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Council Tax Liability

If you’ve never had to pay council tax before you’ve probably got some questions regarding whether you are liable to pay now.

here are certain circumstances where you won’t be expected to pay council tax, and in these situations it is unlikely that you should be asked to pay. If you have been asked to pay and you don’t think that you are liable to pay, feel free to get in contact with us and we will give you advice on whether you are liable and what you need to do next.

  • Know your rights and your Council Tax liability based on your situation

For every household there must be at least one liable person, whether that is an owner a tenant or split between a couple (couples are considered severally liable). However if you are under 18 you are unable to be considered liable.

In certain circumstances tenants will not be liable for council tax, in which case the earnest falls on the owner. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, property that is shared by under 18 year olds (such as student houses), buildings that offer asylum (hospitals, care homes, women’s refuge, accommodation for asylum seekers) or property in multiple occupation (a home that is shared by numerous households paying separate rent).

Whilst it is usually the person living in the property that would be liable for paying the council tax, in these circumstances, the owner should be billed.

If you think that you’ve received a bill that should be paid by the owner of the premises then you should contact us immediately and we will advise you on the best course of action going forward.

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Advice on Council Tax Liability

If you are not under 18, and you live in a property by yourself you are the liable person (if you are living alone of course you may be legible for council tax discounts), and you should receive a council tax bill.

If you live in a property with more than one person living there, a system then applies called the hierarchy of liability. The hierarchy of liability is used to work out who should be addressed when the bill is sent to the property. The person that fits the highest criteria will assume a position as a liable person.

If you are a resident owner or occupier who holds the leasehold or freehold for all or part of the property you are at the top of the liability hierarchy. As both the owner and occupier, the bill for council tax will be directed to you, if you are struggling to pay your council tax bills because of exceptional circumstances you should contact us about council tax discounts.

Second on the hierarchy of liability is the resident tenant who comes above residents who are licensees. Technically licensee residents aren’t tenants, they simply have permission to stay.


Below that are other residents such as squatters.
At the bottom of the hierarchy sits the owner of a property that does not have a resident.

Below this exists residents such as those below 18 who aren’t liable to pay council tax, and as such the bill is deferred to the owner as pointed out above.

Depending on the circumstances of any owner or resident there are platforms in place to help those that are struggling with council tax payments, these are known as council tax reductions or exemptions, and we discuss them on our council tax discounts page. If you think you might be liable for council tax but are unable to afford the costs, please contact us and we will advise you on your next move.

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Where you can find the best advice on Council Tax Liability

Unless you have previously spoken to the council or council tax advisors about becoming exempt from council tax, every home in the UK is liable for paying council tax, and these costs will fall to one of the above.

If you fall into one of these categories but are unsure if you are at the top of the hierarchy of liability contact us today and we should be able to clarify your situation. Hopefully we should put your mind at ease, and if it turns out that you are liable to pay council tax we can give you some advice on your payments.

Council tax can be a confusing subject if you’ve never had to pay it before. We aim to help everyone get a coherent understanding of their relationship with council tax, and we want to start with you today.

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Council Tax Advisors is a trading name of Ruby Holdings Limited.
Registered in England and Wales, Company Registration Number: 09496123
Registered office: 103 Bradley House, Radcliffe Moor Road, Bolton, Lancashire, BL2 6RT.
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