Council tax FAQs

In this section, you may find answers to your some of your queries.

I think my council tax band is incorrect.

If you feel your council tax banding is incorrect, please visit this page: challenge council tax band.

I have not received my new council tax bill.

Council tax bills for the financial year starting on April 1st, are posted by mid-March to ensure sufficient notice is provided for the first instalment, payable on April 1st.

A copy of this bill can be provided on request if you have not received it or you can sign up to self service to see your council tax bill online.

Who is responsible for the payment of council tax?

The first category of person which applies from the list below is liable for payment of council tax:

  1. A resident owner (owner occupier).
  2. A resident with a leasehold interest in the property.
  3. A resident who has a tenancy to occupy the property.
  4. A resident who has a licence to occupy the property.
  5. A resident to which none of the above applies.
  6. If none of the above, the non-resident owner of the property.

Why have my instalment amounts/ payments increased?

If your annual bill has increased from the previous year, this will be due to an annual increase. 

Otherwise, your circumstances may have changed which has increased your charge; such as a change in your council tax support; a member of the household may no longer be disregarded; or you have missed previous payments and the number of instalments have reduced to clear the balance by the end of the financial year.

Details of these increases are shown on your bill.  

I have received my bill but my council tax support/ discount has not been applied.

If you have a low income and have received council tax support - but it does not appear on your current bill, please contact our benefits team on 01902 696668 to check the status of this.

If you have previously received a discount that does not appear on your current bill, please contact the revenues team on 01902 696664.

Why have the charges increased on my empty property?

The premium charged on properties that have been empty for over two years is 100% above the normal charge. 

For properties that have been empty for five years or more, the premium has increased to 200% above the normal charge from April 1st, 2020. This is to encourage property owners to bring the properties into use. 

Do I have to pay council tax for an annexe?

Please visit our annexes page for more information.

Can I change my payment method, instalment plan, bank details on an existing direct debit, or set up a new direct debit?

You can set up a direct debit online.

You can change your bank account details on your current direct debit by first cancelling the direct debit with your bank, then completing a direct debit online form.

If you want to change to any other method of payment or change your instalment date, you need to call us on 01902 696664 or email

I'm struggling to pay my council tax, what can I do? 

Please visit our struggling to pay page for more information on how we can help you.

I have received a summons, do I need to attend court?

You do NOT need to attend court if you have already contacted us and agreed a payment arrangement. 

The purpose of the hearing is to decide whether or not you owe the money demanded, and not to look at your personal finances.

You have the right to attend the court and offer evidence if you are NOT liable for the council tax charges, but you only really need to attend if you have a legal defence to put to the magistrate as to why you feel that you are NOT liable to pay the amount due. 

What is my defence?

  • There are only two defences for not paying your council tax:

    • You have already paid the amount shown on the summons.
    • We haven’t demanded the council tax in the way the law says we have to:
      • We have to pass a resolution setting the council tax and it has to be published.
      • We have to prove we sent you a bill. We don’t have to prove you received the bill.    

What isn’t a defence?

It’s not a valid defence if you’re not paying your council tax because:

  • You have appealed against your council tax band. You have to pay the amount on your bill until your appeal is heard.
  • You believe you’re not the person who has to pay the council tax, or that council tax doesn’t apply to your property, or that you are entitled to a discount. In these cases, you should contact us, but once we have considered your request, if you still do not agree you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Services. You remain liable to pay in the meantime.
  • If you don’t have a valid defence, the court will grant a Liability Order.


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