Regardless of whether a person owns the home they are living in, or if they rent the property, most people are required to pay Council Tax which helps towards the costs of local services, such as policing and rubbish collection.
The amount of Council Tax which a resident is required to pay can vary, and is dependent on factors such as how much the property is worth, how much the local council charges and whether a resident is entitled to any discounts or exemptions.
Councils set tax levels according to which band a property falls in. A property is put into a band based on its value at 1 April 1991 for those in England, and properties in Wales are based on their value in 2003.
Two or more adults sharing a household should usually expect to pay the ‘full’ Council Tax bill, however, there are some cases in which the bill can be reduced, or a resident may not have to pay Council Tax at all.
Those who do not have to pay Council Tax include children under the age of 18, people aged 18-19 and still in full-time education, full-time college and university students, those who are on apprentice schemes, and young people under the age of 25 who are receiving funds from the Skills Funding Agency or Young People’s Learning Agency.
Student nurses, live-in carers who look after a person who is not their spouse or child up to the age of 18, diplomats, foreign language assistants and people who have been diagnosed with a severe mental disability are also not required to pay the bill, and will be exempt from paying Council Tax if they live with others.
If one adult lives in a property alone, they will receive a 25% discount on their Council Tax, and homes which only have adults who fall into the above categories will have the bill halved, however, properties in which all the residents are full-time students do not have Council Tax levied upon them.
People with certain disabilities are sometimes able to receive a discount on their Council Tax on the grounds that they require extra living space.
Those paying Council Tax, but who have an income and capital which falls below a certain level may be entitled to Council Tax Benefit. People claiming Income Support or Jobseeker’s allowance may be able to receive the full amount of Council Tax Benefit.
The majority of asylum seekers or other people sponsored to be in the UK won’t be able to receive the savings, as well as those with savings of over £16,000 – unless they are getting a ‘guarantee credit’ portion of Pension Credit. People receiving Pension Credit can apply for Council Tax Benefit.
All residents can find out whether they are eligible to receive Council Tax Benefit by contacting their local council.
If a resident receives a discount on their Council Tax which they are not entitled to, they should inform the council as soon as possible – if a resident fails to report the error they are liable to receive a fine and may also receive a bill to pay back the full amount which was previously discounted.
If you are taking your first steps in the residential conveyancing process, and you are searching for a solicitor, George Ide may be able to help you through the process.
To find out more about how choosing a property sales solicitor in Chichester from George Ide could benefit you, give us a call at one of our Chichester offices.