About Council Tax
Council Tax is a locally set tax that is payable on all domestic properties. In most cases there will be one bill per property, whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile home or houseboat, and whether it is owned or rented. Some properties will be exempt from Council Tax.
How much will you pay?
Council Tax is related to the valuation of your property. Each property has been valued and placed in one of eight Council Tax Valuation Bands by the Valuation Office Agency.
The valuation band determines how much Council Tax you pay. The bands are based on the property value on 1 April 1991.
Valuation Band for your Property
You can find out the Valuation Band of a property from the Valuation Office website.
Council Tax Bands and additional payments
Council Tax Bands and Additional Payments
|Band||Property Value |
|Total Council Tax Payable -|
Excluding Parish Charge 2016-17
|| £40,000 or less
|| £40,001 to £52,000
|| £52,001 to £68,000
|| £68,001 to £88,000
|| £88,001 to £120,000
|| £120,001 to £160,000
|| £160,001 to £320,000
|| £320,001 and over
Council Tax is made up of Council, Fire and Police charges. If you live in an area where there is a Parish/Town Council, they need money to provide additional services within the parish/town. The Council collects this money on their behalf through the Council Tax and the amount will be shown on your bill, but the Parish/Town Council decides how much it needs.
Improvements to Your Property
When alterations or extensions are carried out to a property, the Council will inform the Valuation Office Agency. These details are kept on their records but are not taken into account for the current valuation band until either a change of ownership occurs for the property in question, or until the next revaluation of all domestic properties.
How do we work out how much you pay?
The elected representatives of Cheshire East Council, Cheshire Police Authority, Cheshire Fire Authority and Local Parishes, will work out how much they need to spend in the year to maintain the services they are responsible for.
The Government will also calculate how much funding they will provide from national taxation and from Non-Domestic Rates (Business Rates). The difference between the spending plans of the different local authorities and the amount of central funding is the amount that we will collect locally.
For more information you can visit the following websites or download the information leaflets:-
Officers at Cheshire East Council then work out how much will need to be paid by each liable person and send you a Council Tax bill.
Further information about how much you pay is available in the Frequently Asked Questions below.
Who Pays It?
The occupier of a property usually pays it. If nobody lives in a property the owner will be responsible. The person responsible for paying Council Tax is often referred to as the 'Liable Person'. Liability to pay Council Tax is determined on a daily basis.
Hierarchy of Liability
In order to establish who should be liable for the payment of Council Tax, the Local Government Finance Act 1992 confirms a hierarchy of liability in England:
- A resident of the dwelling with a freehold interest (e.g. owner occupier)
- A resident and has a leasehold interest not inferior to any other held by another resident (e.g. tenant)
- A resident who is a statutory or secure tenant
- A resident who has a contractual licence (not a tenant, but has permission to stay there)
- A resident (e.g. squatter)
- The owner of the dwelling (this applies where the dwelling has no residents)
There are some properties where the owner, rather than the residents, will be responsible for payment. The hierarchy does not apply to these properties. These properties are:
- Houses in multiple occupation, that is where the residents do not form a single household and pay their rent separately for different parts of the property. The tenants will usually have separate tenancy agreements.
- Residential care or nursing homes, and some types of hostels which provide care
- Homes occupied by Religious communities
- Homes which are occasionally occupied by the owner and whose domestic staff are also resident
- Properties occupied by ministers of religion, as a residence from which the minister's duties of office are carried out
- Properties provided to asylum seekers
Sole or Main Residence
A resident is an individual who has reached the age of 18 and has their sole or main residence in the dwelling. General principles to define a persons sole or main residence are:
- Residence implies a degree of permanence
- Temporary presence at any address does not make a person resident there
- Temporary absence does not deprive a person of residence
Joint and Several Liability
Where there are several people liable to pay the Council Tax for a property each person is responsible for the full amount. Any arrangements about who pays what percentage of the bill are between the payers themselves.
For example three joint tenants of a property may agree between themselves that each will pay one third of the bill. If two tenants make their payments but the third doesn't, the reminder will be issued in the name of all three tenants and any further action can be taken against all or any one of the three tenants.
