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Council tax explanatory notes

Council tax explanatory notes for 2021-2022.

You need to pay your council tax at the start of the financial year (1 April), in 10 monthly instalments as shown on your bill, unless you take over the property during the year. You are also able to pay your council tax in 12 monthly instalments, payable from April 2021 to March 2022. 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.

If you pay in any way other than direct debit, you should pay three to five days before the due date to allow for postal delivery and bank processing.

If you do not pay in line with your instalments, we will take action to collect the money you owe. This could result in us cancelling your right to pay by instalments, and the outstanding balance would then be due immediately. Further action may also result in costs being added to your balance. You can pay your council tax bill in any of the following ways.

Direct debit

This is the simplest way to pay. You stay in control because you have a moneyback guarantee. You pay every month but you only sign one form, and your bank or building society does the rest. You have a choice of four payment dates – 1st, 10th, 20th or 28th of the month – so you can plan your payments to suit yourself. You can forget queues, cheques and stamps. To set up a direct debit please visit leicester.gov.uk/ddpayments. Alternatively, call us on 0116 454 1005 with your bank account name, number and sort code and we can set it up over the phone.

If you already pay by direct debit, you do not have to do anything. The monthly payments shown on your bill will automatically be made by your bank or building society.

Standing order

If you are not sure about paying by direct debit, you could set up a standing order. It is so much easier than paying by cash or cheque. To pay by standing order, fill in the standing order form on https://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-community/council-tax/pay-your-council-tax-and-paperless-billing/  .

Remember to set your standing order date five days before your instalment due date so that your payment is received on time.

BACS

  • Sort code: 20-49-25
  • Account number: 73926826.

Please quote your council tax account number and direct your bank or building society to make the payments five days before the due dates, to ensure the payments reach your account on time.

Online/telephone

Pay by debit card at any time either online via leicester.gov.uk/payments or call 0116 454 1012. Please make sure you have your card details and council tax reference number ready when making the payment.

PayPoint

You can pay at any outlet showing the PayPoint logo. That’s hundreds of places in Leicester, and thousands nationwide, helping you to pay where you want, when you want and at no extra cost for cash payments. Outlets include newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and garages. Most open long hours, many seven days a week. Just pass your bill and cash payment to the shop assistant and they will do the rest. Keep the receipts for your records.

You can find details of your nearest PayPoint outlet at leicester.gov.uk/counciltax, just look at the ‘Ways to pay your council tax’ section.

Difficulties in paying

If you have problems paying the amount due, you may be entitled to council tax support. Please read the section on ‘Ways to reduce your bill’. Depending on what action has been taken already to collect the amount you owe, we may be able to make a payment arrangement. Please note however that no arrangement will be considered without you giving full employment details, and the arrangement must be paid by direct debit. Our contact details are in the ‘Where to get more advice’ section.

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 Range of value
A Up to £40,000
B £40,001 to £52,000
C £52,001 to £68,000
D £68,001 to £88,000
E £88,001 to £120,000
F £120,001 to £160,000
G £160,001 to £320,000
H Over £320,000

You can 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; or there have been physical changes in the local area, for example a major road is 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 the 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.

Please go to voa.gov.uk for more information on making an appeal. You can also find their contact details at gov.uk/voa/contact.

The listing officer is independent of the council. You can appeal to us if you think you are not responsible for paying the bill – for example, because you are not the resident or owner, or because council tax does not have to be paid on that property.

Look down the list below. When you reach a description that applies to a person in your home, they will be the person who has to pay.

The following people could be responsible for paying council tax.

  • a resident freeholder – this is the owner-occupier
  • a resident leaseholder – this includes assured tenants under the Housing Act 1988
  • a resident statutory or secure tenant
  • 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.

Change of address – if you are moving, please tell us online at leicester.gov.uk/counciltax within 21 days of the change. Change of address reported online will now be processed faster, as we have adopted a system which automatically updates the majority of accounts. This should lead to swifter billing and faster processing of refunds.

There may be other changes in your household that affect the amount of council tax to be paid; for example, people may move in or out, become 18 years of age, or stop being a full-time student. You must inform us within 21 days if your circumstances change. This will help us change your bill quickly and ensure you pay the right amount.

You must also inform us if your circumstances change and this affects any reduction, discount or exemption shown on your bill. If you do not tell us you may receive a penalty of at least £70 and a backdated bill for the revised charge. You can report your household changes online at leicester.gov.uk/counciltax.

You can:

  • update your address
  • tell us about any changes in circumstances – this could give you an exemption or discount on your council tax bill
  • receive new council tax bills, revised bills and refunds of overpayments much faster.

If you wish to notify us of a change in circumstances due to a bereavement, please email the information to us, quoting the council tax reference number and address concerned.

Further details of how to contact us are in the ‘Where to get more advice’ section.

If you read the following and think you are entitled to a discount or disabled person’s relief, or you believe your home may be exempt, please contact us for more information. You will have to give proof to support your claim. If your bill shows you receive a discount or exemption, you must tell us about any changes that may affect your entitlement within 21 days of the change.

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 a property.

