When it comes to council tax, we all know it’s something we have to pay, but we’re never really sure what it is that we are exactly paying for. The amount you pay is based on your property’s valuation, your personal circumstances and your council needs; these factors determine which council tax band you are in. It’s helpful to understand what council tax pays for and how it is calculated in order to make sure you are paying the right amount, and see where your money goes.
Where the money goes
Council tax covers a variety of services in your area that you could not do without, yet often take for granted. The services it pays for are as follows:
- Emergency services – police and fire services. Police and Fire services do get funding from other areas, but council tax does go towards the running costs of these emergency services.
- Keeping your streets clean and removing your rubbish waste – This is a very important service, there would be a big issue if our streets were in poor condition and our rubbish was not removed, it could lead to poor health and disease.
- Maintaining your water supply and ensuring your sewerage is cleared correctly- you most certainly know about it if you have no water supply, this a service we could not live without.
- Keeping your local library running - Your local library is such a wonderful free service, not only can you go there to borrow books, but you can use their computers and they often put on social classes like rhyme time for children and knit and natter for grown-ups.
- Making sure that your parks and public spaces are kept to a good standard - it’s important that they are safe and good condition.
- Ensuring social services programs in tact - an important part for the welfare of local people.
- Boosting educational services like after school clubs and youth services.
- Providing council housing for those in need.
- Lighting our streets, as well as repairing them and bridges- roads need to be safe and in good condition.
- Community projects to help with the growth of communities.
- Administration and record keeping at your local council offices- one not often thought about but is an essential part of managing your community.
How to pay for council tax?
When moving into a property as well as changing your address with absolutely everyone, you must let your local council know that you have moved into that address so that you can register for council tax.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to pay council tax online, although you can call them directly, pay at the post office or set up a direct debit if you prefer. Council tax is usually paid as an annual payment, although many choose to pay it either monthly or weekly, whatever is easier for you.
Council Tax reductions
Some people are eligible for council tax reductions. As your personal circumstances have an effect on what you pay, reductions come into place if you live on your own or no one in the house qualifies as an adult. Full council tax exemptions go to house where all occupants are full time students.
Still want to know more about council tax? Citizens Advice provides a useful guide, where you can find out everything there is to know about council tax. Click here for more information.