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.

Council tax is a local domestic property-based tax levied by billing authorities on the basis of the broad capital valuation band to which a property has been allocated. Various discounts, exemptions and reductions in valuations are provided for. A council tax benefits scheme is in operation to assist those on low incomes. The Local Government Finance Act 2012 (LGFA 2012) introduced new rules which required councils in England to design their own Council Tax support schemes, effective from April 2013.

The Local Government Finance Act 1992 (LGFA 1992), as amended and regulations made under it, provide the principal legislation governing the operation of council tax.

Council tax as a revenue source for local authorities

Total revenue expenditure by all local authorities in England was budgeted to be £99.2 billion in 2019–20 with the majority of local authority income being funded from central