Council tax payments are repeated each month (unless you choose to pay them in full). Therefore, having an automatic system of payments would also be helpful to make this payment on time and of the right amount, while saving your own time.

There may be certain situations in which there have been changes to a resident’s personal situation, their financial circumstances, addition or subtraction of adults living in the household, or even changes to the property itself that may cause either a change to the valuation band assigned to the property or the removal/addition of a discounted council tax bill that may cause a change in the council tax bill.

These are situations when residents will have to contact their local councils before the next council tax bill is generated so those appropriate modifications may be made to it.

Does Council Tax Renew Automatically?

Yes, council tax bills can renew automatically if you have arranged to pay your bill via the Direct Debit facility. Since council tax bills are paid on monthly basis, you may authorise your bank to pay council tax bills on your behalf directly by transferring the amount from your bank account each month.  

Similarly, when the next financial term starts in April, after a council tax holiday in February and March, your payments for the new term will also resume automatically.

To avail of this convenience, you will be required to fill a form at your bank which covers details about your personal information as well as the date on which the amount is to be transferred.

If you anticipate any changes in your council tax payments; whether due to an increase/decrease in council tax discounts or a change in your living arrangements or changes to your property, in addition to informing your local council office, you must also inform your bank so that your payments are managed accordingly.

There may be times when automatic renewal of your council tax bills can cause errors as they do not reflect changes that may have taken place; either in your personal, financial or residential circumstances. If you believe that you have gained/lost eligibility for a council tax reduction due to these changes or your property needs to be reassessed for a new valuation band to be assigned, you must contact your local council office at the earliest as holding back facts for personal benefit may lead to dire consequences int he future.

Through this article we will try to answer queries related to council tax payments by discussing the following topics:

  • How Do I Pay My Council Tax Bills?
  • What Is Direct Debit?
  • How Can I Make Council Tax Payments Using Direct Debit?
  • What Does Your Council Tax Bill Tell You?
  • Do You Have To Pay Council Tax Every Month?
  • Who Has to Make Council Tax Payments?
  • How Are Properties Assessed For Council Tax?

How Do I Pay My Council Tax Bills?

Direct Debit is the most commonly used method of making council tax payments since the annual tax is split across 10 monthly instalments and the payment plan is shared by the local councils at beginning of the term in April.

Although the instalments are due on the 1st of each month, individuals choosing to pay through direct debit may choose 1st, 8th, 15th or 22nd.

However, you can also pay online, call your local council office and use their automated system or make a payment through the post office. You will find details of payment options on the reverse side of your council tax bills, or you may refer to this link  Ways to pay your council tax | Ways to pay your council tax | Ealing Council

What Is Direct Debit?

Direct Debit is a banking facility availed by bank account holders to save on time while making repetitive payments on time; especially when missing out on due dates implies a penalty.

To avail of this facility, you need to inform your bank and they will ask you to fill a form in which (among other details) you will provide instructions on the amount to be transferred, the date(s) of transfer and the recipient’s account details.

How Can I Make Council Tax Payments Using Direct Debit?

Once you’ve taken care of the paperwork required at your bank for council tax payments via direct debit, you will receive a notice from the local council office 10 days prior to the date of payment. If you have any queries or would require any changes you will have sufficient time to contact the local authorities before payment is transferred.

Banks provide a money-back guarantee to account holders in case they make an error while transferring amounts. Similarly, if the error lies on the side of the local council office the amount transferred from your account will be refunded or you may use the option of having it adjusted with future payments.

What Does Your Council Tax Bill Tell You?

Essentially, your council tax bills indicate the following three areas:

  • the total amount due for the entire year
  • how the annual amount has been worked out by the local authorities
  • the dates are payments will be due

They show the following important information:

  • Personal reference number: This number is used to talk to local authorities about your bill.
  • Date: This is the date when the bill was printed which also indicates the due date for your payments. 
  • Name: The name of the person liable to pay the bill.
  • Address 1: The physical address of the property which is being billed.
  • Address 2: Recipient’s address (if different from the billing address of the property).
  • Amount: The amount that you need to pay for the year as well as mention of any reductions/discounts that you are eligible for.
  • Details of instalments: This shows the amounts that are due each month along with due dates.
  • Mode of payment: (e.g. direct debit)
  • Reason: This mentions that this is an annual bill.
  • Contribution: This indicates a break up of the recipient’s contribution towards council services, fire service and the police service.
  • Total: This shows the total amount due for the year for this council tax band.
  • Band: This indicates the council band assigned to your property.
  • Reduced band: This appears in case there has been a change from your previous band to a new one in case of any changes to your living conditions. 

