What is Council Tax, how is it calculated and what is it used for?

What is Council Tax and what is used for?

Council Tax is a tax on domestic property collected by your local council. The council use it to pay for local services such as schools, rubbish collection, roads and street lighting.

How is Council Tax calculated?

You'll need to know three things:

  1. The valuation band for your home in England.
  2. How much your local council charges for that band.
  3. Whether you can get a discount or exemption from the full bill - for example, people living on their own get a 25% discount.

>> Council Tax bands and charges in Brighton & Hove

A full Council Tax bill is based on at least two adults living in a home. If you count as an adult for Council Tax and live on your own, you’ll get 25% off your bill. You’ll also get a discount if you live with people who don’t count as adults for Council Tax. These people are not counted as adults for Council Tax:

  • children under 18
  • people on apprentice schemes
  • 18 and 19-year-olds in full-time education
  • full-time college and university students
  • young people under 25 who get funding from the Skills Funding Agency or Young People’s Learning Agency
  • student nurses
  • foreign language assistants registered with the British Council
  • people with a severe mental disability
  • live-in carers who look after someone who isn’t their partner, spouse or child
  • diplomats

To work out if you should get a Council Tax discount:

  1. Count the number of adults who live in your home as their main home.
  2. Discount anyone in the list above.
  3. If you’re left with 1 person who counts as an adult, your Council Tax bill will be reduced by 25%.

What if your bill doesn’t show a discount

If there’s no discount listed and you think you should get one, let us know. The council has two months to respond. If you disagree with the council’s decision or don’t hear back within this time, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal.

What if you are getting a Council Tax discount by mistake

You must tell your council. If you don’t, you could get a fine. The council may also ask you to pay back the discount.


Find out more about Council Tax