Toggle menu

Wheelie bins

Latest updates on rollout of wheelie bins for refuse in Lewes district

Who has to pay Council Tax?


Do you have to pay Council Tax?

There are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding UK Council Tax legality. However, in the UK, statutory liability for Council Tax attaches under the Local Government Finance Act 1992. It therefore depends neither on a person's consent, nor on the existence of any contract with the Council. Consequently, any assertion that a person is required to consent or to enter into a contract with the Council to attract liability for Council Tax has no legal basis, and is incorrect at law.

Find out more about the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

If, as a liable person, you choose not to pay your Council Tax charge, this will go through the stages of our recovery process, which you can find out about here: What happens if I can't pay my Council Tax?

Council Tax goes towards funding a number of essential services, and nine out of ten people who can afford to pay on time choose to do so.

You can find out more about what your Council Tax goes towards on the Your Council Tax explained page of our website.

Understanding Council Tax liability

Liability to pay Council Tax normally falls to one or more adults who are solely or mainly resident in a property. When there is more than one resident in your household, use the following list to help you work out who the liable person is. The first type of resident that fits with your household is the liable person:

  • Resident freeholder (for owner-occupied property, the owner will be liable)
  • Resident leaseholder
  • Resident statutory/secure tenant
  • Resident licensee
  • Resident

Husbands and wives, unmarried couples or civil partners living together are both responsible for paying the bill. People who are joint owners or joint tenants are also jointly liable, whether or not they are actually shown on the bill. Where there is no resident in the property then the owner is liable. The owner is also liable, instead of the residents, for certain prescribed classes of dwellings as follows:

Class A - residential care homes, nursing homes and some hostels

Class B - properties lived in by religious communities (such as monasteries and convents)

Class C - properties occupied by more than one household where the residents share certain facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom

Class D - properties which are not the owner's main home, but which are the main home of someone whom the owner employs in domestic service

Class E - properties lived in by ministers of religion

Class F - properties provided to an asylum seeker under Section 95 of Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Go to Citizen's Advice Council Tax page to find out more about who is liable to pay council tax.