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Council tax
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Council tax - who pays what

Put simply, council tax is the money levied by local authorities to provide services such as refuse collection, street lighting, etc. The amount of council tax you have to pay depends on the market value of your home on 1 April 1991, the area you live in and the number of the people in your home. Only one bill is sent to each household.

Properties are valued and divided into various council tax bands. Each local authority sets its own valuations within each band and the amount of council tax each local authority charges depends on their spending plans for the year. The tax is calculated slightly differently in Scotland.

All households are liable to pay council tax, although there are discounts for people living on their own, students living with other non-students and people with disabilities. Student households pay no tax at all. Households with low incomes can claim council tax benefit, which covers some or all the cost of council tax.

In most cases, council tax is paid monthly, with many people now paying by direct debit.

Who pays the most?

We've just come to the end of councils setting their rates for the coming tax year. In England, the average council tax per dwelling will be £967 in 2004/05, compared with £908 in 2003/04.

The average council tax per dwelling will be £1,035 in London, £1,005 in shire areas and £813 in metropolitan areas. These figures take into account reductions due to discounts but do not include reductions due to benefits.

The table below shows the average amount by region to be paid in 2004/05.

Region Average per household % increase

Yorkshire and the Humber £836 6.3%

North East £851 6.2%

North West £881 4.9%

West Midlands £901 5.3%

East Midlands £917 6.7%

South West £1,009 7.5%

London £1,035 6.8%

East of England £1,036 6.8%

South East £1,098 7.0%

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister website offers handy donwloads showing the council tax in each individual area so you can see how your area compares with everyone else's.


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Please note that articles on this site & any other 'planning-approval' related web site does not constitute professional advice. All articles are intended to provide a general view of many subjects. We suggest you to consult a solicitor before making any important decisions.  The author is not an expert in any given field.

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