Council tax payments are mandatory upon homeowners and tenants alike. This blog post aims to explain what happens in a situation when there is an overlap of council tax as residents move homes. Additionally, we will also explore how council tax is applied to properties, the duration that it runs from and what happens to council tx when someone changes their address.

What Happens When There Is Council Tax Overlap Due To Moving House?

In case there is a council tax overlap due to moving house, you may find yourself paying two council tax bills in one month. This happens when residents forget to inform their council authorities of their intention to move.

In order to avoid having to pay two council tax bills due to overlap, you should inform your local council office at least a month in advance about your intentions and expected date of moving out of your current home so that your council tax bill can be cancelled from that date onwards. Once you have informed the authorities, you will receive a final bill from your local council office as per your indicated date of moving from the property. 

If you have forgotten to do so and have received two council tax bills, you should inform your council authorities about the date and details of leaving your previous home so that necessary arrangements can be made to cancel that bill.

You need to inform your local council office of the change in address so that future bills are sent to your new home. In case this change of address brings with it a change in your personal situation or the valuation band is different for your new home, you may experience a change in the amount of council tax bill that you were paying earlier.

For instance, if you were a single occupant and have moved in with a partner you will lose your single occupancy discount. Similarly, if your previous residence was classed at a lower valuation band such as B or a C and you have moved to a property with a higher market value and an elevated valuation band such as D or E, it will impact the amount of council tax bills that are due upon you.  

If you are a homeowner who will be leaving behind an empty property, you will be able to claim a discounted council tax bill from the date of vacating the premises.

In most cases, all that you have to do is fill out an online form on your council’s website and share relevant supportive evidence with the authorities. Supportive evidence may include the following:

  • Applicant’s personal contact details
  • Applicant’s council tax reference number
  • Applicant’s bank details
  • Landlord’s or agent’s details (in case you are a tenant)
  • Joint tenant’s details (in case you will be sharing the new premises with someone else)
  • Solicitor’s and joint owner’s details (in case you are the owner)
  • Details of any benefits or council tax discounts claimed previously
  • Details of the property that you are leaving
  • Details of the property that you are moving into 

Simultaneously, you must also inform your bank of your change in address in case (a) you were making council tax payments through Direct Debit and (b) have now moved to another council district and would be required to make payments to another account than before.

What Happens To Council Tax If My Address Changes?

There are different answers to this, depending upon the circumstances. While we will analyse each specific situation in detail, as a general rule, it is advisable to inform your local council office of a change in address 21 days in advance; even if this change of address is going to be temporary. If you have not been able to do that and have already moved into another place, you must inform them immediately.

The main reason for this is that as a result of the change in address, you may be eligible for a lower or higher council tax band. If you do not inform your local council of your change in residence, your council tax may be billed incorrectly. The other reason is that you must clear your council tax dues prior to a change of address so that you do not have to face the dire consequences of council tax arrears such as court summons and magistrate visits.

Once you inform the council office of your change in address, it takes them around 20 days to process a new council tax bill, depending upon any major changes such as change of valuation band for your house or change of council district or the addition/subtraction of council tax benefits if there is a change in your personal circumstances as well along with a change in address.

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.

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.

Can I Move To A New House With Council Tax Arrears?

Yes, there is no legal restriction on a council tax debtor to move to new premises with arrears due towards their previous council. 

However, the debt will still remain in their name and will not be transferred to the new owners or tenants. This means that if you have council tax arrears and you move to a new house, you will not only be paying council tax for the new property but will also be obliged to clear your dues concerning the previous premises as well.

The best way to proceed in such a situation would be to inform your local council of your intention to move and work out a mutually agreed payment plan so that after your move to the new premises, the number of your tax bills due do not inflate. 

Who Has To Pay Council Tax?

Anyone who is above 18 years of age and rents or owns property in England, Scotland or Wales is eligible for council tax payments. However, under the following conditions, the council tax bill becomes due upon the owner of the property and not the individual(s) occupying it:  

  • If the premises are vacant and is considered as an empty home 
  • If the premises are not being used as a residential property but as a nursing home 
  • Premises occupied by religious communities 
  • Premises with multiple occupants with individual rooms being rented out 
  • Premises serves as the residence of staff who live in houses occupied by an employer 
  • Premises that are residences of ministers of religion

In case there are multiple members of a household, an “order of liability” ascertains the responsibility for paying council tax. It usually follows the below hierarchy: 

  • The resident who is the freeholder of all or part of the property 
  • The resident who is the leaseholder of all or part of the property 
  • The resident tenant 
  • The resident who is not a tenant but has permission to live in the property 
  • The resident occupying the property 
  • A mortgagee who is in possession of an owner’s interest 
  • The property owner when it is unoccupied

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. 

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.

Conclusion:

Being a mandatory payment, council tax remains applicable on a property up until the last day that residents move out of it. Similarly, it starts applying to residents from the date of completion of a new property or the beginning of their tenancy agreement. In order to avoid an overlap of council tax bills and dual payments at two properties simultaneously, it is best to inform your local council authorities a month in advance; both of the date of your departure from the previous property and the date of moving into the new one.

FAQs: What Happens When There Is Council Tax Overlap Due To Moving House?

How do I cancel council tax if I move?

In order to cancel your council tax due to a change of address, you will need to inform your local council office of your previous and new addresses at least a month in advance. This can be done online through the website of your council authority.

Do I have to pay council tax on an empty property?

Yes, you have to pay council tax on an empty property; however, a discounted rate will apply in such as case. If your property becomes empty and unfurnished, you will be exempted from council tax payments for the first month.

How do I avoid council tax in the UK?

Council tax is a mandatory payment in the UK and there is no way to legally avoid it. However, you can check with your council authorities if you are eligible for a council tax discount or property exemption. Non-payment of council tax can lead to a penalty or even a jail term. 

At what age do you stop paying council tax in the UK?

Council tax applies from the age of 18 years continues until you occupy a property. However, in the case of low income or single occupancy status, you may be able to get a discount on your bill.

What months do you not pay council tax?

Council tax payments are spread over the ten-month period across April to January. Therefore, you do not pay council tax in February and March.

References: 

How To Cancel Council Tax When Moving House | Moovshack.

Council Tax When Moving House

Council-tax-moving-house

Cancel-council-tax-moving-house/

Council Tax change of address

Change your details

Change of circumstances that may affect your Council Tax bill

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

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