There are many responsibilities to keep track of when you first move into a student house: paying rent, sorting out bills, managing maintenance. One obligation you won’t want to forget to take into account is council tax. Council tax is an annual fee charged by your local authorities in order to cover the costs of the services they provide, such as bin collection, road works and public libraries. The amount you need to pay may vary depending on the value of the property.
However, if you’re a student, or if you meet certain requirements, you may not have to pay council tax. It’s always a good idea to check if you qualify, even if you’re mostly sure. Here’s a rundown of who has to pay.
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Do Students Have To Pay Council Tax?
Good news: full-time students do not have to pay council tax. You are considered a full-time student if your course involves at least 21 hours of study a week and lasts at least one year. Other exemptions include under-18s, those on certain apprentice schemes, student nurses, live-in carers, and those under 25 who receive funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
This also applies to diplomats, foreign language assistants, and those who are severely mentally impaired.
For those over 18 who do not meet any of these requirements, most likely you will have to pay council tax. However, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to receive a discount. For example, if everyone in your household is disregarded, you will receive a 50% discount on your bill. If everyone except you is disregarded, or if you live alone, you will receive a 25% discount.
What to do next
Even if you are exempt from paying council tax, you still have to take action to let your local council know about your status. For full-time students, your university should send you a council tax exemption letter, which you will then need to forward on to your local council.
If you are required to pay council tax, you can do so online once you register with your local council. The amount is normally paid in 10 monthly installments and is charged at the beginning of the financial year in April. It is possible to make adjustments to this, such as paying in 12 monthly installments instead of 10.