How To Pay Council Tax

How to pay council tax

01 Feb 2020

Council tax is the primary local tax, also called rates, paid to the local authorities in the UK to spend on public services like maintaining parks, policing, personalized care and clean-up. It applies to all types of properties, mobile homes and even boats, either rented or owned. The tax depends on the value of the property instead of the income earned by the individual owning (or occupying) the property. 

Myriad federal-state tax rate makes it difficult to get the exact comparison of the wide range of deductions and allowances in each country. In the US, the state taxes are relatively higher than the taxes in the UK and even low earning groups see a big portion of their income going to taxes,  on the contrary, certain regulations allow even higher earners to be levied relatively lightly.

The state and local sales tax in New York City is lower than the VAT rates of the EU but the property taxes are higher and homeowners in some US states have to pay more than $5000 in taxes.

Most countries tax individuals on their earnings but France has taxes for couples. The system of taxation is complex in France, while, Britain has a relatively simpler system. The US raises large revenues from property taxes but the council taxes are relatively higher in the EU. 

Australia has a low tax rate as compared to the US but more in comparison to the UK. In Australia, options like levies for personal insurance lower the overall expense. In the UK, (as per a survey) someone earning £100,000 pays almost 30% to the HMRC – which is roughly the same as in the US, Spain, and Australia. Other European countries have higher deductions like in Germany the cut is over 41% and France over 55% (in France a greater percent of the deductions go into the pension account).

How to pay council tax in UK?

In the UK, if you are 18 years or older, you have to pay the Council tax for your rented or owned accommodation, which is collected when at least one adult is living in the home, and in case of spouses, they are jointly responsible for paying it.

One can receive the bill and can opt to pay it in 10 months or in 12 monthly installments. The payment can be made online through the debit or credit card details and the council tax reference number. 

It can be made on the phone through the referencing number and the debit/credit card details or the bank sort code and the bank account number. 

One can make payment by post where the letter (or the bill) is attached to the payment. 

How to pay council tax online?

People who are registered to the online council tax website - can view and pay it there. Online council tax website provides the up to date information, latest status, arrears and it also offers the ability to set up a Direct Debit for payment. Also, the users can look into the discounts and exemptions at the registered page like one can get 25% off on the bills if you live on your own and if no –one else in the house is an adult. 

To pay, one should first try to find the valuation of the home (in England and Wales or Scotland). One can try to find out ways to get exemptions or discounts from the full bill that depends on the band to which the house belongs. You can even challenge the council for giving a wrong valuation band and it can be modified later on.

You will have to create an online account where the bills are received. Once the council tax account is linked, one can check the complete summary at the Full details page. 

The authorities offer different ways to set up and pay offline or online like Direct Debit, telephone payment, and online payment facilities.

You can claim 50% discount if no one lives in the house and the tax is not paid by tenants or owners of a home who are full-time students. 

How much council tax do I have to pay? 

  • There are 8 council valuation bands in England and Scotland, and there are 9 in Wales. Those who are moving into a new house and are not registered will have to fill the moving in form, then they become liable for it. 
  • One can have a different tax band in situations when 
  • A part of the property is demolished and not rebuild by the owner.
  • In case alterations are made to create multiple self-contained units in the home. 
  • If the single property is split into multi-unit flat, or if many flats are converted into one.
  • The tax band changes if one stops working from home. 
  • If you buy a house where the previous owner makes some infrastructural changes, it can alter the tax band.
  • Certain conditions when you are not liable to pay are-
  • Children below 18 or those pursuing full-time education - college or university.
  • Diplomats and those with severe mental impairment do not have to pay it. 
  • Nursing students or younger (less than 25 years) who get money from the skills funding agency are exempt from it. 
  • One can get a rebate if the total income is very low or one belongs to the social class that gets social benefits. 

How to pay council tax for the first time? 

Anybody who is over 18 years and lives in a rented or owned accommodation is responsible for paying the council tax. Spouses and partners are jointly liable to pay the bill and adults living alone with no one else get 25% off on the bill.

There are deadlines for setting up a new payment plan and the amount of tax depends on the size and value of the property along with the number of people living in it. The amount to be paid is increased annually in line with the cost of services.

How long can someone stay without paying council tax?

This is a priority bill that has to be paid within the financial year that runs from April to March. In case you are unable to pay the arrears by the end of the year, one may have to work out and ask for a special payment arrangement where you explain why and how you can arrange for the offered amount. The negotiation with the local authorities where the local councilor intervenes and handles your case can help to lower the overall expense. 

If you are unable to pay the arrears, it can be added to the bill which can increase the overall arrears. In case of any doubt, one can ask the counselor to help or file a complaint to handle the problem. 

What happens if you miss to pay?

If you miss the payment, the local council will send a reminder which gives you just 7 days to make the payment. If the payment is not made in the notice period, the council will initiate legal action against you. 

If you fail to pay even after the initiation of the legal actions, the council will contact the employer to get the unpaid tax from any of the income support - jobseeker allowance, universal credit, pension funds or employment/support allowance. They can take the money from the employer, which is based on the pre-arranged formulae where 17% of the normal take home is extracted in case of attachment of earnings is ordered against the person. 

There are other methods adopted by the enforcement where they can make a list of the items owned by a person and sell it to get the dues. Such operations are conducted under the instructions of the local authority, who can call it off anytime. 

