Council tax liability (who should pay the bill?)
Council tax has to be paid on every property that isn’t exempt. Every council tax bill has just one name on it (or more if jointly liable), no matter how many people are living in the property. That person is the one who is 'liable' to pay, and they are usually over the age of 18 and living in the property themselves.
Hierarchy of responsibility
There is an order of priority, or 'hierarchy', to who is responsible for the council tax payment on any property.
Basically, if there is someone in the property who fits the first description, they are liable. If there's no-one fitting that description, then the person liable is the one who fits the second description - and so on.
The order of hierarchy is:
- The person who lives there, who owns the freehold;
- The person who lives there, who owns the leasehold;
- The person who lives there, who is a statutory or ‘secure’ tenant;
- The person who lives there, who has a contractual licence;
- The person who lives there, or;
- The owner.
To find out who is responsible for the bill we ask who is living there, and what interest they have in the property. We go through the order of priority in turn, to see which situation applies to the property, to find out who is liable to pay.
Tenants renting a property
In a property where there are tenants, the tenants would have to pay, not the landlord, as tenants (third in the list) are higher up than landlords (sixth in the list - the owner).
An empty property
If there is no-one living in the property at all (no-one matching the descriptions of items one to five in the list), then the owner (sixth in the list) is liable to pay council tax.
Joint & several liability
Joint & several liability means that anybody with the same interest in a property, or who are at the same level in the order of priority, are jointly liable to pay the council tax.
It also means that any of these people would be expected to pay the bill if it remained unpaid.
Examples of joint & several liability
Married couples and people living together as partners are considered to be jointly and severally liable (whether or not they have an equal interest in the property).
Council tax penalties
We have powers to impose penalties where a person is required by law to provide information (for example, to enable us to work out who should pay council tax) and either fails to do so, or supplies information which the person knows is false.
If you disagree with a penalty imposed on you, you may first wish to discuss it with us. Alternatively, you may appeal direct to a valuation tribunal. You will normally have two months in which to appeal after a penalty is imposed. We will provide you with information about how to appeal and the date by which any appeal should be made. If you do appeal, you do not have to pay your penalty until your appeal is decided.
The address of your local tribunal is:
Norfolk Valuation Tribunal
2nd Floor Black Lion House
45 Whitechapel Road
Tel: 0300 123 2035
Fax: 020 7247 6598
The tribunal will ask you to make your appeal in writing.
Related pages on this website
|contact officer/team:||Billings Assistant|
|web:||online enquiry form|
|freephone:||0808 178 7141|
|address:||South Norfolk Council
South Norfolk House
Norwich NR15 2XE
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Last updated on: 28 November 2011