Asides from residency status, council tax rates depend on a number of other factors as well. Through this blog post, we aim to explain how council tax rates are applied when a professional shares their house with a full-time student or a part-time one. Additionally, we will also discuss how council tax rates and valuation bands are assigned to properties, the eligibility criteria for council tax reduction and the consequences of not paying your council tax bill.

How Much Is Council Tax For One Student And One Professional?

If a professional adult (above the age of 18 years) is living with a full-time student, the rate of council tax that applies will be based on single occupancy status with a council tax discount as the full-time student will be exempt from council tax payments. To qualify as a full-time student, an individual should be able to comply with the following conditions:

  • The student is involved in a minimum of 21 hours of study each week
  • The course undertaken by the student should last a minimum of 12 months

If the student is in an A levels or below course and is aged below 20 years of age, the following conditions will apply:

  • The student should be involved in a minimum of 12 hours of study each week
  • The course undertaken by the student should last a minimum of 3 months

In case of part-time students, there can be no exemption from council tax bills; however, a discounted rate will apply. The amount of council tax due will depend on the valuation band assigned to the property they occupy as well as its market value. 

If someone is not a student and is seeking a reduction on their council tax bill, the claimant must either be on low income or claim benefits through a government-supported program.

The amount of council tax reduction that they qualify for will depend on the following factors:

  • The area in which they live as each local council has its scheme
  • Claimant’s circumstances; including their income, the number of children, any other benefits that may be receiving
  • Total household income; this includes the joint incomes and saving of couples
  • If children are living in the house
  • Number of other adults in the house

There are eight valuation bands for council tax bills that run across A to H, with Band A assigned to properties with the lowest value and increasing up to Band H for properties with higher values. It is on the basis of this assigned band, that the amount of council tax is decided. Therefore, the higher the valuation band, the higher the council tax payments.

In addition to a property’s value, the Valuation Office Agency considers the following factors when assessing a property for valuation purposes:

  • location
  • size
  • character
  • layout
  • purpose or use

How Is Council Tax Calculated?

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) initially assesses the market value of properties according to their worth in 1991 (this is a uniform practice across the UK) to assign them a valuation band. If your property has been constructed after 1991, the market value of similar properties at that time will be applied.

Below is a detailed classification of council tax rates according to their valuation bands:

Council Tax BandProperty Value
AUp to £40,000
BOver £44,000 and up to £52,000
COver £52,000 and up to £68,000
DOver £68,000 and up to £88,000
EOver £88,000 and up to £120,000
FOver £120,000 and up to £160,000
GOver £160,000 and up to £320,000
HOver £320,000 

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.

Through the next few paragraphs, we will explore various areas of interest concerning Council Tax Bills, including the following:

  • the nature of a council tax bill
  • assessment of properties for council tax
  • annual collection of council tax
  • council Tax debt and its consequences
  • forecasted changes in council tax

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

A standard bill is spread over 10 monthly instalments that run between April and January. However, if residents find it difficult to make timely amounts as per the monthly amount that is due, they can request their local council to divide this annual tax into 12 instalments; thus, reducing the size of the monthly instalment.

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. 

Who Is Eligible For Council Tax Benefits?

To qualify for a council tax benefit certain criteria needs to be met. Following are some examples: 

  • Two adults who live in the same house qualify to pay full council tax; they may share the bill. However, if a single adult is living in a property by themselves, they may be eligible for a 25 per cent reduction in the bill irrespective of the fact whether they are part-time employees or full-time ones. The same rule applies if an adult is sharing the premises with one or more individuals under the age of 18 years.
  • A 50 per cent council tax benefit becomes applicable if all the residents of the household are under 18 years of age. Complete exemption or a 100 per cent discount is applicable if all the residents of the said premises are full-time students.
  • Individuals on a low income or those receiving other forms of public support qualify for a 100 per cent discount on their council tax bills. To apply for this exemption, claimants may be homeowners or tenants; they may either be unemployed or working. 

The eligibility for council tax benefit and the amount of benefit that may be extended to applicants is also at the discretion of local council schemes.

Who Is Exempt From Council Tax?

Should someone fall under any of the below categories, they will be considered as exempted 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

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

What Happens If Someone Is Unable To Pay Their Council Tax?

If an individual is struggling to pay their council tax bills, they must contact their local council office immediately. The first convenience extended towards such individuals is that the local council may allow them to pay their council tax bill in 12 instalments as compared to the standard 10. This reduces the amount that is due each month; thus reducing the size of each payment.

If this is not a workable solution, the council office may offer the individual a one time discount so that future payments are made easily.

If someone is low on income or receiving other forms of state benefits, they may not be eligible to pay their council tax in full.

However, if someone deliberately fails to make their council tax payments and does not inform the council of their situation, they will be sent a reminder notice to clear their payment within the next 7 days. Failure to do so may impose the full payment of the annual tax on the individual.

Continuing to miss council tax payments may call for legal action from the council’s side as they will be authorised to send a liability order (a legal demand) to clear your unpaid dues. All legal fees incurred for this process will be added to the defaulter’s council tax bill.

As a final resort, the council office can send enforcement agents/bailiffs to seize the property of the defaulting party. If someone does not have a good reason to default on their council tax payments, they may be sent to jail for 3 months. 

Conclusion:

From the above discussion, it is apparent that when an adult shares a house with a full time student, the student is exempt from contributing to the council tax bills. In the case of a part-time student, a discounted rate of council tax will apply. However, should the adult seek to apply for a council tax reduction, they must be able to comply with specific criteria such as low income or benefits claim.

FAQs; How Much Is Council Tax For One Student And One Professional?

Do you pay council tax as a student?

If you are a full-time student who has undertaken a course for at least one year and are studying for 21 hours or more per week, you will be exempt from council tax bills. In case you are a part-time student, you will be able to qualify for a discounted rate of council tax and will have to pay a nominal bill.

Do PhD students pay council tax in England?

This depends on whether the student is studying full-time or part-time. Full-time PhD students will be exempt from council tax bills while part-time students will be able to claim a discounted rate.

Do full-time students pay tax in the UK?

If a full-time student earns above the Personal Allowance limit of £12,750, they will be liable to pay income tax and national insurance in the UK. However, they will be exempted from council tax bills.

How do I avoid council tax in the UK?

Council tax is a mandatory payment in the UK; therefore, you cannot avoid it on purpose. However, you may be exempt from council tax bills under certain conditions, which includes living in a care home or hospital, living elsewhere to take care of someone, being under the age of 18 years.

How much can a full-time student make before paying taxes?

A full-time student in the UK can earn the Personal Allowance amount of £12,750 before having to pay taxes.

Can students get a tax refund in the UK?

Yes, if you are a student and you are eligible, you can get a tax refund in the UK by using your P60 or P45 forms. 

References:

Do students have to pay council tax?

Council tax for students – Citizens Advice

Council Tax: Who has to Pay – GOV.UK

Council Tax: Discounts for full-time students – GOV.UK

Money off council tax for students and people who live with students

How to get student council tax exemption

How domestic properties are assessed for Council Tax bands – GOV.UK

Council Tax: Paying your bill – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Paying your Council Tax (merton.gov.uk)

Council tax bills can be spread over a year from April (moneysavingexpert.com)

Council Tax Reduction – Who can apply?

Council tax exemptions

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