Council Tax explanatory notes

Council Tax Valuation Bands

The valuation of dwellings is carried out by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). Each dwelling has been allocated one of eight bands according to its open market value at 1 April 1991. Your council tax bill states which band applies to your dwelling.

Valuation band Range of values
A Up to and including £40,000
B £40,001 - £52,000
C £52,001 - £68,000
D £68,001 - £88,000
E £88,001 - £120,000
F £120,001 - £160,000
G £160,001 - £320,000
H More than £320,000

Your council tax demand or exemption notice will show which band has been allocated to your property.

Appealing against your Council Tax Band

You can look up your council tax band online, and check if you can request a review, by selecting ‘council tax’ on Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website. You can contact the VOA online or call 03000 501 501. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm. If you don’t agree with the banding, you have limited rights of appeal.

Making an appeal does not allow you to withhold payment of Council Tax in the meantime as recovery action will continue. If your appeal is successful the VOA will tell us of the change direct and you will be entitled to a full refund of overpaid Council Tax.

Discounts, Disregards and Exemptions

A full Council Tax charge is based on two adults being resident in a property as their sole or main residence. For Council Tax purposes, an adult is any person aged 18 or over irrespective of their personal circumstances surrounding their income or education.

Single Person Discount

If there is only one person over the age of 18 and it is their sole or main residence, then a single person discount of 25% can be applied for. The discount cannot be awarded for the same person at more than one property or to persons who would usually live together as partners but live apart due to work purposes or whilst an adult on holiday.

Discounts for empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) dwellings

Dwellings which are unoccupied and unfurnished will receive a 50% discount for a maximum of three months, once the period of discount has expired, full council tax will be payable.

For those dwellings requiring or undergoing major repair work to make them habitable no discount is available.

Empty Homes Premium

Dwellings that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for at least two years, and are not subject to a statutory exemption, will have an additional council tax applied to them. Until 31 March 2019 the premium was 50%, this increased to 100% premium from 1 April 2019. The two year period will include any period where an empty dwelling discount has been awarded.

Annexe discounts

From 1 April 2014 annexes which are used by the occupier of the main house as part of the main home, or annexes which are occupied by a relative of the person and are not exempt from Council Tax are able to apply for a 50% reduction.

Second Homes

Dwellings which are not occupied as a person’s sole or main residence and are furnished will be classed as a second home for Council Tax purposes. Full Council Tax is chargeable for a second home. If your home is provided by and paid for by your employer as part of your contract and the property is within the curtilage of your employment, you may be entitled to a 50% discount.

Disregarded adults

If only one adult lives in the dwelling (as their main home) the Council Tax bill can be reduced by 25%. People in the following groups do not count towards the number of adults resident in the dwelling: full time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth training trainees; patients resident in hospital; people being looked after in a care home; people who are severely mentally impaired; people staying in certain hospitals or night shelters; 18 and 19 year olds who have just left school; carers, working for low pay, or caring for someone who is not a spouse, partner or child under 18; people caring for someone with a disability who is not a spouse, partner or child under 18; members of visiting forces and certain international headquarters; members of religious communities; people in prison (except those for non- payment of Council Tax or a fine).

If you think you may be entitled to a discount you should contact the customerservice@southnorthants.gov.uk.

If your bill indicates that a discount has been allowed, you must advise us of any change of circumstances which affects your entitlement to that discount within 21 days. If you fail to do so you may be required to pay a penalty and/or be subject to prosecution

Council Tax exemptions

Some dwellings are exempt from Council Tax, including properties occupied only by students, members of a visiting force, diplomats and members of international organisations, persons under 18 years, persons who are severely mentally impaired, annexes occupied by elderly or disabled family members and certain vacant dwellings. See council tax exemptions for more details.

Section 13a discounts

Under Section 13a of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 the council may reduce the amount of Council Tax you are required to pay in individual cases or in a class of cases where national discounts and exemptions do not apply.

People with disabilities

If you, or someone who lives with you, need a room or an extra bathroom or kitchen or use a wheelchair within your property to meet special needs arising from a disability you may be entitled to a reduced Council Tax bill. If you qualify you will be billed at a band lower than the band your property is actually in. The reduction for a band A is 1/9th of the band D charge.

Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme

If you are on a low income you can apply for help with your Council Tax under our local CTR scheme, which has been approved by members. To apply you need to complete our application form and provide evidence of all your household's income and savings. Generally, CTR is only paid from when you make your application. If there is another adult in your household who is not your partner and that person is on a low income then you may be entitled to a Council Tax Reduction (Second Adult Rebate) based on that adult's income. The maximum reduction is 25% of your Council Tax. As the Council Tax payer you need to make the application and provide evidence of their income.

Appeals

You can appeal against the council’s decision that you are liable for Council Tax, that a property should be exempt, that a discount should be granted or that the council has made a mistake calculating your entitlement to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. The appeal is heard by an independent Valuation Tribunal. If you wish to appeal on these grounds you must first notify the council in writing to enable us to have the opportunity to reconsider any decision. Making an appeal does not allow you to withhold payment of tax owing in the meantime. If your appeal is successful you will be refunded any overpayment.

Payment instalments

Council tax is usually paid in 10 instalments from April to January. If you wish to request 12 instalments then you need to email us at billing@southnorthants.gov.uk heading your email in the subject field "12 instalments". This may not be available if your account is in arrears.

Financial information

Budgetary information for South Northamptonshire Council can be found on this page. Hard copies of this information will be issued free of charge. For further details on how the policing part of your Council Tax is spent please see the Northants Police and Crime Commissioner website. For information on Northamptonshire County Council’s budget including adult social care please visit the county council website .

Adult Social Care

The Secretary of State made an offer to adult social care authorities. ("Adult social care authorities" are local authorities which have functions under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014, namely county councils in England, district councils for an area in England for which there is no county council, London borough councils, the Common Council of the City of London and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.)

The offer was the option of an adult social care authority being able to charge an additional “precept” on its council tax without holding a referendum, to assist the authority in meeting expenditure on adult social care from the financial year 2016-17. It was originally made in respect of the financial years up to and including 2019-20. If the Secretary of State chooses to renew this offer in respect of a particular financial year, this is subject to the approval of the House of Commons. These notes are for guidance and should not be regarded as a complete guide to the relevant regulations and statutes.

Please note that these notes comprise part of your council tax demand notice.