Council Tax FAQs
- What is Council Tax?
- Who has to pay Council Tax?
- Joint Liability
- How much do I have to pay?
- Can I get some help with paying Council Tax?
- How can I pay?
- What can I do if I can't pay my bill?
- What happens if I don't pay?
- I'm moving, what do I need to do?
- Council Tax Guides
Council Tax is a property based tax which was introduced on 1 April 1993 to replace Community Charge. It is a locally set tax that is payable on all domestic properties whether owned or rented. The tax pays for about one fifth of the cost of services to the borough such as education, libraries and refuse collection. The rest comes from government grants and Business Rates. The Primary Legislation relating to Council Tax is contained within the Local Government Finance Act 1992. Further information can be found on the UK Statute Law Database (see the external links section below).
Council Tax is paid by home owners or tenants aged 18 or over. Where there is more than one person aged 18 or over resident in the property, the one nearest the top of the following list will be responsible for paying Council Tax:
- A freeholder who lives in the property
- A leaseholder who lives in the property
- A tenant who lives in the property
- Someone who has a license to live in the property
- Any other person (including squatters) who lives in the property
- The owner of an unoccupied property
A resident is someone aged 18 years or over who has their only or main home at the property.
If you do not live in your home but own it or have a tenancy of six months or more, you must still pay Council Tax if your property is:
- A second home
- A care home, nursing home or hostel
- Lived in by more than one household (known as 'Houses in Multiple Occupation' HMO)
- Lived in by a minister of religion or a religious community
- Sometimes used by an employer whose staff live at the property
More than one person may be jointly liable for Council Tax if they live in the property and are joint owners or tenants. This means that the council can require all or anyone of them to pay. Married couples and those living together as husband and wife or civil partners are jointly liable for payment, whether or not they have an equal interest in the property. You should inform us if your bill does not include your partner’s name.
The Council Tax you pay depends on the value of the property in April 1991, as set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) which is part of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - not the council.
Every property is in one of eight valuation bands (A to H). The amount of Council Tax payable for each dwelling is calculated with reference to the eight valuation bands.
To find out which band you are in, and charges for each band, see our bands and charges page.
For further information regarding the band of your property, please visit the GOV.UK website (external link).
There are several ways we may be able to reduce your Council Tax bill, these include:
Your bill will show you if we have already given you any reductions. If your circumstances change during the year, this may affect your entitlement to a discount or exemption. You must notify us of any change to allow the council to independently verify the position. If this does not happen any claim may not be dealt with retrospectively. If we know that your discount or exemption is due to end we will send you a revised Council Tax bill nearer the time, telling you the revised amount to pay.
Please contact us straight away if you cannot pay or are falling behind with your payments. We will do all we can to help you. The sooner you get in touch, the more help and advice we will be able to offer.
Confidential debt counselling is available from the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB). There are two CABs in Haringey:
- Tottenham Citizens Advice Bureau - 551B Tottenham High Road, N17 6SB
- Waltheof Gardens Citizens Advice Bureau - 20E Waltheof Gardens, London, N17 7DN
Opening times and further information can be found on the Citizens Advice Bureau website (see the external links section below).
We take late and non-payment very seriously. If you do not pay your instalments on or before the due date you run the risk of falling into arrears and losing the right to pay by instalments. We will take action to recover the amount you owe.
Firstly, we'll send you a reminder notice which must be paid within seven days. A maximum of two reminders will be sent to you in any one year. If you do not pay within seven days, we will send you a Court summons. If it is necessary to issue a summons for late or non payment, you will incur costs of £115.00.
It is important that you contact us as soon as possible by emailing the council tax team at email@example.com or calling 020 8489 3557 if you are having difficulties in meeting your monthly instalments. We will review your circumstances and advise you how to repay the amount owed. We will also look at ways to reduce the amount payable by way of reductions. If you fail to do so it is likely that recovery action will be taken against you and this will include additional costs of £115.00 to you.
If it is necessary for us to issue a summons against you for late or non-payment, we will apply for a liability order against you. This hearing takes place in a Magistrates' Court. If this happens you must pay the full amount due, plus costs. You will no longer be entitled to pay by instalments.
Once a liability order is granted we can take further recovery action against you such as:
- declare you bankrupt in Court (this will mean you won't be able to get a loan, a mortgage or a bank account)
- put a charge on your property and consider enforcing its sale to clear the debt
- send Enforcement Agents to take away goods to the value of the money you owe
- get your employer to take the money from your earnings
- deduct an amount directly from benefit paid to you by the Department for Works and Pensions
- ask the Magistrates' Court to consider sending you to prison
Please remember that we will take action against those who wilfully withhold or avoid payment of Council Tax, the results of which can include the loss of your home.
To avoid unnecessary action being taken against you, you must pay your Council Tax on time. If you get a letter from us but can't pay, contact us as soon as you can and we'll do our best to help you. Do not ignore the letter!
For more information on recovery of Council Tax, please visit the recovery page.
If you are moving, please let us know as soon as possible with the details of your occupation or vacation, including the names of the people moving into or out of the address so that we can change your account quickly.
- complete an online change of address form
- write to us at:
Shared Service Centre | Revenues
PO Box 10505
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call on: 020 8489 3557
Council Tax Guides are available on the Council Tax Bands and Charges page.
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