Last year, we helped with almost 400 enquiries relating to council tax in North Ayrshire. We know from experience that the rules around who has to pay, who can get a discount and methods of paying can be a bit confusing so here’s what you need to know.
Do I have to pay council tax?
Generally, if you live in a property and are over the age of 18, you are liable to pay council tax. If you are a couple living in a property, you will both be liable, even if only one of your names appears on the bill.
Council Tax Exemptions
If one or more of the following apply, you may be exempt from paying for council tax.
You are disregarded for council tax if you are:
- aged 17 or under (you have to be at least 18 before you have to pay the council tax)
- living in the property temporarily and it is not your normal home
- prisoners or someone in detention awaiting deportation
- being detained in a hospital or hostel under mental health legislation
- are severely mentally impaired
- full-time student on a qualifying course of education (including correspondence or on-line courses); student nurses; Foreign Language Assistants on the official British Council programme
- a full-time student who has completed a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or a Higher National Diploma (HND) and who has an offer of a place on the second or third year respectively of a full-time first degree course that will start within six months of the completed course
- a spouse, civil partner or a dependant of a student who is a non-British Citizen and who is not allowed under immigration rules, either to work in the UK or claim benefit
- a young person on a government training scheme or an apprentice (not all apprentices are disregarded)
- long-term hospital patient and care home resident
- living in a hostel which provides care or treatment because of your old age, physical or mental disability, past or present alcohol or drug dependence or past or present mental illness
- care workers or live-in carer
- staying in a hostel or night shelter, for example, in a Salvation Army or Church Army hostel
- school or college leaver still aged under 20 who has left school or college after 30 April. You will be disregarded until 1 November of the same year whether or not you take up employment
- aged 18 but someone can claim child benefit for you
- member of a religious community
- member of visiting armed forces or their dependants.
How much do I have to pay?
The period of council tax runs from 1 April each year to the 31 March the following year and can be paid in full or instalments over 10 months (April to January).
Every property is assessed and given a council tax band based on the value of your home. Each band has a different charge. To find out your council tax band and associated charges for 2017/18, click here.
Not everyone will have to pay the full amount of council tax but this will depend on your circumstances.
Generally the following discounts will apply
• 25% off if one adult is liable to pay the council tax counted as living in the property (a single person’s discount)
• up to 50% where there are a range of circumstances like a property being empty or it is a second home or holiday home
If you are in receipt of a discount, this will be shown on your bill.
If you think you are entitled to a discount, you should contact your local authority as soon as possible.
If you think any of the details on your bill are incorrect then tell your local authority as soon as possible as you may be receive a penalty.
Want to know more...
We hope you found this helpful. For more information, head to Advisernet or the Council Tax section on the North Ayrshire Council website. They are also running a competition for one household to win a year’s free council tax.
If you’re still unsure if you are liable for council tax, you think you are due a discount or have found yourself in council tax arrears, our advisers can help no matter what your issue.