Understanding Council Tax

Council tax bills - Frequently Asked Questions

1. I want to set up a Direct Debit to pay my council tax / business rates.

To set up an online direct debit go to www.harborough.gov.uk/directdebit

Alternatively contact customer services on 01858 828282.

2. My bill states I pay by Direct Debit do I need to do anything?

No, the payments will automatically be taken from your account on the dates shown on your bill.

3. I have received a council tax bill and I don’t understand why the amounts have changed?

There may be various reasons why the amounts have changed, for example your entitlement to a discount or benefits may be different or the amounts levied by the County Council, the Fire Authority, the Police or Parish Councils may have increased. If it is not clear from your bill please contact customer services on 01858 828282.

4. I thought the council tax wasn’t increasing but mine has. Why is this?

Harborough District Council have reduced their precept by -0.2%.

Leicestershire Police have increased their precept by 4.8% and Rutland Combined Fire Authority has increased their element of the charge by 3.0%.

Leicestershire County Council has increased their charge by 5%. This includes a 2% increase to fund Adult Social Care and 3% on the core element. The Government has prescribed in law how the Adult Social Care precept is to be shown on your council tax bill. The amount shown is the cumulative amount raised for Adult Social Care in 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20 , 2020/21, 2021/22, 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25.

In addition, your entitlement to a discount or benefit may have changed, which will affect the amount payable.

5. My bill says I’m in a special expense area. What does that mean?

An urban area, for example, Market Harborough, does not have a parish or town council, so the district council takes on the services they usually provide and residents in these areas pay ‘special expenses’ to the district council. Residents in other areas of the district pay their parish council for these services.

6. I want to let you know about a change of address / change in occupancy.

Please visit www.harborough.gov.uk to tell us about your change of circumstances, or call customer services on 01858 828282.

7. I’m struggling to pay my rent / council tax and wonder if I can get any help towards it.

You may be entitled to Housing Benefit towards your rent and / or Council Tax Support to reduce your council tax. You may also be able to apply for a council tax discretionary discount to further reduce your council tax. Please contact customer services on 01858 828282 or go to www.harborough.gov.uk for more information.

8. What is an ‘applicable amount'?

This is a weekly figure set by the Government and represents the basic living needs of the customer and family. All authorities will use this amount when calculating entitlement to benefit.

9. I have received my award letter and the amount of savings (capital) quoted is different to the amount I now have in my account(s).

The figures used in the calculation will be based upon the amount of savings you had when you last applied. If you are of working age, any savings you have that are below £6,000 will not be taken into account when assessing entitlement. This figure is £10,000 in for pensioners.

10. The state retirement pension/welfare benefit amount shown on my award is not quite what I receive.

Most DWP benefits are increased by a certain percentage each year which we work out for the new financial year. If your figure is not accurate please bring in your pension / benefit award letter so we can adjust it if required.