible for the council tax.
How is Council Tax worked out in England?
How properties are valued for Council Tax https://valuationoffice.blog.gov.uk/2023/06/05/how-properties-are-valued-for-council-tax/ Council Tax bands are based on the open market value of a property – the price a home could have been sold for – at a fixed point in time. This is known as the antecedent valuation date (AVD). The date used is set in law, and it’s different in England and Wales.
- In England, the AVD is 1 April 1991
- In Wales, the AVD is 1 April 2003
This is why homes of different values are placed in the same band. For example, band C in England will be given to properties which would have sold for £52,001 to £68,000 on the AVD. We consider three types of evidence when working out Council Tax bands – sales, banding and settlement evidence.
- In this blog, we’ll look at each type of evidence and how it helps us make decisions and the weighting (that is, the relative importance) we give to each type of evidence.
- Sales evidence To decide which Council Tax band is right for a property, we first look at the price properties actually sold for around the AVD.
This is called sales evidence. Sales evidence is the most reliable form of evidence, and we give the most weight to it. Our starting point is to find sales evidence on the ‘subject’ property (the property we’re allocating the band to). The sale must have been close to the AVD – 1991 in England and 2003 in Wales – for us to be able to use it as evidence.
- If this is not available, we then look at how much other properties in the area sold for at that time.
- These properties do not need to be exactly the same as the subject property, but they must be similar enough for us to compare.
- We compare each sale to the subject property, adjusting the price to reflect differences like size and location.
This helps us to work out the value of the subject property, which then determines its Council Tax band.
- We do not consider house price data from free house price or house price index websites as a good form of valuation evidence.
- This is because price indexing tools can be unreliable as they generally use data from wide geographic areas and draw on a wide range of different property types and recent sales prices.
- This means that they do not give an accurate estimate of the open market value of a property as at the AVD.
- Banding evidence
We always try to find sales evidence first, as this gives the closest estimate of the price a home could have been sold for. But if we’re valuing a new property, it will not exist. In these cases, we look at banding evidence. As all properties are valued at the same date, we consider the bands already allocated to similar properties.
- Settlement evidence
- When we look at the bands of similar properties, we give more weight to those that have been challenged and a decision has been made to change the band (this is what we mean by settlement).
- This is because our initial decisions are tested during the challenge process, so the resulting Council Tax band carries more weight than a band that has never been challenged.
- We give the most weight to decisions made at Valuation Tribunal.
At a Tribunal, an independent panel considers all available evidence before deciding on the right band for a property. The panel also looks at previous valuation decisions. Next are Council Tax bands that have been settled through an agreement. This is when a challenge or proposal has been made, and we have agreed a change to a band.
- If similar properties have had their challenges withdrawn or we haven’t changed the band following a decision, then we’ll also consider this in our assessment.
- We welcome your comments about this blog below but cannot discuss individual cases.
- Please do not share any personal information.
- We will not be able to publish any comments that include personal details.
Please direct all queries about individual cases to our, : How properties are valued for Council Tax