Council tax payments vary from property to property depending on the valuation band assigned to each one on the basis of its market value. However, there are individuals as well properties who may be exempt from council tax payments under UK law. Through this blog post, we will analyse the role of council tax payments for the monarchy; as well as discuss the eligible and exempt personnel and properties in the UK when it comes to this community-based mandatory tax.

Does The Queen Pay Council Tax?

Yes, the Queen pays council tax on all four properties which include Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle and Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

Categorised and valued at Band H, which is the highest value band assigned to domestic properties for council tax payments, estimates council tax payments of the Queen can be listed as below:

Property TitleAnnual Council tax
Buckingham Palace £1,337.62
Windsor Castle £2,365.16
Balmoral Castle£2,460.78
Sandringham estate in Norfolk£3,033.20

On the basis of this breakup of payments, the annual estimated amount of council tax paid by the Queen amounts to more than £9,000 per year. All these payments are made from the Queen’s privy purse, which means that she uses her personal funds to pay council tax payments.

According to UK law and as stated in the Sovereign Grant and Memorandum of Understanding on Royal Taxation, the British Monarch is exempt from taxation. However, the Queen voluntarily pays Income Tax on all private sources of income that she has. These include investments and trading profits. Although exempt, the Queen also pays Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax.

Do Churches Pay Council Tax?

No, churches do not pay council tax as being a place of worship exempts them from all forms of taxation under UK law.

By its definition, council tax is a community-based tax due upon domestic properties. Non-domestic properties; which includes churches, are charged with “Business Rates” which is said to be the equivalent of council tax.

According to the Local Government Finance Act 1988, a “place of public religious worship” (which includes churches) is completely exempt from payment of taxes including business rates (or council tax). To meet this criterion, the church must fulfil the below conditions:

  • The church must belong to the Church of England or the Church in Wales, or
  • It must be certified and registered as a place of worship under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855; or
  • The premises is a church hall, chapel hall or similar building that is used in connection with a place of worship.

However, should a church be registered as a charity and not be able to fulfil the essential criteria of a public place of religious worship, it will be considered for an 80 per cent tax relief on business rates.

Do Ministers Pay Council Tax?

No, members of the religious community, including Church Ministers do not have to pay council tax unless they own the property that they live in.

When council tax is calculated, the number of people living in a property are also accounted for. Members of religious communities; which includes ministers of churches are considered as “disregarded” in certain cases. This means that they are exempt from paying council tax in consideration of their religious service. 

In certain cases, they may be eligible for council tax discounts as long as their principal occupation included prayer, they have no income other than the occupational pension they receive (they may have capital of their own) and they rely on the community for meeting material needs.

Who Is Exempt From Council Tax Payments?

To be considered for council tax exemption, the individual must cater to any of the following conditions:

  • the resident lives in a care home and not their own home
  • the resident is under hospital care
  • the resident is living somewhere else; providing care to another person
  • the resident is in the armed forces 
  • the resident is in prison (not for non-payment of council tax bills)
  • all the residents are full-time students
  • all the residents are under 18 years of age
  • all the residents are mentally impaired

Which Properties Are Exempt From Council Tax?

Then there may be situations that are property-centric; making the premises ineligible for council tax to be applied. These may include:

  • the property is used for charity work
  • it is an annexe to the main property
  • the property is repossessed
  • it has been purchased to be demolished

Why Do I Have To Pay Council Tax?

Council tax is a mandatory tax applicable upon residents of properties in England, Scotland and Wales. The amount of tax charged depends upon the value of one’s property as per qualifications assigned by the Valuations Office Agency (VOA). 

Council tax is paid to local council offices to enable them to provide community-based services that improve the overall quality of life for residents. It pays for services including the following:

  • fire protection and police
  • roads and street lights
  • garbage collection and recycling
  • schools and community halls
  • parks and recreational centres
  • elderly care

When Does Council Tax Run From?

Council Tax bills are payable from the start of the financial year in April with 10 monthly instalments concluding in January. While councils maintain February and March as tax-free months to collect payments that were not made in time; those liable to pay council tax bills may request their local council for 12-month instalments to make payments convenient by reducing the amount of each instalment.

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

It must be remembered that you may not receive the same amount of council tax bill as another person living in your council. This is a property-based tax that varies depending upon the value of the property. 

Also, each council designs their council tax scheme. This means that your bill may be different as compared to another individual living in a different council. 

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. 

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

Do You Pay Council Tax On An Empty Property?

Sometimes you may be able to get council tax relief on an empty property. However, this depends on certain overarching conditions that may need to be considered. These include:

  • If the said property is not the main residence (whether it is rented or owned) qualifies as a second home. In this case, the local council may assign a discount of up to 50 per cent on the council tax bill.
  • If there is major rework being done such as the reconstruction of walls, a discount on the council tax bill may be applicable. 

If a property is considered to be derelict; making it impossible to be inhabited, it will be exempted from council tax payment. However, the deterioration to the premises must be due to weather conditions, vandalism or rot. Additionally, the property must require structural refurbishments to be made liveable again.

If the owner of the property has died and it remains unoccupied, there is council tax due on the premises. This discount remains applicable even after probate has been attained. However, once 6 months have passed after the probate, council tax becomes applicable.

Conclusion:

Through this article, we have learnt that the Queen pays council tax on all four properties according to the council tax band assigned them on the basis of their market value. Even though Her Majesty is exempt from payment of taxes, she also pays income, inheritance and capital gains tax on a voluntary basis. We have also learnt about the eligibility and exemption criteria for council tax payments as well the valuation process for the assessment of council tax bands in the UK.

FAQs: Does The Queen Pay Council Tax?

How much is the council tax for Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace, which serves as the London residence and administrative headquarters for the Queen is due for council tax payment of £1,337.62 every year. The reason for being assigned this amount is the valuation of the property which places Buckingham Palace in Band H for council tax payment in Westminster. 

What council tax band is Buckingham Palace in?

Buckingham Palace, which serves as the London residence and administrative headquarters for the Queen is allotted Band H for council tax payment in Westminster. According to the assigned council tax band, the amount of annual tax due on the property is £1,337.62.

Does the Queen have a passport?

No, the Queen does not have a passport. The reason for this is that the British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, therefore there is no need for the Queen to have a passport in her own name. However, she does have to go through an identity check each time she travels out of Britain.

What is the point of council tax? 

Council tax is a local taxation system that prevails across England, Scotland Wales. Being a community-based tax collected by the local council, council tax revenues help to provide services such as street lights, roads, education, healthcare, garbage collection parks and community centres.

How much is the average council tax in Bristol?

The average council tax for 2021-2022 in Bristol is currently £2,163.65 for properties assigned to Band D and valued between £68,001 – £88,000. Depending on the valuation band assigned to them, properties in Bristol may be charged as low as £1,442.43 for a Band A property valued up to and including £40,000 or as high as £4,327.30 for a Band H property valued at or above  £320,000.

References:

Sovereign Grant Act 2011: guidance – GOV.UK

Memorandum of Understanding on Royal Taxation – GOV.UK

Memorandum of understanding on royal taxation

Taxation: Does the Queen get taxed? – Lawson West Solicitors in Leicester

Different ways you can pay your council tax bill

Pay your Council Tax

Council Tax: Who has to pay

Paying council tax

Council tax exemptions

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