HomeBusinessHow to Pay Council Tax in the UK? - A Comprehensive Guide

How to Pay Council Tax in the UK? – A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to pay council tax in the UK! Whether you’re a new homeowner, tenant, or simply looking for a refresher on this essential aspect of living in the UK, we’ve got you covered. Council tax is an unavoidable expense that funds local services such as rubbish collection, street maintenance, and schools. In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about council tax payments – from understanding your bill to finding your reference number online. So let’s dive right in and make paying council tax a breeze!

What is Council Tax?

What is Council Tax?

Council tax is a mandatory levy imposed on households in the United Kingdom. It is collected by local authorities to fund essential public services such as waste disposal, police and fire services, road maintenance, and social care. The amount of council tax you pay depends on factors such as the value of your property and the local authority’s tax rates.

Unlike income tax or VAT, council tax is not based on your earnings or spending habits. Instead, it is calculated using a system that assigns each property to one of eight valuation bands (A-H) based on its market value at a specific date. Band A represents the lowest valued properties, while band H represents the highest.

It’s important to note that council tax applies regardless of whether you own or rent your home. If you are renting a property, it’s usually the responsibility of the tenant to pay council tax directly to their local authority.

How Much is My Council Tax?

When it comes to council tax, one of the most important questions on everyone’s mind is how much they will have to pay. The amount you owe in council tax depends on several factors, including the valuation band your property falls into and the local council’s tax rate.

Each property in England and Scotland is assigned a valuation band ranging from A to H, based on its market value as of April 1, 1991 (in Wales, properties are assigned a different set of bands). The higher the band, the more you can expect to pay in council tax. It’s worth noting that each local authority sets its own tax rates within these bands.

How to Pay Council Tax?

How to Pay Council Tax?

Now that you clearly understand your council tax obligations let’s discuss how to pay it. Fortunately, there are several methods available for convenient and hassle-free payment:

Direct Debit: Setting up a direct debit is perhaps the most convenient way to pay your council tax. You can choose to make monthly payments or opt for an annual payment plan. This method ensures that your payments are automatically deducted from your bank account on time.

Online Payment: Most local councils offer online payment options through their websites. Simply visit the official website of your local authority and follow the instructions provided for making online payments. This method lets you pay securely using a credit or debit card.

Telephone Payments: Some councils provide a dedicated phone line where you can make council tax payments over the phone using your credit card or debit card details.

Cash or Cheque Payments: While less common nowadays due to digital advancements, some local authorities still accept cash or cheque payments at their offices or designated collection points within the community.

How Do I Find My Council Tax Reference Number Online?

It’s quick and simple to locate your council tax reference number online. You must go to the website of your local council. Look for the section related to council tax or payments. Once there, you may be prompted to create an account or log in if you already have one.

After logging in, navigate to the relevant page where you can view your council tax details. Here, you should find your reference number displayed prominently. It is typically a combination of letters and numbers unique to your property.

If you’re having trouble locating it, don’t worry! Some councils provide a search function specifically for finding your reference number. This option might require entering personal information such as your address or postcode.

How to Get Council Tax Reference Number Without Bill?

How to Get Council Tax Reference Number Without Bill?

If you’ve misplaced or never received your council tax bill, don’t worry! It’s still possible to obtain your council tax reference number without it. Here are a few simple steps to help you get the information you need.

Check if your local council offers online services for managing council tax accounts. Many councils have an online portal where you can access your account details and retrieve your reference number. Simply visit their website and look for the section dedicated to council tax.

If online services aren’t available, give your local council a call. Their customer service team will be able to assist you in retrieving your reference number over the phone. Be prepared to provide some personal information such as your name, address, and possibly some verification questions to ensure data protection.

Which Months Do You Not Pay Council Tax?

Now that you have comprehensively understood council tax and how to pay it, let’s discuss an important question: which months do you not have to pay council tax?

Council tax is typically paid in twelve monthly instalments, starting in April and ending in March of the following year. However, there are some exceptions when you may be eligible for a reduction or exemption.

If your property is unoccupied and unfurnished, you might be entitled to a discount on your council tax bill. The length of time this discount applies varies across different local authorities. It’s worth checking with your local council to see if you qualify for any reductions during periods of vacancy.

Additionally, certain individuals may be exempt from paying council tax altogether. These exemptions can apply to specific groups such as full-time students, those under 18 years old, or adults living in care homes or hospitals.


The council tax is an essential obligation for residents in the UK, and understanding how to pay it is crucial. Throughout this comprehensive guide, we have explored what council tax is, how much you may be required to pay, and different methods of payment. We have also discussed how to find your council tax reference number online or without a bill.

It’s important to note that council tax must be paid every month except for certain months when it does not apply. Additionally, living in the UK means fulfilling your citizen responsibilities, including paying council tax.

FAQ – How to Pay Council Tax?

FAQ - How to Pay Council Tax?

Is it mandatory to pay Council Tax in the UK?

Is it mandatory to pay Council Tax in the UK? This is a question that many residents may have, especially those who are new to the country or unsure about their obligations. The short answer is yes – paying Council Tax is mandatory for most UK people.

Is it better to pay Council Tax over 10 or 12 months?

When it comes to paying your Council Tax in the UK, one decision you might have to make is whether to spread your payments over ten months or 12 months. While both options have their pros and cons, it ultimately depends on what works best for your financial situation.

Paying over ten months means you will have two months of the year (typically February and March) where you don’t need to pay. This can provide some temporary relief during what may be financially challenging times, such as after the December holiday season. However, it also means that your monthly payments will be higher than if you were spreading them over 12 months.

On the other hand, opting for a 12-month payment plan means that each instalment will be lower since they are spread out evenly throughout the year. This can help with budgeting and avoiding large lump-sum payments during certain periods. However, it also means that there won’t be any “break” from making Council Tax payments.

Can you live in UK without paying council tax?

Living in the UK without paying council tax may seem tempting, but unfortunately, it is not possible. Council tax is a mandatory payment that every eligible household must contribute towards local services such as rubbish collection, street lighting, and maintaining parks and recreational areas.

The responsibility to pay council tax falls on the occupiers of a property. Whether you own the property or are renting it, you will be required to pay council tax. The amount you need to pay depends on factors such as the value of your property and which band it falls into.

Do non UK citizens pay council tax?

Council tax is a local tax that applies to all residents in the United Kingdom, regardless of their nationality or citizenship status. Therefore, non UK citizens who are living and working in the country are required to pay council tax just like any other resident.


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