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Council Tax account information

Last updated 25 February 2014

Who has to pay Council Tax?

Only people aged 18 or over have to pay Council Tax. Where there is more than one person aged 18 or over resident in your home, the one with the most secure interest in it is responsible for paying Council Tax.

There is only one Council Tax bill for each property. A property is a house, flat, maisonette, or other domestic property that someone can live in.

The person living in the property with the greatest "legal right" to it is responsible for paying the Council Tax bill. Normally this would be the owner who lives there or the tenant.

To work out who is responsible for paying the Council Tax for your home, look down the list below. The list gives ‘categories of residence’ from 1 to 5.

If category ‘1’ applies to someone living in your home, that person is responsible for paying the council tax bill. If category ‘1’ does not apply, continue to look down the list until you come to a category that does apply to someone living in your property. If the category that you have reached applies to two or more people, then both of them or all of them are jointly responsible for paying the Council Tax bill.

Categories of residence

  • The owner of the property (who owns the ‘freehold’)
  • A person who owns the lease
  • A tenant (including a council tenant)
  • Someone who has a license to live in the property
  • Someone who just lives there
    If no adults live in the property as their main home, the owner or leaseholder of the property, is responsible for paying the council tax bill

Joint liability

If the category for your home applies to two or more people, these people are jointly responsible for paying the bill, even if the bill is addressed to only one of them.

For example, joint owners will be jointly responsible. It is important that you identify everyone responsible for paying the bill, because anyone responsible for paying can claim council tax support.

It will be up to the person named on the bill to collect any payments from anyone else living in the property who they consider should contribute towards the tax. If you have received a bill that does not show the names of everyone who is responsible, we can send you a revised bill confirming that they are responsible for paying the council tax.

Just write to us with proof that the other people are also liable, and we will arrange it. Married couples, Civil partners and couples who live together are also jointly responsible for the bill. This applies even if they are in different ‘categories of residence’ or if only one of their names appears on the bill.

The owner

  • If the owner of the property does not live there, he or she will be responsible for paying the bill if:
  • No adults live in the property as their main home; or
  • The property is let to more than one household, for example hostels, or buildings containing bedsits with people who share facilities; or
  • The property is a residential care home, nursing home or mental nursing home; or
  • The property is occupied by a religious community or ministers of religion; or if domestic service staff live in the property or
  • The property is occupied by asylum seekers

Disputing liability

If you are named on the council tax bill but you think that is wrong, please contact the Revenues and Benefits Service. Tell us why you think you are not responsible for paying the council tax, and enclose any proof. We will look into the matter, and write to tell you of our decision. Liability Appeals:

  • You can appeal if:
  • You think you are not responsible for paying the council tax
  • You have claimed a discount or exemption and this has not been awarded or has been refused
  • You think any item on your bill apart from council tax benefit has been worked out incorrectly
  • A claim for disability reduction has not been granted
  • You have to pay a penalty
  • If we have sent you a completion notice, and you do not agree with the date on it.

If you want to appeal about these matters, please email us at revenue.services@walthamforest.gov.uk and put "appeal" as well as your account reference in the subject field, or call us on 020 8496 3000 to speak to an advisor.

Moving home

If you move into or out of Waltham Forest, or if you change homes within Waltham Forest it is important that you let the Council Tax Section know. Complete one of our on-line forms to report your change of address

Important: reporting changes in circumstances

If your circumstances change after you have been granted a discount or exemption, it could affect your entitlement. These changes include, another adult over 18 moving in to your property, a child turning 18 or no longer in full time education. There are other changes that will affect your entitlement to a discount or exemption. If you are unsure please contact us on 020 8496 3000 today to find out more. You must tell us about any changes in circumstances that would affect your discount or exemption, within 21 days. To do this complete our online change in circumstance form

Take control of your Council Tax account on line (self service)

You can manage your Council Tax account on-line using our e-citizen service. The service is free and easy to use. To find our more select self service.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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