The amount of council tax due on a household may change with an increase or decrease in the number of household members. Through this blog post, we aim to learn how council tax can be affected if you do not declare someone living you. For an all-encompassing discussion on the topic, we will also review the role of different individuals in a household and assess whether they are liable for council tax payments and whether a certain situation makes them exempt from it.
How does not declaring someone living with you affect your council tax?
In order to understand how not declaring someone living with you affect your council tax bill, we must first understand the impact of the addition of a household member; especially a non-depednant adult. If you are faced with any of the following situations, your council tax bill will be affected by the addition of a household member and this is the reason why you must inform the local council of such changes to your living conditions:
- the additional household member is equal to or more than 18 years of age
- the additional household member is a non-dependant
- the additional household member is a partner (whether by marriage, civil law or live-in status) whose income and savings can be considered for your council tax discount or benefits claim
- you were receiving a single occupancy 25 per cent discount on your council tax bill which you continue to receive due to the non-declaration of an additional adult household member
In addition to this, should you experience any of the following changes in circumstances, you are liable to report such changes to the council authorities:
- changes in your or your partner’s income or savings
- you start or stop receiving benefits
- someone joins or leaves your household
- you change your address (whether it is within the same or a different council area)
If you choose not to declare any of these changes, you may continue to get a reduced council tax bill in the short term. However, this is not advisable as there are many ways through which council authorities can find out about changes to your living conditions or you can be reported by anyone (mostly a neighbour) to them.
When found guilty of a council tax fraud, council authorities will take legal action against the guilty party. As a result of this, they will not only have to pay the amount of council tax that they were trying to avoid, they may even be faced with a penalty or a prison sentence.
Who Has To Pay Council Tax?
Adults who are above 18 years of age; whether they are a tenant or a homeowner are liable to pay council tax if their name appears on the council bill. However, in the case of married couples, civil or live-in partners, both individuals are equally liable for council tax payments due to their relationship status.
According to the hierarchy of council tax bills, the following will be responsible for council tax in decreasing order of priority:
- at the top of the hierarchy is the resident who owns either the leasehold or freehold of the property;
- the second in line is a resident tenant;
- this is followed by a resident who is not a tenant but lives on the property;
- then comes any resident occupying the property;
- and finally, the owner of the property while it remains unoccupied
However, unless the council tax bill is sent to your name, you are not liable to pay.
On the other hand, there are times when the owner is required to pay council tax in situations like the following:
- multiple occupancies of a property with a number of renters
- all the occupants are under the age of 18 years
- all the occupants are full-time students
- the occupants are asylum seekers with no claim on benefits
- the occupants are not living on the property as their main residence
- the property is a care home
Who Does Not Have To Pay Council Tax?
Should someone fall under any of the below categories, they will be considered exempt from having to pay their council tax bills:
- 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
Can Someone Live With You Without Paying Council Tax?
If someone is living with you temporarily and they pay council tax on their rented or owned property, they are not liable to pay council tax for your home while they stay with you.
If you are staying at a property (whether temporarily or permanently) that was previously exempted from council tax payments, you may be able to avail of this benefit for a maximum of 6 months.
However, if you were living alone and enjoying the 25 per cent council tax discount, the addition of a lodger must be informed to the local council office as you are no longer eligible for a council tax discount.
The discussion in this article highlights the fact that if someone is found to be deliberately hiding the addition of a household member on their council tax bill to continue receiving a council tax discount, they can be reported to the authorities and face severe consequences as a result. Being found guilty of declaring false information or not reporting an important change to one’s living conditions as the addition of a household member can lead to legal action from the authorities causing penalties ranging from paying back the actual amount of council tax to paying a fine or facing a jail term.
FAQs: How does not declaring someone living with you affect your council tax?
How can I live without paying council tax?
You may be exempt from having to pay council tax if you live in a hostel or are under medical care in a hospital or you are living with someone else to take care of them or are being looked after them.
Does everyone pay council tax?
Council tax is a mandatory tax levied upon all adult residents, whether they own or rent a property. It is based on two adults sharing a household. In the case of spouses or partners, both of them jointly share the liability of paying council tax bills. However, certain conditions such as being a single adult in a household qualify you for a council tax reduction on your bill.
Usually, council tax exemption may only be applicable for a short period; perhaps up to six months in case the premises are not occupied or remain unfurnished. However, occupied properties are not exempt from council tax bills.
Who is eligible for council tax payment?
Anyone who is more than 18 years of age, owns or rents a property is eligible for council tax payments. A full council tax is based upon two adults living on the same premises.
Does council tax depend on the number of occupants?
Yes, council tax depends on the number of occupants of a property. A full council tax is based on two adults sharing a household. If there is a single adult occupant of a property, they are eligible for a 25 per cent discount on their council tax bill.