The back of your council tax bill carries important information as well as contact details for you to follow up with,

You may Pay your Council Tax online or via direct debit.

Do You Have To Pay Council Tax Every Month?

Yes, council tax bills are paid through monthly instalments that range between the months of April to January.

Council tax is based upon the valuation band that a property is categorized under by the local council and Valuation Office Agency. While the local council may assign an annual bill in April, the annual tax is spread over 10 monthly instalments to make payments convenient for individuals as well as to account for any desirable changes such as inflation rates. To learn more about council tax bands, here is a link to the UK government’s website Check your Council Tax band – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If an individual is unable to afford their monthly council tax instalment or would require a relief, they may request to have the annual bill be spread over 12 monthly instalments versus the usual 10 instalments. This reduces the per month average due to which the due amount is decreased.  

In terms of mode of payment, local councils may accept weekly or fortnightly payments as well. Generally, a discount may be availed if the payee chooses to pay the entire annual tax bill in advance.

Who Has to Make Council Tax Payments?

Any individual, over the age of 18 years, whether a homeowner or tenant, employed or unemployed, is eligible to pay their council tax bills to the local council office. 

Usually, one person is considered the prime point of contact and the one considered as “liable” to pay council tax bills. To qualify for this, the said occupant must be above 18 years of age. Couples sharing premises are jointly liable for their council tax bills; however, anyone of them may be listed to be considered as liable for payments.

In the case of a rented property, it is the tenant who is liable to pay council tax. However, should any of the following situations occur, the liability becomes extended towards the owner:

  • all the occupants are under 18 years of age
  • the occupants are asylum seekers
  • the occupants are multiple households/ couples/ individuals co-sharing the rent and premises
  • the property is a second home or holiday home and the residents have a main home elsewhere
  • the property is a care home or refugee shelter

How Are Properties Assessed For Council Tax?

Council tax applies to properties used only for residential (not commercial or business) purposes. Based on the value of the property, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) assigns one out of eight bands to determine the total amount of council tax due on the residents. Council tax bands can be found here How domestic properties are assessed for Council Tax bands – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

This value is based on the assumed market value of the said property on April 1 1991 in England and April 1 2003 in Wales. There are no adjustments made for inflation or a rise in housing prices during this time.

In addition to this, the Valuation Office Agency considers the following factors when assessing a property:

  • location
  • size
  • character
  • layout
  • change in use

Conclusion:

While council tax renews automatically, there are facilities such as direct debit through banks accounts to make timely payments conveniently.

In case the payee anticipates a change in their future council tax bills due to a change in their circumstances or the value of their property, they must inform their local council office and bank so that automatic renewal is paused until their new/adjusted council tax bill is calculated.

In case of an error by the back or the local council, there is a money-back guarantee for the payee. 

FAQs: Does Council Tax Renew Automatically?

Do you pay council tax over 10 months?

Yes, council tax bills are based on 10 monthly instalments. However, if someone requests 12 monthly instalments to reduce the amount they must pay each month, the local council often make that change.

Is council tax monthly or yearly?

Council tax is a yearly bill, paid in ten or twelve instalments. While you have the option to make full payment as a lump sum amount, there is no obligation to do so.

Do I pay council tax in January?

Yes, you do pay council tax in January. The annual bill is split into ten monthly instalments that run from April to January.

Does everyone in a house pay council tax?

Council tax is due upon the person who is declared as liable to pay the bill. In the case of married couples/partners, both members are jointly liable to pay council tax. Anyone under the age of 18 years cannot be liable for council tax payments.

Why has my council tax gone up?

Sometimes councils have to increase the tax they charge due to government cuts on funding and council tax being the main source of revenue for them to provide community-based services to residents. However, if you face a hike in council tax and your neighbours don’t, there are chances that you were eligible for a discount on council tax and a change of circumstances makes you ineligible.  

References:

Council Tax: Paying your bill
Council Tax: what it is, what it costs and how to save money

Council Tax Free Months 2021: 2 Months Of The Year You Don’t Pay

Council Tax FAQs – Direct Debits – Wealden District Council

Paying Council Tax and Business Rates by Direct Debit – Wealden District Council

Council tax frequently asked questions

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.