Council Tax is a tax on domestic property (dwellings) and is the way in which people make a contribution towards the cost of local council-run services such as schools, street lighting, cleansing and libraries, etc.
Every householder over the age of 18 has to pay council tax (whether you rent or own) but you may be eligible for discounts and exemptions.
The amount of Council Tax you pay depends on the value of the property in which you live. If you do not agree with the valuation set on your home then you can appeal to the listing officer at your local valuation office. A list of these is available from your Council.
Paying your Council Tax
You will receive your Council Tax bill at the beginning of each financial year (in April). You will normally be able to pay your bill in 10 monthly instalments. There will be one bill for each dwelling (house, flat, etc) and the person responsible for paying the bill will either be the owner/occupier(s) or the tenant(s). This includes council house tenants.
- A full Council Tax bill is based on at least two adults living in a home. Couples who live together are jointly responsible for paying the bill.
- If you live on your own, or you are the only adult aged 18 or over living in your home, you’ll get 25% off your bill.
- If no-one living in your home, including you, counts as an adult, you’ll usually get 50% off your bill.
- If everyone in your home, including you, is a full-time student, you won’t have to pay any Council Tax.
Second homes and empty properties
Each council has different rules regarding second homes and empty properties. Some councils give furnished second homes or holiday homes a discount of up to 50%. Councils can charge up to 50% extra Council Tax if certain homes have been empty for two years or more.
If you are not happy with the way your Council Tax has been worked out then you can appeal to your local authority. If you have difficulty paying your bill, get in touch with the Council Tax Office or your nearest advice service, as soon as possible.
Council Tax Reduction/Council Tax Support
Council Tax support schemes are administered by each local council to help people who are on a low income or claiming certain benefits. What you get depends on where you live and your individual circumstances.
For more help and information, contact your local council:
Gateshead Council Benefit Enquiries
Telephone 0191 433 4646
Newcastle City Council Housing and Council Tax Benefits
Telephone 0191 278 7878
North Tyneside Council Contact Centre
Telephone 0345 2000 104
South Tyneside Council Benefits Service
Telephone 0191 424 4333
Sunderland City Council Benefits Service
Telephone 0191 520 5502