Council tax
Produced in partnership with Alan Murdie of Council Tax Legal Services
Council tax

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Alan Murdie of Council Tax Legal Services provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Council tax
  • What is Council tax and what is its purpose?
  • Valuation and banding
  • Appeals against council tax valuation banding
  • Liability for payment of council tax
  • Discounts and exemptions
  • Relief for disability
  • Appeals regarding liability, discounts, exemptions and calculations as to amounts of tax
  • Billing and precepting authorities
  • Council tax 'excessive increases'
  • more

What is Council tax and what is its purpose?

The council tax was introduced as the primary source of collecting income from local residents by local authorities in England on 1 April 1993. The legislation also covers Wales but the administration of council tax in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Assembly Government. The council tax replaced the community charge (or, as it was more commonly known, the 'poll tax') which itself had replaced Domestic Rating in April 1990.

Total revenue expenditure by all local authorities in England was budgeted to be £95.9 billion in 2018–19 with the majority of local authority income being funded from central government in the form of specific grants (£39.4bn) and Settlement Grant (£28.8bn). £2.2bn was budgeted to be funded from local government reserves and other internal sources, leaving £24.7bn,including parish precepts, to be funded from council tax. This is 1.6% higher than the £94.5 billion budgeted for 2017–18. The largest increases in expenditure within this change are: Children’s social care: £8.6bn budgeted in 2018–19, up £542 million (6.8%) compared to that budgeted in 2017–18.

Therefore 31% of revenue expenditure is budgeted to be funded from council tax (including through parish precepts), 18% from business rates and 50% from central government and 1% from use of reserves.

The average Band D council tax (see below)