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Council Tax When Moving House: Everything You Need To Know

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

2nd May 2017 (Last updated on 15th Nov 2022) 7 minute read

Council tax is a tax paid to the local authority for local services such as schools and rubbish collection. Whether you rent or own your property, you need to pay council tax. How much council tax you pay will depend on where you live.

Moving house comes with a lot of planning and preparation. One of the most important jobs to do when buying a house is to inform the relevant people and organisations.
You will need to notify the Local Authority as soon as possible to register for council tax when you move. Below we look at the steps involved and what you can expect to pay.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What is Council Tax?
  2. How is Council Tax Calculated?
  3. How Much is Council Tax?
  4. Council Tax Bands in England
  5. Council Tax Bands in Wales
  6. Council Tax Bands in Scotland
  7. What Happens with Council Tax When Moving House?
  8. How to Cancel Your Current Council Tax When Moving
  9. When Do You Start Paying Council Tax After Moving In?
  10. Who Pays Council Tax?
  11. Challenge Your Council Tax Band
  12. Save on Your Move

What is Council Tax?

Council tax is a tax on residential property that your local council uses to pay for local services. These include schools, rubbish collection, roads, policing, fire services, maintenance and street lighting. Council Tax came into effect in 1993, replacing the unpopular Poll Tax. It is based on the market value of your home and with vary depending on your local council.

Whether you rent or own a home, the vast majority of people over 18 living in Britain will have to pay Council Tax. It's important to understand the costs involved and factor in Council Tax when planning the cost of moving house.

How is Council Tax Calculated?

Council Tax is calculated from the value of your home using valuation bands. There are 8 valuation bands in England and Scotland, ranging from A (the highest) to H. Wales has 9 valuation bands, ranging from A (the Highest) to I.

In England and Scotland, valuation bands are based on the price the property would have sold for on 1st April 1991. In Wales, it is what the property would have sold for in April 2003. The amount of council tax that you need to pay is decided by your local authority.

To calculate what you'll be paying, you'll need to work out the value of your home using a tool like a House Price Calculator. Next, find the specific Band costs on your Local Authority's website to see what you could be paying.

All homes are banded with the same guidelines and criteria. This includes homes bought under discount schemes such as ‘Right to Buy’. Any discount on the property will not be considered when setting the band.

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How Much is Council Tax?

Council Tax will vary between local councils and averages will depend on where in the UK you are moving to. Which band you are in will depend on the value of your home in 2003 in Wales and 1991 in England. Much like in England, all Council tax bands in Scotland are based on house prices as valued in 1991, though as a devolved issue the bands do differ in bracket and cost.

Below we have listed the average cost for each council tax band in England, Wales and Scotland.

Council Tax Bands in England

BandProperty Value (relative to 1991 price)Average Cost 2022-23*

A

up to £40,000

£1,311

B

£40,001 to £52,000

£1,530

C

£52,001 to £68,000

£1,749

D

£68,001 to £88,000

£1,966

E

£88,001 to £120,000

£2,382

F

£120,001 to £160,000

£2,841

G

£160,001 to £320,000

£3,277

H

more than £320,000

£3,933

*Costs worked out by applying ratio based on average cost of Band D

(Source: gov.uk)

Council Tax Bands in Wales

BandProperty Value (Relative to 2003 price)Average Cost 2022-23*

A

up to £44,000

£1,184

B

£44,001 to £65,000

£1,380

C

£65,001 to £91,000

£1,578

D

£91,001 to £123,000

£1,777

E

£123,001 to £162,000

£2,171

F

£162,001 to £223,000

£2,564

G

£223,001 to £324,000

£2,960

H

£324,001 to £424,000

£3,551

I

more than £424,001

£4,142

*Costs worked out by applying ratio based on average cost of Band D
(Source: gov.wales)

Council Tax Bands in Scotland

BandProperty Value (Relative to 1991 price)Average Cost 2022-23*

A

Under £27,000

£898

B

£27,001 to ££35,000

£1,048

C

£35,001 to £45,000

£1,198

D

£45,001 to £58,000

£1,347

E

£58,001 to £80,000

£1,770

F

£80,001 to £106,000

£2,189

G

£106,001 to £212,000

£2,638

H

£212,000 and over

£3,300

*Costs worked out by applying ratio based on average cost of Band D
(Source: gov.scot)

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What Happens with Council Tax When Moving House?

When you leave your current address, the local council will send you a final bill which will be taken as a monthly payment. Then you’ll get an annual bill for the property at your new address.

If you’re staying in the area and will be paying the same local authority then you can use the same direct debit arrangement. If you decide to live in a new area then you’ll need to set up a new account.

If you own your current home and it’s empty when you leave, you still have to pay a (reduced rate) council tax on it. If you are currently renting and leaving that home, you are no longer responsible for the council tax there. It’s good to be clued up on these things so you don’t pay something you shouldn’t or neglect to pay something you should.

Council Tax When Moving House

How to Cancel Your Current Council Tax When Moving

You will find a ‘change of address’ page on your Local Authority’s website. You’ll need to include the forwarding addresses for every adult on the property that pays council tax.

You’ll get a final bill for ht elocal council and you can apply for a refund if you’re in credit from your local authority. You’ll need to plan this in with plenty of time, as you don’t want to find yourself paying unnecessary tax for a home you aren’t living in anymore.

When Do You Start Paying Council Tax After Moving In?

Your council tax responsibilities start promptly from the day you move into your new address. If you’ve moved within the same local authority, your direct debit can continue at your new address.
Don’t wait for the ‘new occupier’ letter to come through the door after you have moved. You must register with the local council as soon as you move. If you wait, the council will backdate any required payments.

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Who Pays Council Tax?

Council Tax is something that the vast majority of homeowners and renters in Britain have to pay. This is the case whether you are buying or renting a home.

However, there are some circumstances where a property or person is exempt from paying Council Tax.

People or properties who are exempt from paying Council Tax include:

  • Full-time students
  • Individuals who are part of an apprentice scheme
  • Residents under 18 years of age
  • Those moving into Armed Forces accommodation
  • Homes that are unoccupied following the death of the owner

Reductions

If you like alone or are the only adult in the property, you can apply for a 25% reduction.

Council Tax costs are also means-tested for disabled residents, which can mean a discount. You can also apply for Council Tax reduction is you a receiving Universal Credit.

You can find out more about exemptions and any financial help available on your Local Authority's website

    Who pays council tax

    Challenge Your Council Tax Band

    It's possible that up to 400,000 homes in England and Scotland could be in the wrong council tax band. If you believe your property is in the wrong Council Tax band, you can challenge it.

    The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will assess a property during a council tax challenge or a review. They will usually provide a decision within two months. You'll need to access your property's Band on the Council Tax Valuation list if you're in England or Wales. In Scotland, you will need to access the Scotland Assessor Association website.
    You'll need to include addresses of similar properties in the same area with lower bands, in addition to evidence about the price and dates of sale.

    Save on Your Move

    We hope this guide has answered all the questions you could possibly have about Council Tax and moving house. If you need more information on the house moving process, check out our house removal tips.

    When the time comes to move house, remember to use Compare My Move to save up to 70% on your house removal costs. Fill in a quick and easy form, and we'll connect you with up to 6 professional removal companies in your area, to save you time and money when it matters most. Our removal partners come fully verified by us and reviewed by you, so you know you'll be in the safest possible hands on moving day.

    Zenyx Griffiths

    Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

    Dave Sayce

    Reviewed by Dave Sayce

    Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

    Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.

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