Taxes in Europe Database v2
Local Government and Finance Act 1992.
Scotland and Wales have separate but similar council tax systems. The Scottish Executive is responsible for council tax in Scotland and the Welsh Assembly Government is responsible for council tax in Wales. The system in Northern Ireland is based on domestic rates, rather than council tax and is the responsibilitty of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
One council tax bill is payable for each dwelling. The person liable to pay the bill is usually the owner‑occupier(s) or tenant(s).
The council tax is set annually by each billing (levying in Scotland) authority (district councils, London boroughs, the Common Council of the City of London, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, regional and islands councils) based on their budget requirements. Each dwelling has been valued and placed in one of eight "valuation bands" (nine in Wales), and these determine the amount of tax to be paid in respect of each dwelling. Generally, the lower the valuation band in which a dwelling is placed, the lower the tax to be paid.
Some dwellings are exempt from council tax. These include dwellings which:
Note: when granting an exemption the billing authority must be satisfied that the requirements of the legislation, as they see it, have been met.
The rate of council tax is set annually by local authorities, although local electorates have a power to approve or veto excessive increases in a referendum. An excessive increase is defined by threshold levels ('principles') which are proposed annually by the Secretary of State and subject to approval by the House of Commons.
The council tax is collected by billing authorities. Taxpayers have the right to pay in 10 or 12 monthly instalments.
A full council tax bill assumes that two adults live in a property. If only one adult lives there (as a main home), the bill is reduced by 25 %; if it is no one's main home (e.g. empty or a second home), there may be a discount depending on the particular circumstances.
Some people are not counted when considering the number of adults resident in a dwelling. These include:
Note: when granting a relief the billing authority must be satisfied that the requirements of the legislation, as they see it, have been met.
Bills may also be reduced where the property has certain features to help meet the needs of a resident disabled person.