Council tax demand notice explanatory notes 2018-19

The following notes form part of your council tax demand and should be read carefully.

Council Tax Valuation Bands

Council Tax is charged on most homes. It does not matter whether the home is rented or owned, or whether it is lived in or not. Each home is placed in one of eight valuation bands by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) based on the amount it would have sold for on 1 April 1991. Your property’s band is shown on the front of your bill. More information on valuation bands is available at www.voa.gov.uk

You may be able to appeal against the valuation band if - You have become liable for the Council Tax for the property within the last six months; or, there has been a change in the building, or physical state of the local area, which could affect the value of your home. For more information, contact the Listing Officer at - Manchester Valuation Office, Manchester One, 53 Portland Street, Manchester, M1 3LD.  Telephone 03000 501501 or visit www.voa.gov.uk

You must continue to pay your Council Tax in full pending any appeal decision.

Discounts and Status Discount Disregards

The full Council Tax charge assumes two adults are living in the property. If only one adult lives in a property, a Single Person Discount of 25% may be awarded. This discount is not based on your income. When considering the number of adults living in a property, we do not count certain people. These are known as discount disregards and include:

  • Full-time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth-training trainees;
  • Patients living in hospital;
  • People who are being looked after in care homes;
  • People who are severely mentally impaired;
  • People staying in certain hostels or night shelters;
  • 18 and 19 year olds who are at, or have just left, school;
  • Care workers working for low pay, usually for charities;
  • People caring for someone with a disability who is not their husband or wife, partner or child under 18;
  • Members of visiting forces and certain international institutions;
  • Foreign diplomats and certain members of international organisations;
  • Members of religious communities (for example, monks and nuns);
  • People in prison (except those in prison for not paying their Council Tax or a fine).

Annexes – from 1 April 2014 a 50% reduction in the amount of Council Tax payable is available for people living in annexes provided they are related to the person liable to pay the Council Tax of the main dwelling (or the person who would be so liable were it not for an exemption or 100% discount or reduction).  This reduction is also available for people living in dwellings with annexes which are unoccupied, provided they are using those annexes as part of their main residence. 

Vacant Properties (Unoccupied and Unfurnished)

  • For unoccupied and unfurnished properties, a discount of 100% is available for one calendar month from the date that the property first became unoccupied and unfurnished. After this date, the full Council Tax charge becomes due; 
  • Properties that require major repairs will be charged at the full Council Tax level from the date they become vacant;
  • Properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished in excess of 2 years will be subject to an additional premium charge of 50%. You must notify us within 21 days if you believe that the premium charge does not apply. If you do not do this, you may be required to pay a penalty.

Second Homes and Unoccupied Furnished Property

If a property is not anyone’s main home, the owner will be charged the full Council Tax. This applies to unoccupied properties (which are substantially furnished) and second homes (furnished properties that are not used as main residences). Second homes could have their council tax reduced by 50%, in the following situations:

  • The council tax payer is required to live elsewhere in job-related accommodation because of the terms and conditions of their employment, for example, a caretaker, minister of religion or a member of the armed services. (This does not apply to a second home that you are renting because living there is convenient for work);
  • The second home is a pitch occupied by a caravan or a mooring occupied by a boat;
  • A planning restriction on the second home prevents occupancy for a continuous period of at least 28 days in a year.

Property Exempt from Council Tax

Council Tax is not charged on properties which fall under certain classes of exemption. The list below provides a general description of the most common exemptions but for a full list and detailed descriptions go to www.knowsley.gov.uk/residents/council-tax

  • The property is unoccupied (furnished or unfurnished), was last occupied by, and is owned by, a charity (exempt for up to six months);
  • The property is unoccupied (can be furnished) because the liable person is in prison;
  • The property is unoccupied (can be furnished) because the liable person is a permanent patient in a hospital, or a care home, or is receiving care elsewhere;
  • The property is unoccupied (can be furnished) because the liable person has died and probate or letters of administration have not yet been granted. The exemption may continue for up to six months after probate or letters of administration have been granted, as long as the property remains unoccupied and has not been sold or transferred to someone else (including a beneficiary);
  • The property is unoccupied (can be furnished) because the liable person is caring for someone elsewhere;
  • The property is unoccupied (can be furnished) because it has been repossessed;
  • The property is lived in only by students or by people who are under 18;
  • The property is lived in only by people who are severely mentally impaired.

Claims for unoccupied property exemptions or discounts must be made at the time the property becomes unoccupied so that we can verify the claim.

If your bill shows that you have an exemption or discount, you must tell us about any change in circumstance that affects your entitlement within 21 days. If you do not do this, you may be required to pay a penalty.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme

If you, or your partner, are on a low income, you may be entitled to a reduction in the amount of Council Tax that you need to pay.  The amount of reduction will depend on your Council Tax liability, your income and savings, the size of your household and your household’s income and savings. For more information, and to make an application, visit www.knowsley.gov.uk/residents/council-tax If you are receiving council tax reduction, you must tell us immediately, in writing, about any changes in your circumstances which might affect your entitlement. This could include changes to your income, changes to the people living in your household or changes to their income.  You must tell us within one calendar month of the change.

The Council also has discretionary powers to reduce liability for Council Tax in relation to individual cases, or class(es) of cases, that it may determine and where national discounts and exemptions cannot be applied.  This power will generally only be used in exceptional circumstances.  Visit www.knowsley.gov.uk/residents/council-tax for more information.

People with Disabilities

If you, or someone who lives with you, needs a room, an additional kitchen or bathroom, or extra space to meet special needs arising from a disability, you may be entitled to a reduced Council Tax charge.  The charge may be reduced to that of a property in the band immediately below the band for your property shown on the valuation list.  For more information, or to apply for a disabled reduction, visit www.knowsley.gov.uk/residents/council-tax

Appeals against your Council Tax Liability

You can appeal if you consider that you are not liable to pay the bill issued to you because you are not the resident or the owner, or because you believe the property is exempt, or because you believe a mistake has been made in calculating your bill.  This appeal should be made in writing to the Council Tax Service, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Municipal Buildings, Archway Road, Huyton, L36 9YU.

You must continue to pay Council Tax while your appeal is being considered.

Adult Social Care

For adult social care authorities, council tax demand notices show two percentage changes: one for the part of the overall change attributable to the adult social care precept, and one for the part attributable to general expenditure.

Information Supplied with Demand Notices

Additional information about Council Tax, including details of the budget for the Council, Precepting authorities (including Parish Councils) and levying bodies, is available at www.knowsley.gov.uk/residents/council-tax If you wish to receive this information in hard copy or other format, this can be made available free of charge, on request, by writing to the Council Tax Service or telephoning 0151 443 4476.