Is Council tax charged per person or per property?

This blog answers the question “Is Council tax charged per person or per property?” It lays down the basic definition of Council Tax, which is a tax on domestic property. Council tax is applied per property on land ownership and the total entitlement is also calculated by aggregating tax for all the residences owned.

Is Council tax charged per person or per property?

Council tax is charged on the value of the property you own. This price of your property contained in official records is classified in 8 bands, named from A-H, being in a higher or lower band changes the basic amount on your tax entitlement. 

Council tax is a tax on domestic property paid to your local council. The Council also adds charges for services it provides in your community, to your bill. The number of people occupying a property does not affect council tax charges. HMRC does keep track of the residents of each property to ensure transparency in the council tax billing process. 

There is a discount of 25% for one adult or taxable resident living on a property but this doesn’t change the overall bill by much. 75% of the value of your property will still be charged per year as council tax.

If you own more than one residence, the second one and any others will be charged the full 100% of council tax, regardless of the number of occupants it has. So more properties mean more annual council tax payments in your name.

Another reason why council tax is not charged per person is that only the owner (usually one person) has to pay the bill. So if more residents move into a property, the council tax bill will stay the same.

Is there a council tax exemption for a person who has died and was the only one living on the property?

Yes, the property is exempt from council tax for as long as it remains unoccupied following the death of the owner. Following the granting of probate, another 6-month exemption is possible as long as the property remains unoccupied and has not been sold to someone else

Executors must inform council tax about:

  • The date the probate is granted
  • The details of the transfer of the property or the ending date of the tenancy
  • Whether the estate is settled.

What if a property is occupied by more than 20 people all of whom are just under the age of 18 years (the property was in the name of a person who died recently)?

Only adults can be charged or billed for council tax, so the heirs or legal claimants of the property will be liable to pay the accumulated council taxes once they turn 18. In the time between the death of the owner of the property and the reaching of the legal age of the residents (the new owner among them) the property is occupied or being used so the occupants become jointly responsible for council tax.

The council tax bill will be sent to the address in April after the month in which they turn 18 (or the eldest of them turns 18). The property will also be legally transferred to the new owner before this council tax letter is billed.

How much council tax reduction can be granted to 25 pension-age residents living together?

If any one of these residents is getting Guaranteed Pension credit and none of them classify as working age based on their income or savings(savings of less than £16000) , they can claim upto 100% council tax reduction on their property.

If all of them are pension age residents and therefore qualify for State Pension Credit you will still be able to get a significant reduction in council tax which will cover your entire bill.

There is no limit on the number of non dependants you can have living with you or any liability for them to contribute to council tax

If I am a pensioner owning 3 residences, will I be able to claim State Pension Credit support on the bill for all of my properties?

No. Pension Credit which consists of Guaranteed Credit and Savings Credit is applicable to the primary residence only. Also your other 2 properties will be counted in value as savings when your income is calculated, which will most likely exceed £16000.

This level of savings will disqualify you from getting State Pension Credit as you certainly don’t demonstrate need to access this benefit. So if somehow you are in need of tax benefits and can prove this, you might be eligible for Guaranteed Pension Credit.

I owned 5 residences and 2 of my secondary residences which were empty have been severely damaged by forest fires. Can I get any reduction on my council tax bill?

Yes, council tax benefits in case of exceptional circumstances (which threaten the taxpayer’s ability to pay tax) are allocated per property. For each individual case of fire damage, you will need to submit evidence of the efforts you have undertaken to repair the damage and the costs incurred herein which includes:

  • Photographs and extent of the repairs
  • An estimate of the repair costs needed
  • Surveyor’s reports
  • Invoices of work carried out

This evaluation is undertaken to be submitted to the Valuation Office Agency which will change the rateable value of your property (band) based on appropriate evidence. The rateable value is the rental value of the property if it was rented out at the standard valuation date on the basis that the tenant will cover the cost of all the repairs.

