Understanding Council Tax
Council Tax is used to pay for local services. There is one Council Tax bill for every property whether it is owned or rented, and whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile home or houseboat.
The full amount of Council Tax that you have to pay is made up of a number of separate charges made by separate authorities.
Download Council Tax explanatory notes 2019/20 (PDF, 119KB) : Information on payments, valuation bands, appeals and discounts.
Download Council Tax Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs) (PDF, 273KB)
Council Tax bands
Your Council Tax is worked out from the value of your property on 1 April 1991 as decided by the Valuations Office. Based on this value, every property is grouped into one of 8 Council Tax bands.
The band for your property is shown on your bill. Check what Council Tax band you are in.
A change in the value of your house caused by general house prices going up or down will not be a reason for changing your Council Tax band (it is based on the price your property would have been sold for on 1 April 1991).
|Valuation band||Range of Values|
Up to and including £40,000
£40,001 - £52,000
£52,001 - £68,000
£68,001 - £88,000
£88,001 - £120,000
£120.001 - £160,000
£160,001 - £320,000
More than £320,000
You may be entitled to Council Tax discounts that mean you will not have to pay the full Council Tax for your property.
Wrong Council tax band
You should continue to pay your original Council Tax bill ('demand notice') whilst your appeal is outstanding.
If you have overpaid your Council Tax, any credit from the overpayment will be offset against any outstanding balance, and the remaining money will be refunded to you.
Further information is available from the Valuation Office Agency.
The local Valuation Office that covers the Harborough District is Council Tax East.
Who must pay Council Tax
You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax if you’re 18 or over and own or rent a home. A full Council Tax bill is based on at least 2 adults living in a home. Spouses and partners who live together are jointly responsible for paying the bill.
Generally, the person who is highest in the following list is liable to pay the Council Tax:
- Resident freeholder - this could be someone who owns and lives at the property
- Resident leaseholder - this could be an owner who lives at the property who is paying a ground rent
- Resident statutory or secure tenant - this could be a Housing Association or private tenant
- Resident licensee - this could be a landlord of a public house who lives on the premises
- Other resident - this could be a squatter
- Owner who does not live at the property
A resident is someone aged 18 years or over who lives in the property as their only or main home.
In some cases more than one person is responsible for making sure that the Council Tax is paid. People who are joint owners or joint tenants are jointly liable. A person who is severely mentally impaired will not be jointly liable.
You must tell us when you become responsible for Council Tax at a property.
Contact us if you disagree with our decision about who is responsible for a property's Council Tax bill. We will review your information and must reply to you within 2 months. If you still disagree with our decision you can appeal to a Valuation Tribunal. You should continue to pay your original bill while you wait for a decision.
When the property owner must pay
In some special cases the owner, not the residents, has to pay the Council Tax. These are:
- Properties occupied by more than 1 household, where the residents pay rent separately for different parts of the dwelling and where the households may share cooking or washing facilities eg some hostels, nurses' homes or groups of bed-sits
- Residential care homes, nursing homes (such as hospices), nursing homes for mental health care or certain types of hostel providing a high level of care
- Religious communities such as monasteries or convents
- Properties that are not the owner's main home, but which are the main home of someone that the owner employs in domestic service
- Vicarages and other properties where a minister of religion lives and works (where the owner-occupier is a Church of England minister of religion the church is responsible for the bill)
When you do not pay Council Tax
If you own a property that qualifies for an exemption (does not require you to pay a Council Tax bill) you will not receive a Council Tax bill for this period. However we will send you information to let you know the valuation band the property has been placed in and what the Council Tax would be if it were not exempt.
If you receive an exemption then you must tell us of any change of circumstances which affects your entitlement within 21 days. Failure to do so may lead to a penalty charge.
For properties that are currently not lived in you can apply for a Council Tax exemption for one of the following reasons:
(if you wish to claim one of these exemptions please email us with full details by clicking on the relevant link or download the relevant form by clicking on the PDF link)
- Owned by a charity (PDF, 179KB)
- Left empty by someone who has gone to prison (PDF, 171KB)
- Previously occupied by a person in permanent residential care (PDF, 172KB)
- Waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted
- Empty because occupation is forbidden by law
- Waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion
- Left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care by reason of old age, disablement or illness
- Left empty by someone who has moved to provide personal care to another person (PDF, 174KB)
- Owned by a student and last occupied by a student (PDF, 176KB)
- Subject to a repossession order
- The responsibility of a bankrupts trustee
- A site for a caravan, mobile home or mooring
- Granny annexes or similar type of property (PDF, 172KB)
For properties that are currently being lived in you can apply for a Council Tax exemption for one of the following reasons:
(please click on the PDF link to download the relevant form)
- All the residents are students
- Used for UK armed forces accommodation
- At least one liable person is a member of a visiting force
- All residents are less than 18 years old (PDF, 172KB)
- All residents are severely mentally impaired (PDF, 197KB)
- At least one liable person is a foreign diplomat
- It is annexed to a family home occupied by that families elderly or disabled relative (PDF, 172KB)