Council tax

Council tax is a tax on domestic properties and is collected by local authorities. Generally, the bigger the property is, the more tax will be charged.

Some properties are exempt from council tax and in some specific circumstances council tax can be reduced.

Who has to pay the council tax?

Generally, the person occupying the property, so long as they are aged 18 or over, will be the person responsible for paying the council tax.

If you are a student and occupy the property as joint tenants with other people that are all also students you will all be jointly liable for the bill.

There are some situations where the owner of the property is responsible. These include where :

  • the property is a house in multiple occupation, for example, a house lived in by a number of people who all pay rent, but no-one is responsible for paying the whole of the rent (ie: you are not joint tenants),
  • the property is a hostel.

How much is the council tax?

Each council keeps a list of all the domestic property in its area. This is called the valuation list. Each property is valued and put into a valuation band. A different amount of council tax is then charged on each band.

To find out which tax band your property is in visit Gov.UK.

Not everyone will have to pay the full amount of council tax. There are three ways in which your council tax bill may be reduced. These are:

  • if your property is Exempt from council tax
  • if you are eligible for a Discount
  • if someone in your household is disabled.

If you are finding it difficult to pay your council tax, you may be entitled  to a Council Tax Reduction.

Exempt properties

Some properties can be exempt from council tax. These include where :

  • all the occupants are full time university or college students
  • the property is a hall of residence mainly occupied by students
  • all the residents are under the age of 18.

If your property is exempt it means your liability for council tax is reduced to zero, regardless of your income or how much savings you have.


If only one person lives in a property they will get a 25% discount on the council tax bill.

When working out how many people live in a property, some people are not counted. These are called disregarded people. If everyone who lives in the property is disregarded, there will be a 50% discount on the bill.

Disregarded people include:

  • full-time students
  • care workers
  • young people on certain youth training schemes
  • apprentices
  • school or college leavers still aged under 20 who have left school or college after 30 April. They will be disregarded until 1 November of the same year or until they reach 20
  • those who are aged 18 or under and someone is entitled to child benefit for them.

Reduction scheme for people with disabilities

If there is someone (adult or child) living in a household who has a disability the council tax bill for the property may be reduced. The reduction is made by charging council tax on a lower valuation band than the one the property is in. For example, if the property is in band D, the council tax bill will be worked out as if it were in band C.

Where can I get more help?

To find details about council tax in your area, including contact details for your local council, use this postcode search tool :

Other pages in advice for young people


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This page was last updated on: February 1, 2018

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.