There are other ways like charging orders on the home or bankruptcy proceedings ordered by the authorities in case of non-payment. 

There have been certain cases in the UK where people have been sent to jail for the nonpayment of council dues.

In case one fails to submit the dues of the council, the court will have to prove that the person had willfully refused to pay it or was culpably neglectful about their obligation, which can get them imprisoned. 

In case somebody receives summon from the court, they should be able to explain their position to the magistrate where they need to give an accurate explanation for why they are not liable to be sent to jail. 

In case of a death, the arrears are recovered from the asset or the money left behind. Nobody else is liable to pay unless the asset is jointly owned by another person. 

In case you are facing severe financial difficulties, you can contact the local councilor to get a rebate. 

There can be two months in the year when one may not pay the tax but it depends on the payment plan selected by the user. So when you opt for 10 installments, you get a break in the bill for the months - February and March. One can check the account summary to see if they are eligible for the two-month tax break or not. 

How to lower the overall rates?

In case you are unable to pay back the dues- there are four ways that can be adopted to reduce the overall cost.

The cost reduces when the home is adapted and used by a disabled person of any age. The time of stay of the disabled person in the home can be of backdating, for which one can obtain a discount at a later stage. 

There are other types of discounts offered like status discounts and options like transitional reduction scheme where people living in areas affected by local government reorganization are given relaxation. 

In case of single occupancy - if another person moves into the house and you are paying the single occupant tax, you need to inform the local authorities about the change. The new lodger may have a main residence somewhere else. In case a lodger has another home, the rate won’t be affected but if they do not own a home elsewhere the bill should be split between the two. 

How to get council tax bill?

  • The bill is set up by the local council that can be viewed online and is also received by post.
  • The payment amount varies from one place to another.
  • The rates operate on different value band systems where one can get exemptions if the property falls in such a category as a full-time student, army home, accommodation requiring major repair work, unoccupied / house of someone who has died or repossessed by bank/mortgage lender. 
  • In case you move into a new area, you need to inform the local authorities about the change of address for the purpose. 
  • If the home remains unoccupied for over 12 months, the annual bill will be sent to the owner of the house. 

How do I set up council tax?

The online instruction should be followed to set up the self-service and e-billing account where one can find out how to set up the Direct Debit account or make the payment for the first time. One can set it up by joining Direct Debit online.

Normally the payment is made every month but there are options where one can set up an alternative method where you pay once for the whole year.

Looking for How do I set up council tax? A guide might be a bit tricky if you are just starting out. The reality is that the tax system is extremely complex and you have to have an expert help you if you want to make it easy for yourself. So it's best to search the internet for some guidance or a council tax calculator. They can help you and save you some time.

All of the information you need to know about how do I set up council tax can be found online. You will need to look for the council tax calculator and you can find this online or by visiting your local council.

There is also a website that offers advice on getting the most for your money and if you are looking for a company that can help you with setting up council tax, you should contact the Better Business Bureau.

If you find out they are a member of the BBB you should be able to find out their credibility and if you are going to receive the best service possible. Also, remember that the website you get your council tax from must offer the cheapest rates for the same amount of money and inheritance tax.

It's vital that you look at all the options that you have in order to get the most tax deductions you can afford. There are tax calculators that will calculate the rate of tax you pay based on your income and your expenses.

One of the best ways to get this type of advice is by talking to an accountant. They can give you insight into the tax system and give you advice about what you could consider reducing your tax rate.

Why do tenants pay council tax?

If you have been looking for some possible reasons for tenants paying council tax, then this article is going to show you some of the reasons why they do so. In England and Wales, the council tax is a tax that the local authority has to collect in order to fund local services.

This money is intended to support local government agencies and public services that are essential for local residents. The main reason why the council collects the council tax is that they are obliged to do so by law.

There is a wide range of reasons why someone might choose to pay the council tax. Although they don't really have any choice, most tenants will still choose to pay the tax because they are able to.

Renting to pay the rent: This is usually the most common form of tenants paying council tax. If you are paying the rent, but you are not renting your property to anyone else, then you are making a fair decision.

You are paying a certain amount of money every month for your property and you are only being charged if someone else decides to use your property as their own. In most cases, when people pay council tax, for this reason, they are happy with it.

Renting for other people: If you rent out your property to another tenant and you plan on getting other tenants, then you are in a good position to pay your council tax. This is because in most cases if you make more than one tenant at a time, you will only pay the first one and no one else. You can continue to increase the number of tenants as long as you pay your rent every month.

Getting help from your landlord: If you are renting out your property to a family or if you are renting it out to a business, then you can save money by getting them to pay their own council tax. For example, a family would be unable to afford to pay the council tax on their own.

They would be better off using their own resources, such as money from their salary, to pay for their own council tax. As such, by getting someone else to pay for the council tax, you are able to make some savings.

Saving money: One of the best reasons why tenants pay council tax is that it may save you money in the long run. In some instances, if a tenant ends up paying the council tax, then there is a small saving as the council will only be able to charge you a small percentage of their income for the money that you will have paid.

So, if you are a landlord, then you are able to save some money because you won't have to make as much profit in the first place.

Tenants who do pay the council tax can actually make a lot of money. Because of this, it can be beneficial for both you and your tenants.

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