Council tax is something that most of us have to deal with – it’s a tax on the property we reside in, regardless of whether you rent a property or you’re a homeowner.
It’s a fee that’s charged by your local council for services such as emergency services and rubbish collection. You’ll usually pay your council tax in 10 monthly instalments, with two months of not paying.
However, not everyone is aware of the process when it comes to empty properties. Do you have to pay council tax on an empty property? Keep reading to find out, and to learn more about council tax exemptions.
Who is Exempt From Paying Council Tax?
The good news is that not everybody has to pay council tax – some people are disregarded in terms of council tax. This is the case for people under the age of 18 or 18 to 19-year-olds that are in full-time education, and people on certain apprenticeship schemes.
Those under the age of 25 that receive funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency are also disregarded from council tax, as well as student nurses. Full-time students at university and college are also exempt – and those who live with a student are eligible for a council tax discount.
Some more exemptions include those who are severely mentally impaired and those who are live in-carers (for those who aren’t partners, houses, or children). Your job role can also determine your eligibility for council tax – if you’re a foreign language assistant or a diplomat, you may not be required to pay council tax.
When a Property Is Unoccupied
There are many reasons why a property is left unoccupied – but the reasons for the property being left unoccupied ultimately determined whether council tax still needs to be paid or not.
If your property or a property you own is left unoccupied due to a bereavement, then council tax won’t usually need to be paid until six months following probate. If the property is left empty as the owner has moved into a residential home permanently, or if the person is receiving personal care somewhere else, then they won’t need to pay council tax.
Some other reasons why you may not need to pay council tax on an empty property is if you go to prison, if the property has been repossessed, or if the owner is a student.
In some cases, occupying a property is against the law – in this insurance, council tax won’t be required. The same applies if the property is an unoccupied annexe.
Tax and Unoccupied Properties
If none of the above applies to you, then you may still be eligible for a council tax discount if your property is unoccupied for short periods of time – for example, if your home is under renovation.
However, if your property remains unoccupied for two or more years, it will be classed as contributing to the national homes shortage. This means that you’ll be required to pay empty homes premium, which can double (or more) the standard council tax rate. This is a way to encourage property owners to bring the property back into use.
Homes that have been empty for 10 or more years may be charged a premium of up to 300% – four times the amount of standard council tax.
Over 480,00 homes in the UK are recorded as empty – and 69,000 of them are being charged extra council tax. More properties are becoming unoccupied, so more people are getting charged costly premiums.
At LJS, we can help with a variety of aspects of being a homeowner, such as property-related taxation and assessment. We can ensure that you’re paying the right amount of property tax on your property/ properties, taking a weight off your shoulders.
Landlords and property owners have plenty of financial aspects to consider, and may not realise that they’re not completely compliant. There’s a variety of legislation to bear in mind, and LJS can ensure that you’re on the right side of it.
If you’re looking for a quality Liverpool accountant’s service, you’re in the right place.