Council Tax Benefit
In United Kingdom, the Council Tax is a vital source for collection of funds from its local residents. Hence residential property forms the primary basis for Council Tax.
Council Tax - Organizational Body:
The organizational body to which Council Tax is to be paid is mentioned below:
- Collecting Authorities: They are the local authorities who are responsible for collection of council tax.
- Precepting Authorities: They are the levied authorities who might be a delegate from a parish council, county or other agencies. They are involved for special purposes and sometimes may delegate their authority within a small specific region or sometimes the entire country itself. Here the authorities themselves set the amount to be collected from the respective households belonging to their region. They are categorized into the following types:
- o Strategic Authorities
- o Lowest-tier Authorities
- o Joint Boards
- o Public-owned utilities
- o Special purpose authorities
Council Tax Bands:
It is quite interesting to note that each of the private residences is allocated to one out of eight band coded letters marked from A to H. Here Band A are the group of property holders who pay the minimum tax amount and so on up to H, who pay the highest. Also the Council Tax charge differs according to different locations and may not be the same. Each band has a special rates depending upon the zone the property is located to. Hence it is necessary to know the range each valuation band possesses. Identification of the valuation band the property is located for is done through the following steps:
- Inspection of valuation list copy held by the authority
- To look out for information regarding valuation lists published in the website of Valuation Agency Office (VAO).
- Confirming the information obtained with the local authority
- Verify the Council Tax bill if you are the liable person to pay the bill.
Council Tax Benefit:
As a matter of fact, as you might imagine, many individuals who own individual property in the UK are keen to avail themselves of discounts in order to avoid paying a huge sum for their Council Tax. Hence council tax benefit scheme comes into picture. The council tax benefit scheme is applicable for all householders in UK whose income and assets are at a meager level than the expected level. Also the council tax benefit system may be availed by people who live in a rent house, own house or even a rent-free house. Normally this scheme is not applicable for people falling in the below mentioned category:
- People whose income is greater than £16,000
- People living in psychiatric care and who live without paying rents.
The Council Tax benefit system is a great boon for people having low incomes and a secured manner to deal with the council tax. Also the people who are eligible to claim Council Tax benefit are listed below:
- Must live in UK
- To pay council tax you must be liable
- Even if you work you can still claim council tax
Exemption of Properties from Council Tax:
There are numerous reasons for a property to be exempted in lieu of various reasons. They are mentioned below:
- Property being unoccupied or being empty. This also involves substantially unfurnished property.
- Property not suitable for living or which requires modifications to be done on that.
- A mortgaged property re-possessed by a lender.
- If in case the person holding a particular property is living in some other location due to numerous reasons and the property is currently unoccupied.
- Any place or property where students live
- Age old people dwelling in other person's property (case of being a dependent relative)
- Properties occupied by mentally impaired patients.
- Property handled by people living under the age of 18.
Also the liable person is solely responsible for payment of council tax. Also it is to be noted that persons under the age of 18 can never be a liable person. In general a liable person is one to whom the property belongs to and one who lives in that property. In case of couples living together, cohabiting, married or being in civil partnership both of them tend to be liable. But even though different situations may arise where the question arises for who should pay the tax. But the liable person should pay the council tax in following cases. They are:
- People doing various occupations, stay together and share the same house for living but pay separate rents to their owners.
- People aged under 18 living in an individual house.
- If the property is a place for living for asylum seekers
- Property being transformed to charity home, hostel, hospital.
- The liable person staying in another property belonging to him/her
It is always suggested to the liable person that before making their council tax payment to seek advice from experienced consultants (Eg: Citizens Advice Bureau).
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