  • full-time students, student nurses, husbands and wives of overseas students, foreign language assistants
  • apprentices and youth 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

Property discounts

If you have a property that is unoccupied and unfurnished, the property has no charge for the first calendar month. After this, the charge to pay goes up to the full 100% amount. However, if the property has been unoccupied and unfurnished for one calendar month or more by the time you become responsible for it, no further discount will be given and the 100% charge will be payable with immediate effect.

If you have a property that is a second home, or furnished but not occupied as any person’s main home, you will be charged 100% with immediate effect. The change in the level of these charges, effective from 1 April 2013, were part of the government’s Localism Agenda and are in support of the council’s Empty Homes Strategy to help encourage the quick letting or reoccupation of properties in Leicester.

For the purposes of determining the last occupation day, any period of less than six weeks within which the dwelling concerned was occupied shall be disregarded.

Long term empty properties

From April 2019, homes empty for more than two years will be charged double the council tax of occupied homes. From April 2020, homes empty for more than five years will be charged three times the council tax of occupied homes.

From April 2021, homes empty for more than 10 years will be charged four times the council tax of occupied homes. Two classes of dwellings are exempt from the empty homes premium charge.

These are:

  • A dwelling which would otherwise be the sole or main residence of a member of the armed services, who is absent from the property because of such service.
  • A dwelling which forms part of a single property that is being treated by a resident of that property as part of the main dwelling.

Exemptions

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

Unoccupied properties

Class B – Unoccupied properties owned and last used by a registered charity (exempt for up to six months).

Class D – Properties left unoccupied by someone in prison, unless they are in prison for not paying fines or council tax.

Class E – Properties left unoccupied by people who are in hospital for a long time.

Class F – Properties left unoccupied by people who have died where probate or letters of administration are to be granted, and properties where such a grant has been made up for up to six months after.

Class G – Properties left unoccupied because the law does not allow anyone to live in them, including properties where a planning condition prevents occupancy.

Class H – Unoccupied properties kept empty for a minister of religion.

Class I – Properties left unoccupied by people receiving care elsewhere.

Class J – Properties left unoccupied by people providing care elsewhere.

Class K – Properties left unoccupied because the owner is a student living somewhere else.

Class L – Properties left unoccupied because they have been repossessed.

Class Q – Properties left unoccupied which are the responsibility of a bankrupt’s trustee.

Class R – Empty caravan pitches or houseboat moorings.

Class T – Unoccupied property that forms part of another property, which cannot be let separately.

Occupied properties

Class M – Student halls of residence

Class N – Properties used only by full-time students

Class O – Accommodation for armed forces

Class P – Accommodation for visiting forces

Class S – Properties lived in only by people under 18

Class U – Properties occupied only by people who have severe mental health problems

Class V – Properties lived in by diplomats

Class W – Occupied by a dependent relative

 

Reductions for disabled people

If you, or anyone who lives with you, need a room or an extra bathroom or kitchen or space to use a wheelchair in your home, you may be able to have your council tax bill 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.

You can apply for a reduction online, please see our reductions for disabled people web page.

 

Reductions for annexes

A discount of 50% may be granted on an annex (if an exemption does not already apply) which is:

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

 

Do you need financial help to pay your council tax bill?

The council has the power to reduce council tax where discounts, exemptions or local council tax support do not apply, or further reduce council tax where they do apply. Each case will be judged on its merits and we will only consider using this power in very exceptional circumstances.

The government abolished council tax benefit from 1 April 2013, as part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and replaced it with a local council tax support scheme (CTS).

Leicester City Council’s CTS scheme is set annually, and full details for the 2021/22 scheme are available at leicester.gov.uk/counciltaxsupport

CTS is a discount on the bill, similar to single person discount. This reduction to your bill has the same effect as discounts and exemptions in that it reduces the council tax payable by you.

You have to apply for a CTS and we means-test your eligibility based on your household income and savings according to our local scheme.

CTS is administered by Leicester City Council. If you make a claim for universal credit you must apply separately to the council for CTS. For more information on Leicester City Council's CTS scheme and to make an application go to: leicester.gov.uk/counciltaxsupport.

 

If I qualify for support, is there any other help that I can ask for to assist me with paying any shortfall in my bill?

Yes. You can apply for Leicester City Council’s council tax discretionary relief (CTDR). This is a cash limited fund aimed at protecting those who are most vulnerable in the city as defined in our CTDR policy. A copy of the policy is available on our website: leicester.gov.uk/dhps.

In order to qualify for a payment of CTDR, a charge payer must:

  • have a council tax liability; and/or,
  • be in receipt of an award of CTS; and/or,
  • be in receipt of universal credit; and/or,
  • require further financial assistance; and/or,
  • suffer hardship through an extreme event or natural disaster where their main or sole residence has structural damage.

How do I apply for either council tax support and/or council tax discretionary relief?

You can contact us about your council tax:

We may record your call for quality and training purposes. Our opening times are from 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday.


You can contact the housing benefit section, which deals with council tax support claims at:

For more information about council tax, please visit leicester.gov.uk/counciltax – you will also be able to report any changes, apply for certain discounts and exemptions, and download application forms from this page.

How we will use your information

Any personal information that you provide will be processed in accordance with current data protection legislation. It will be used by Leicester City Council and our partners to deliver and improve services and fulfil our statutory duties. We will not disclose any personal information to any other third parties unless required or allowed to do so by law.

Read more about how we use personal data at www.leicester.gov.uk/privacy