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Council Tax charges and bands

How do you decide who is responsible for paying the Council Tax bill?
Council Tax regulations set out how to work out who is responsible for the Council Tax – see the document ‘Who has to pay Council Tax’ for details.
 
If you rent your home, or are a landlord, there is extra important information for you on the related page 'Rented properties and the Council Tax'. Or if you have a second home, see also the related page 'Second homes or properties and the Council Tax' . 
 
How is the amount of Council Tax payable worked out?
The amount of Council Tax you pay depends on:
  • the Council Tax band of your property;
  • the number of residents living in your property; and
  • whether you qualify for Council Tax Support (a means-tested benefit which helps to pay your Council Tax).

However, some properties are exempt from Council Tax so there is nothing to pay at all. See the two pages on exemptions in the related pages section. Also, please note that Council Tax law on empty properties changed from 1 April 2013 - see the related page 'Empty properties and the Council Tax' for more information.

I am new to Leeds, how do I register for Council Tax?
Please use the online form under Top Tasks - this will ensure you give us all the information we need to update our records.
 
Council Tax bands
The Council Tax bands are a range of property values, starting at A and going up to H.  Each domestic property (such as a house, flat or bungalow) is placed in a Council Tax band by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which is part of HM Revenues and Customs. However the bands are not based on today’s house prices, but on what the property might have sold for on 1st April 1991.

More information can be found in the document 'Bands and appeals against bands' or on the VOA's website (under External links). 
 
Where can I see all the Leeds Council Tax charges, broken down into bands?
See ‘Council Tax charges 2014 – 15’ or 'Council Tax charges 2013 - 14' in the documents section.
 
How does the number of residents affect your Council Tax?
The full Council Tax is payable if there are two or more residents in a property. A 'resident' is someone who has their sole or main residence in the property - see the related page 'How your sole or main residence affects your Council Tax' for more information.  If there is only one resident, a 25% 'single person discount' applies - to claim this please see the related page 'Single Person Discount'.

Some people are not counted when working out the number of residents (for example, full-time students), so a 25% or 50% discount may apply even if there are two or more residents.  See the download '’Work out number of residents’' and the related page ‘Council Tax discounts’ for more information.
 
Council Tax Support
This is a means-tested benefit to help you pay your Council Tax - see the related page ‘Council Tax Support’.
 
What if I think my bill is wrong or I’m not the person who should be charged?
You can email us using the form under 'Contact us' on this page - please include your account number and/or address.  But you may find it helpful to read the download ‘Appeals against Council Tax liability’ before you contact us.
 
I have moved - how do I tell you about my change of address?
Please use the online form under Top Tasks - this will ensure you give us all the information we need to update our records. You can also 'cancel' your Council Tax using this form if you have vacated the area and are no longer liable to pay in Leeds. 
 
How can I find out what my Council Tax pays for?
See the downloadable booklet 'Financial Information 2014-15' in the 'Documents' section of this page.
 
 

Can I appeal against my Council Tax band if I think it is too high?

Council Tax bands are not set by Leeds City Council. However, you can make a formal appeal in the following circumstances:
  • Within 6 months of becoming the council tax payer, as long as the previous payer did not appeal;
  • Where part of the property stops or starts being used for carrying out a business;
  • Where the band is changed by the Valuation Office;
  • Where there has been a ‘material reduction’ in the value of the property, for example, part of the property has been demolished, or the physical state of the local area has changed, or the property has been adapted for a person with a physical disability.
To appeal against your band you must write to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), not the council. Their address is: 

Valuation Office Agency
Council Tax (North)
Earle House,
Colonial Street,
Hull
HU2 8JN
Tel: 03000 501 501.

However, if the above circumstances do not apply, you can still ask the VOA to review your band if you feel a mistake was made when the property was originally banded.

Why do I pay more Council Tax than my neighbour/friend/relative?

​Because of the Data Protection Act, we cannot discuss someone else’s bill with you. However, there are a number of reasons why you may have different amounts to pay:

  • Your property’s band may be higher;
  • They may be receiving a discount or reduction for disabilities
  • They may have been granted Second Adult Rebate or Council Tax Support;
  • They may have moved in part way through the financial year so they are not paying for the full year.

Why has the Council decided to give no discount for empty properties?

The decision was made to encourage the owners of empty properties to bring them back into use as quickly as possible. It also recognises the financial difficulties the council faces in the coming year.

Can I appeal against Leeds City Council's decision not to give a discount for empty properties?

​No - the council is allowed by law to decide whether or not to give a discount for empty properties and you cannot appeal to the Valuation Tribunal about that decision. 

Why must I pay full Council Tax for an empty property when a sole occupier gets a 25% discount?

The 25% 'Single person discount' only applies to a property occupied by just one person. From 01.04.131 April 2013, councils can decide whether empty properties should get a discount and Leeds has decided not to give any discount for empty properties.​

Why do I have to pay full Council Tax when I am not using any/all of the council's services?

The amount of Council Tax payable is not affected by how many services a householder receives; it is a contribution towards the cost of all the council’s services, including Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, education, highways, street lighting, waste disposal, parks, sports centres, libraries etc., and also towards the police, fire and rescue services and public transport.

Why has the 2014-15 Council Tax gone up?

Since 2010, Leeds has made savings of around £200 million, and the 2014/15 budget assumes further savings of around £50 million.  This has not been easy to achieve and in order to protect essential services we have had to increase council tax for the first time in three years. 

The Leeds element of council tax has increased by 1.99%. However, council tax bills also include amounts (known as “precepts”) for the Police & Crime Commissioner and the Fire & Rescue Authority. The Police & Crime Commissioner has increased his council tax by 1.99% but the Fire & Rescue Authority have kept their council tax the same as last year. This makes the overall increase about 1.9% which in cash terms is £25.10 for a band D property - equivalent to 48 pence per week. For those living in areas with parish or town councils the overall increase may be slightly different, because many local precepts have also changed this year.

The 2014/15 financial year is the first year covered by the 2013 Spending Review which continues the Government’s deficit reduction programme and again presents significant financial challenges for the council. The budget that we have set is not just a response to these financial pressures, but also demonstrates how the council is recognising a new role for the authority, based around the developing concept of civic enterprise, but still firmly focused on countering disadvantage and inequality within the city.

The council is doing everything it can to continue to protect essential services and those for vulnerable people. In adult social care we have provided an extra £4.3 million to address increasing demand on services, and a further £1 million has been made available to support the delivery and implementation of major service changes, particularly frontline assessment and care management services.  We are also investing £7 million in children’s services - £4.5 million for children in care, alongside work to avoid them having to be looked after in the first place, and £2.5 million for children’s support services. Customer Services are also receiving an additional £200,000 to deal with the increasing numbers of calls to the council tax and benefit advice lines.

These increases are, however, small compared to the scale of savings we need to achieve.  We are reducing our staffing budget by £5.6 million in 2014/15, and have identified £5.4 million of procurement savings in 2014/15 on top of the £25 million already saved in this area over the last three years. A further roll-out of alternate weekly bin collections will save £1.2 million in 2014/15 by increasing recycling and reducing the landfill tax we have to pay.

Council Taxes for local authorities vary widely, but the Council Tax for Leeds remains one of the lowest of all the comparable major cities and metropolitan district councils and is well below the average for England.