Is it always your responsibility to pay council tax?

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What is council tax?

Council tax is a local taxation collected by local authorities. It is a tax on domestic property, although some properties are exempt from paying this council tax, whilst others will get a discount.

Who has to pay council tax?

One personal called the ‘liable person’ has to pay council tax. Nobody under the age of 18 can be a liable person.

You may now question whether you are liable to pay council tax on a sold, unoccupied or second home property. The following information will provide you with tax tips to help you make the most of your property and inform you of your council tax rights.

Firstly, you need to establish which brand you fall into, and the amount of council tax you will be paying. The below table summarises this;

Valuation band Range of value
AUp to £40,000
BOver £40,000 and up to £52,000
COver £52,000 and up to £68,000
DOver £68,000 and up to £88,000
EOver £88,000 and up to £120,000
FOver £120,000 and up to £160,000
GOver £160,000 and up to £320,000
HOver £320,000

Once you have figured out which band you fall into you can then figure out whether you will be paying the entire amount or if you will be exempt.

So what are the exemptions?

Empty Properties

Some local authorities offer a discount of up to 50% on a property which is:

Empty and unfurnished, the reduction is for a total of 6 months and the property has to be vacant for the entire 6 month period.

Empty because it required repairs or alternations which are major to make it liveable – the reduction here however, only applies for a total of 12 months whether the work is finished or not.

You could however, be charged up to double by your local council in council tax if your property has been empty for 2 years or more.

Second homes and empty properties

You could get a discount if you have a second home or an empty property. This dependents on your local council. Councils can also charge additional tax for empty properties.

You may also pay less council tax for a property you own or rent that is not your main home. Councils can give second homes which are furnished or holiday homes a total discount of up to 50%.

TIP! If you have an empty property or a second home inform HMRC of this immediately as this could change the amount of council tax you pay by 50%.

But what about when you do not have to pay council tax at all?

If the property you are selling is on behalf of the actual owner who has died you will not need to pay council tax until after you get the probate grant as long as the property remains empty. After probate is granted, you will then get another 6 months exemption from paying the tax if the property is;


Still owned and in the name of the individual who died

There are some homes that do not get council tax bills as long as they are empty;

Prisoner’s home

Someone who has moved into a care home or hospital

Homes that have been repossessed

Those properties that are uninhabitable by law

That are empty because they have been purchased to be demolished

TIP! If you know someone who has moved to a care home or hospital inform them of their potential ability to exempt their council tax.

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