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Council Tax Bands Explained: How are council tax bands calculated?

Fiona Leake
Fiona Leake
  | Edited by Tom Church
Updated 24th February 2021

Confused about the different council tax bands? Our guide helps you find out what council tax band you’re in and whether you’re paying too much council tax. Discover how council tax is worked out and what the government spends it on.

What is council tax?

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Council tax is an annual fee that all homeowners and renters must pay. Normally, this annual fee is split between ten monthly payments. Council tax goes towards your local council for the services it provides.

How much council tax you pay depends on what band you’re in. Everything you need to know about council tax bands is explained in this guide! 

What does council tax pay for?

Council tax is spent on the local services your council provides. This includes:

  • Police, fire and rescue services.
  • Public transport services. 
  • Recycling and bin collection. 
  • Leisure and recreation projects - improving parks and public spaces.
  • Transport and highway services - road maintenance.

Council tax doesn’t pay for any health services. 

How much does council tax cost?

On average, council tax costs around £1,300 a year. This depends on where you live, what band you’re in and your circumstances. 

As you can see, council tax can make up a significant part of your monthly bills. So, it’s important to understand the different bands, especially when choosing a property to buy or rent.

What are council tax bands?

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Council tax is split into bands, depending on the type of property you live in. The council tax band you’re in determines how much council tax you’ll pay each year. 

Band A is the cheapest council tax and Band H the most expensive.

For properties in England, your council tax band is determined by your properties value on the 1st April 1991:

Council Tax Band - EnglandProperty Valuation (1991)Average annual council tax bill
AUp to £40,000£1,114
B£40,001 - £52,000£1,300
C£52,001 - £68,000£1,486
D£68,001 - £88,000£1,671
E£88,001 - £120,000£2,043
F£120,001 - £160,000£2,414
G£160,001 - £320,000£2,786
H£320,001 +£3,343

For properties in Wales, your council tax band is determined by your properties value on the 1st April 2003:

Council Tax Band - WalesProperty Valuation (2003)Average annual council tax bill
AUp to £44,000£1,111
B£44,001 - £65,000£1,296
C£65,001 - £91,000£1,481
D£91,001 - £123,000£1,667
E£123,001 - £162,000£2,037
F£162,001 - £223,000£2,407
G£223,001 - £324,000£2,778
H£324,001 - £424,000£3,334
I£424,001 +£3,889

For properties in Scotland, your council tax band is determined by your properties value on the 1st April 1991:

Council Tax Band - ScotlandProperty Valuation (1991)Average annual council tax bill
AUp to £27,000£1,134
B£27,001 - £35,000£1,323
C£35,001 - £45,000£1,512
D£45,001 - £58,000£1,702
E£58,001 - £80,000£2,195
F£80,001 - £106,000£2,684
G£106,001 - £212,000£3,202
H£212,001 +£3,968

Northern Ireland has a different system of council tax which is called ‘domestic rates’. Domestic rates use the estimated value of your property on the 1st January 2005. 

The domestic rate of your home is multiplied by a ‘domestic rate poundage’. These vary between local authorities.

How do I find out my council tax band?

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You can find out how much council tax you have to pay by heading to your relevant government website and finding your local authority:

  • England – GOV.UK - type in your postcode and you’ll be shown a link for your local authority. You’ll then find a council tax section where you can find out your band, pay your council tax bill online and find information about help with council tax.
  • Scotland – Scottish Government - click on your local authority and it’ll take you to their website. You can then find the council tax section to pay your council tax and find out your band.
  • Wales – Welsh Government Association - type in your postcode and you’ll be shown a link for your local authority. You’ll then find a council tax section where you can find out your band, pay your council tax bill online and find information about help with council tax.

The value and location of your home will affect how much council tax you pay each year and what band you fall in.

Am I in the right council tax band?

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Many people are in the wrong council tax band due to the method in which bands were originally allocated back in 1991. Due to the sheer number of properties that needed to be evaluated, some properties have been allocated the wrong band. As a result, sometimes your neighbour might be in a different band to you, even if you live in the exact same house! 

On top of this, if there have been changes to your property, for example, it’s been turned into flats, you might be in the wrong band. 

Can I change my council tax band?

You can try to change your council tax band by requesting a revaluation from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). However, this could result in a higher council tax band if the evaluation is higher.

Read our guide on Council Tax Rebanding for more information on challenging your band.

How council tax bands are calculated

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Council tax bands are calculated based on a properties value at a specific point in time. For example, in England, this specific time is the 1st April 1991. 

If you don’t think your property’s band is correct, you can dispute it and request a revaluation.

According to the GOV.uk website,  the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) assesses properties that have been made smaller and newly built properties. The VOA also assesses properties when requested to do so. For example, if you request a council tax band review. 

VOA council tax band assessments are based on several different factors, including the properties:

  • Size
  • Layout
  • Character
  • Location
  • Change in use
  • Value on 1 April 1991 (England)

How is a new property given a council tax band?

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When a property is newly built, it’ll need to be allocated a council tax band by the VOA. They’ll carry out an assessment based on the factors mentioned above.

If you move into a newly built property that doesn’t have a council tax band, you must contact your local council. The VOA will then be given the information they need to allocate a band. 

If this information isn’t sufficient, the VOA will arrange a visit to the property but they can usually get all the information they need just from standing outside. 

Internal inspections can only be carried out with your consent thanks to the government’s powers of entry code of practice.

When will council tax bands be reviewed?

Council tax bands won’t be reviewed unless you request that the VOA visit your property and reevaluate your band. We discuss how to change your band in this guide.

However, the overall cost of council tax does tend to rise year-on-year. In April 2021, council tax bills could rise as much as 5%. This rise affects all council tax bands.

FAQs

What do you think of this?
JanetSargeant
JanetSargeant11 days ago

All well and good but how do find property price for 1991

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Irene63
Irene6311 days ago

Council tax banding is unfair. We're all paying for the same services so every property should pay the same.

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