A person is not under a duty to pay an amount of Council Tax for which they are jointly and severally liable unless they have been sent a bill. It is usual for the bill to be in joint names for example Mr and Mrs X or Mr A, Mr B and Miss C.
Summonses and notice of Liability Orders are sent to each named person on an account.
Your Council Tax bill
The bill will show you the following information:
- The Annual Charge, based on the appropriate banding and relevant precepts
- The proportion of the Annual Charge that you must pay, taking into account the following:
- Eligible discounts/disregards/exemptions/disabled reductions
- Any Council Tax Support
- Any balances or credits brought forward from other years
- The method of payment
- Your instalment amounts and dates of payment
Ordinarily you will be sent only one bill each financial year. The bill will usually show the balance outstanding to the end of the financial year (31st March). The assumption being that the circumstances described on the bill will not change.
To view your account information online and have access to PDF copies of your bills sign up to our Citizen's Account service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How is Council Tax set?
A.Local Authorities (including local parishes) and major precepting authorities (Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire and the Cheshire Fire Authority) are responsible for setting Council Tax levels in consideration of their budget requirement for the year.
The Council decides the total amount of Council Tax needed and legislation dictates how that amount is divided proportionately between individual properties, which are placed in one of eight bands, from A to H, depending on their value as at 1st April 1991. Liability will depend on which band your property is in, subject to reductions for discounts/exemptions or Council Tax Support.
Q. Why are there so many different elements on my Council Tax bill?
A. The Council acts as a collection agent for:
- Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire (Cheshire Police Authority)
- Cheshire Fire Authority
- Local Parish/Town Councils
These bodies set their own budgets and we bill and collect Council Tax on their behalf in addition to the Council Tax for services provided by Cheshire East Council.
Q. Where can I find out more about the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire's budget?
A. For more information, call 01244 614109 or visit the Cheshire Police Authority website.
Q. Where can I find out more about Cheshire Fire and Rescue Authority's budget?
A. For more information, call 01606 868484 or visit the Cheshire Fire & Rescue website.
Q. How can I find out the Valuation Band of a Property?
A. The Valuation Office Agency is responsible for valuing and placing properties into one of the eight Council Tax valuation bands, which are based on the open market value at 1st April 1991. You can find out the Valuation Band of a property from the Valuation Office website.
Q. How much Council Tax will I have to pay?
A. In order to determine how much you will pay you will need to know what the Valuation Band of your property is, and the Parish area of Cheshire East your property is in to determine your Annual Charge.
Q. What is the Parish/Town Charge for?
A. Each Parish/Town Council tells the Council how much to collect to enable them to provide their services (such as allotments, footpath lighting, local planning issues), and the Council collects this on their behalf and forwards it to them.
Q. Why do I have to pay the full amount of Council Tax when I don’t use half the services i.e. no street lights on my road / I live on a private road / I have no children / My children aren’t of school age / I don’t use the library, etc?
A. Council services affect all our lives regardless of where we live and what facilities are in our actual street. Example of Council Services.
Council Tax is not a direct payment for services. Charges are based on the size and value of your property, rather than your individual circumstances.
Q. How can I get help with my Council Tax bill?
A. You may be entitled to Council Tax Support or qualify for a status discount or an exemption from Council Tax. For further information visit our reductions web pages.
Q. Why have I been asked to pay a Council Tax premium for my empty property?
A. Cheshire East Council has made the decision to charge a maximum premium of 50% following additional legislation changes to levy an Empty Homes Premium. This will result in properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 years or more being subject to a 150% Council Tax charge.
Q. I'm a pensioner on Full Council Tax Support, so why have I been sent a bill?
A. If you have been awarded 100% Council Tax Support, your bill will show a nil balance. The bill is for your information only and the Council has a legal duty to send it to you, even if you have nothing to pay. You have a right to see how the Council Tax is being spent and how much it is.
Q. If I install Solar Panels on my property, will I need to pay Non-Domestic Rates (Business Rates) for them?
A. Domestic scale solar photovoltaic installations (capacity limit of 10kW) on domestic properties under the paramount control of a third party provider will be treated as part of those properties, and therefore not be liable to non-domestic rates.