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Council tax explanatory notes

Council tax explanatory notes for 2022-2023.

Each home, whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile home or houseboat, and whether it is owned or rented, is placed in one of eight bands depending on its open-market value as at 1 April 1991.

The bands are as follows:

Band Property values Ratio Band D
A Up to £40,000 6/9
B £40,001 to £52,000 7/9
C £52,001 to £68,000 8/9
D £68,001 to £88,000 9/9
E £88,001 to £120,000 11/9
F £120,001 to £160,000 13/9
G £160,001 to £320,000 15/9
H Over £320,000 18/9

Look at the list below. When you reach a description that applies to a person in your home, they will be the one who has to pay. The following people could be responsible for paying the council tax:

  • a resident freeholder – this is the owner-occupier
  • a resident leaseholder – this includes assured tenants under the Housing Act 1988
  • a resident – people with a statutory or secure tenancy
  • a resident licensee
  • a resident – this includes squatters
  • the owner – this is usually when the property is unoccupied.

There are a few exceptions to these rules. These include where a property is split into bedsits with shared facilities, or where the occupiers have separate rent arrangements and pay an individual rent to their landlord. These properties are called houses in multiple occupation and the owner has to pay the council tax.

Discounts

The full council tax bill assumes that two adults live in the property. If only one adult lives there (as their main home), the bill is reduced by 25%. The following people do not count towards the number of adults living in the property.

  • full-time students, student nurses, husbands and wives of overseas students, foreign language assistants
  • apprentices and youth training trainees
  • adults with severe mental health problems
  • people in prison (except people in prison for not paying fines or council tax)
  • 18 and 19-year-olds who are at, or have just left, school
  • patients living in hospital
  • patients who are living in residential care homes, nursing homes and hospices
  • care workers on low pay and volunteer care workers
  • people who care for someone with a disability who is not their husband, wife or partner, or child under 18
  • people staying in certain hostels or night shelters
  • members of visiting forces and certain international institutions
  • people under 25 who have left care provided by Leicester City Council.

If, after disregarding people on this list, the number of adult residents is only one, a 25% discount can apply. If all residents are disregarded, a 50% discount can apply. This discount does not apply where someone who
normally lives in the property is temporarily absent.

Property discounts

From 1 April 2013, properties classed as empty and unoccupied receive a 100% discount for up to one calendar month.

This applies from the date that the property first becomes empty. If the property remains empty, the full charge applies after that month.

To be counted as ‘empty and unoccupied’, a property must have been occupied continuously for a minimum of six weeks immediately beforehand.

Exemptions

Some properties are exempt from council tax (you do not have to pay it). These types of properties can be unoccupied or occupied. Examples are:

Unoccupied properties

  • Properties left unoccupied by people who have died, where probate or letters of administration are to be granted, or for up to six months after they have been granted.
  • Properties left unoccupied by people who have moved into a residential care home.

Occupied properties

  • Properties occupied only by full-time students.
  • Properties occupied only by people who have severe mental health problems.

A full list of properties that are exempt appears on our website: leicester.gov.uk/counciltax

Help for disabled people

If you, or anyone who lives with you, needs a room or an extra bathroom or kitchen or space to use a wheelchair in your home, your council tax bill could be reduced.

Simply rearranging rooms (for example, having a bedroom on the ground floor rather than the first floor) is unlikely to make your home eligible for a reduction.

We will need to visit the property to assess.
Visit leicester.gov.uk/counciltax to apply online.

Reductions for annexes

If an exemption does not already apply, a discount of 50% may be granted on an annex which is:

  • occupied by certain relatives of the person liable to pay council tax on the main property; or
  • being used as part of the main residence.

Council tax support (CTS)

CTS is a discount on the bill, similar to the single person discount. You may be able to get CTS if you are on a low income, pension or benefit.

You have to apply for CTS and we assess whether you are eligible based on your household income and savings. The rules are set out in our local scheme. For more information and to apply, please go to
leicester.gov.uk/counciltaxsupport

CTS is administered by Leicester City Council. If you make a claim for universal credit you must apply separately to the council for CTS.

Council tax discretionary relief (CTDR)

CTDR can help if you are suffering financial hardship and cannot afford to pay your council tax bill. CTDR is normally paid in addition to council tax support.

To qualify for CTDR, you must be liable for council tax and at least one of the following:

  • receive CTS
  • receive universal
  • need further financial assistance
  • be in severe financial hardship

To apply for CTDR, visit leicester.gov.uk/dhps

From April 2019, homes empty for more than two years will be charged double the council tax of occupied homes. be charged three times the council tax of occupied homes.

From April 2020, homes empty for more than five years will be charged three time the council tax of occupied homes.

From April 2021, homes empty for more than ten years will be charged four times the council tax of occupied homes.

Council tax is usually paid by 10 monthly instalments as shown on your bill, unless you take over the property during the year. You can also pay your bill over 12 monthly instalments. To do this you must contact us immediately after receiving your bill. Otherwise the number of instalments will depend on the remaining months in the year.

The easiest way to pay your council tax is by direct debit.

It is:

  • convenient
  • saves you time
  • safe and secure
  • spreads your monthly costs

Setting up your direct debit is quick and easy, go to leicester.gov.uk/ddpayments

Find other ways to pay at leicester.gov.uk/counciltax

You can appeal if you think your bill is wrong because:

  • you are not the person who should pay the council tax
  • your property should be exempt or you should be receiving a discount
  • you are entitled to a disabled person’s reduction
  • you are not getting the right amount of CTS.

To appeal, write to the council tax team (address is on your bill) explaining why you feel the council’s decision is wrong. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal, or have not received a response within two months, you can make a further appeal to the
valuation tribunal.

Visit valuationtribunal.gov.uk or call 0300 123 2035 for more information.

You can also appeal to have your home put in a lower valuation band, only if:

  • part of the property has been demolished
  • it has been converted to flats
  • there have been physical changes to the local area such as a major road being built nearby, which would affect the value.

Or, you can appeal within six months of:

  • a band change to your property made by the listing officer, or
  • becoming a new taxpayer for the property.

You still have to pay council tax while you are waiting for a decision on your appeal. If it is successful, we will refund any overpayments.

Appeals on banding should be made directly to the listing officer. Their contact details are at gov.uk/voa/contact.

Visit voa.gov.uk for more information on making an appeal.