Last modified: 06 March 2014
Council Tax is set by local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales to pay for local services that they provide, such as rubbish collection, the police and the fire brigade. It is based on the value of the house, flat or other accommodation (in this information these are all called ‘dwellings’) in which you live.
There is no Council Tax in Northern Ireland but there is a different local tax which students may have to pay called Rates. For more information speak to your Students’ Union or institution’s advice service. The Northern Ireland government also publishes useful information.
The Council Tax bill depends on the value of the dwelling and the number of people aged 18 years or over living there. Some dwellings are ‘exempt’, which means no Council Tax is payable at all and there will be no bill for the dwelling. There are several exemptions that apply to students.
In other cases, certain people (including students and student nurses) are ignored when counting the number of adults living in a dwelling, and there may be a reduction in the bill.
The terms ‘student’ and ‘student nurse’ are defined in Council Tax legislation for the purpose of determining whether an exemption applies or a person is ignored when calculating the bill. When these terms are used in the following information then the Council Tax definitions apply. People not meeting these definitions are referred to as ‘non-students’. In addition to this, dependant family members must meet specific requirements, in order for exemptions or discounts to apply.
If you live in an ‘exempt dwelling’ you will not need to pay the Council Tax and there will be no bill for the dwelling.
Exempt dwellings include:
- Accommodation provided by the university or college that is occupied only or mainly by students (for example, a hall of residence or student house)
- Other dwellings (for example, a privately rented flat) occupied only by students
- Other dwellings occupied only by students and their dependants, who are not British citizens, and are prevented, by the terms of their UK immigration permission, from taking paid employment or from claiming benefits (for example a spouse with PBS dependant leave that has a condition that they have no recourse to public funds
A dwelling will not be exempt if you are living with your non-student spouse, civil partner or adult dependant, and they are:
- an EEA or Swiss national, or the family member of an EEA or Swiss national, who is exercising a right of free movement in the UK, or
- a British citizen, or
- settled in the UK (with indefinite leave to enter or remain).
If your dwelling is not exempt, there will be a bill.