This exception of altering the rateable value based on the property being in a state of disrepair only applies if:

  • The property is in such a state of damage that any reasonable homeowner would consider the costs of renovation uneconomic
  • The property is in such a state of ruin that any reasonable homeowner would only repair it partially
  • The property has been so badly devastated by fire that there is no way that it can be economically renovated or used again

After this option is explored and the property’s council tax payments cannot be covered, a Section 13A discount can be applied.

Individual applications for this Section 13 A Discount must demonstrate:

  • That this application for a Section 13A discount is undertaken as a last resort and that any Valuation Office Agency application for changing tax band category and other council tax reduction or exemption entitlements have been considered.
  • The unforeseen exceptional circumstances on which this application is based and provide appropriate evidence, reports, photographs or repairs, and invoices of work carried out on the property. The detailed proof of the devastation from the fire to the home and the costliness of the repairs needed must be mentioned.
  • Demonstrate to council tax that the council tax arrears are not a result of the deliberate nonpayment or due to failure to make payments on time in the past. The current council tax arrears should directly have accumulated as a result of *fixing)the fire damage to the owned properties,

The evidence documents that must be provided to prove these conditions include:

  • Documentation evidence to support the unforeseen circumstances of the fire faced by the taxpayer and how they increased his expenses through repair costs and liabilities of owning a property gutted by fire.
  • Evidence of documents that show that all other tax reduction benefits and an attempt to change the rateable value of the property through the VOA have been considered thoroughly
  • An Income and Expenditure Statement of the owner
  • Documents to verify the evidence provided on income and expenditure statements (especially the expenses on repairs)

Your council tax bill for the month will be based on the value of your property in its respective council tax band, not on the number of occupants. 

How many Council Tax Bands are there?

There are 9 Council Tax Bands. Band A, Band B, Band C, Band D, Band E, Band F, Band G and Band H and Band I. Council tax Band A is for properties valued upto £40,000. Council tax Band B is for properties valued between £40,000 and £52,000. Council tax Band C is for properties valued between £52,000 and £68,000.

 Council tax Band D is for properties valued between £68,000 and £88,000. Council tax band E is for properties valued between £88000 and £120,000. Council tax band F is for properties valued between £120,000 and £160,000. Council tax band G is for properties valued between £160,000 and £320,000. Council tax band H is for properties valued above £320,000

What is my total yearly council tax amount for each of the council tax bands?

Your yearly council tax bill depends on which council you live in, so your bill could be different from a person living in another council by a maximum of a few hundred pounds 

If you live in Bristol Council, your yearly tax is:

  • £1486.91 for a property valued in Band A
  • £1734.73 for a property valued in Band B
  • £1982.55 for  property valued in Band C
  • £2230.37 for a property valued in Band D
  • £2726 for a property valued in Band E
  • £3221.64 for a property valued in Band F
  • £3717.28 for a property valued in Band G
  • £4460.74 for a property valued in Band H


This blog post addressed the question “Is Council tax charged per person or per property?” 

Council tax is an annual charge levied on the owner of real estate and the bill is delivered to each property address in April. It is charged per property, requiring separate registrations and payments for each residence owned.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) : Is Council tax charged per person or per property?

My account is in credit, can I have the money back?

If your account is in credit, you will be issued a credit bill by your council showing the amount you have overpaid. Your council will normally return the overpaid amount to your bank account or issue a check in your name

You can also request to have the overpayment transferred to credit another liability that you may have with your council

Can I cancel a direct debit instruction?

Yes, you can cancel a direct debit instruction immediately by writing to your bank or building society. Also, send a copy of your cancellation letter to your council.

I’m a landlord, what do I pay for periods in between tenants?

If you put up the property for rent, unfurnished you will be entitled to a six-month exemption from council tax from the date the property was vacated. A 50% discount on council tax will apply to your property for the next 6 months after this.

If after this your property remains empty and is still being actively marketed for rent, a 10% council tax reduction will be granted for the next 24 months.

When 36 months have passed since your property was last occupied by tenants, you will be billed for council tax.


Land occupied by the same person

Council tax discounts