Who pays council tax?

Most homes are subject to council tax.

There is one bill per owned/rented home whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile home or houseboat.

To work out who is liable for paying council tax in your home, look down the list below for a description which applies to someone in your home. When you find a description that matches, that person is responsible for the bill (the “liable person”):

  1. a resident freeholder (for owner-occupied property- the owner is liable)  
  2. a resident leaseholder (this includes assured tenants under the Housing Act 1988)  
  3. a resident statutory or secure tenant  
  4. a resident licensee 
  5. a resident 
  6.  the owner (this applies where the dwelling has no residents).

A “resident” is a person 18 years or over who lives in the property as their main or only home.

These rules mean that the owner-occupier(s) or resident tenant(s) usually has to pay the council tax.

If the property is empty or is not anyone’s main home, or if the people living there are under 18, the owner is responsible for the council tax.

Are you paying the right level of council tax? This guide is here to help.

Joint and several liability for council tax

There can be more than one liable person. People who are joint owners or joint tenants are jointly and severally (individually) liable for the one council tax bill.

Husbands and wives of liable people are also jointly responsible for paying the bill. This also applies to a man and a woman living together as husband and wife. Special rules apply where one of the liable people is severely mentally impaired.

We cannot split council tax bills between members of a household.  For example, if three people live in a property we will only issue one bill which must be paid in full, and not three bills for one third of the council tax. 

Any arrangements made between people who are liable for the bill is between them and we cannot get involved in any dispute.  

If necessary, we will take legal action against individuals if council tax isn’t paid.

Occupied and unoccupied homes

Council tax is payable on both occupied and unoccupied homes. However, there are a number of discounts, reliefs and exemptions which can apply.

In the case of exemptions, these particularly apply to homes which are unoccupied. For further details see council tax discounts and exemptions.

Contact us - Council tax

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0345 302 2313
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

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South Oxfordshire District Council
Po Box 872
Erith
DA8 1UN