Council Tax Bands Explained

Written by Posted On Monday, 13 October 2014 09:04

Council tax is one of the necessary costs of owning or renting a home and, although there are exceptions, most people should expect to pay a certain amount of tax to their local council for the services they use every day.

What’s not so well known is that around 400,000 homes in the UK are in the wrong council tax band – and if you don’t check your banding you may never know. The Money Advice Service offers free and impartial advice to help you work out how much your council tax is likely to be and how you can go about challenging your banding if you think it may be wrong.

Council tax is used to fund the services such as street cleaning and lighting, rubbish collections, schools, local authority run community facilities such as parks and libraries, as well as police and fire services. Your local council website will have more information on council tax bands in your area. Most councils run consultation exercises when they are setting the budgets which will, among other things, determine council tax rates. You can get involved in these consultations and debates every year in various different ways as your local politicians set their budgets – see your council’s website for details.

You can find the band for any property in England or Wales by searching its postcode at In Scotland, you can visit the Scottish Assessor website for the same purpose. Depending where you live, council tax bands are based on their valuation at different times. In England and Scotland, valuation bands are based on levels of value on 1 April 1991, and in Wales, valuation bands are based on levels of value on 1 April 2003. Properties are valued by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and are assessed on a number of different criteria.

Some of the ways in which properties are valued are on their size, layout, character and locality. If you are thinking of buying a house, one thing to be aware of is that the council tax band may increase when the property is sold if it has been extended since 1993. Estate agents may only publish the current council tax band, so it’s worth checking this out.


Some people are entitled to reduced council tax payments. For example, if you’re the only adult in your household, if you’re disabled, on a low income or not living in your home. In some circumstances, you may also be entitled to a reduction in council tax if you’re a victim of crime, you’re living in a hard-to-sell property, or your home has been affected by fire, storms or flood. If you think you may be eligible for a discount you should contact your local council.

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William Hayes

I am a financial marketing analyst based in California USA.

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