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When you move home, you may have an endless list of tasks to do and companies to update with your new address. One of the things you need to make sure you update when you move is Council Tax, which is paid directly to the Local Authority in which you live and is used to […]
21 November 2023
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When you move home, you may have an endless list of tasks to do and companies to update with your new address. One of the things you need to make sure you update when you move is Council Tax, which is paid directly to the Local Authority in which you live and is used to fund public services such as rubbish collection and schools. You will need to notify the Local authority as soon as you move to avoid any unexpected and costly bills later on, in addition to the already high costs of moving home.
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In 1993, Council Tax was introduced to replace the Poll Tax. The local taxation on your property is levied by local authorities to fund essential services, including rubbish collection, roads, policing, fire services, street maintenance, and schools. If you own your own or rent your own home and are over the age of 18 it is likely that you will need to pay Council Tax.
Council tax is calculated based on the valuation band of your property. Valuation bands range from A to H in England and Scotland, with Band A being the lowest and H the highest. Each band has a corresponding annual charge set by the local authority. Wales has a slightly different system and has bandings from A to I (being the lowest).
To work out what you will pay, you need to know the value of the property and the Council Tax and can be found on the Local Authority website.The bands are calculated based on your property value at a specific time. Current council tax bands are based on the value of the property as it was on 1 April 1991 (or April 2003 in Wales).
The amount varies across regions and is influenced by the property’s valuation band. The precise figures can be obtained from your local authority’s website or by contacting them directly, but an example is below:
|Property Value (1991)
|Up to £40,000
|More than £320,000
Example: Ealing Council
Local authorities are not automatically notified of your move. It’s your responsibility to inform them promptly to avoid potential issues. By failing to notify them, you could end up with a bill that should be for the previous resident. If you don’t let the Local Authority know you are moving out, they may also keep taking direct debits for your previous property after you have left. If your Council writes to you by post and you fail to respond, you could incur a fine.
Notify the local authority of your move as soon as possible, preferably before or shortly after the move. You will need to provide the date you sold or your tenancy ended on your old property. This ensures a smooth transition in your council tax records.
Contact the helpline for the Local Authority into which you are moving or visit their website, where you should be able to find a registration form.
You will need to update your details with your Local Authority. Provide information such as your new address, moving date, and the names of all occupants. If you are moving out of your current home and leaving it empty, you will still need to pay council tax on it, but this will be at a discounted rate.
Be prepared with details like your new address, the moving date (or tenancy start date), and the names of everyone living in the property. These details help the local authority update their records accurately.
Failure to register can result in financial penalties. The Local authority should contact you in writing should you fail to register and can issue a fine if you fail to respond, so it is better to contact the Local Authority as soon as you move.
If you move within the same local authority, you need to inform them of your change of address. They will update your records, and your council tax will be calculated based on the new property’s valuation band.
Moving to a different local authority requires notifying both the old and new authorities. The old Local Authority will then cancel your direct debit and the new authority will then reassess your council tax based on their rates.
Contact your local authority via telephone or use the ‘change of address’ form that is usually found on their website to inform them of your move and request the cancellation of your council tax account at the old address. If you are staying in the same Local authority, it may be that you can keep your existing direct debit.
Council tax is typically payable from the date you take ownership of the property. Notify the local authority promptly to receive an accurate bill. If you delay in registering, the amount you owe will be backdated and result in an increased bill further down the line.
Exemptions are available in certain circumstances, such as when a property is unoccupied or solely occupied by students. Check with your local authority for specific criteria.
Exemptions may apply to properties solely occupied by students or those part of an apprentice scheme, certain disabled individuals, those below a certain age and homes that are unoccupied following the death of the owner. Consult your local authority for eligibility criteria.
Council tax reductions are available for individuals with low incomes or specific circumstances, such as being the only adult living in the property (25% reduction), it being an empty property (up to 50%) and second or holiday homes (up to 50%). Check with your local authority to determine eligibility criteria.
Your property’s council tax band may change if significant alterations or improvements have been made to the property. Always check when buying a house if alterations have been made, such as extensions, during the time the current owners have lived there. You can check and challenge the banding through the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
If you believe your council tax band is incorrect, contact the VOA to request a review. Provide evidence of similar properties in the same area that are in lower tax banding to support your claim, and the VOA will reassess your property’s valuation band, usually within a few months.
From mortgages and insurance to viewings, offers, exchange and completion, our Buyers’ Guide will take you through everything, step by step, from start to finish.
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