What is council tax?
Council tax is a charge, decided locally, which contributes towards services in your area. It applies to all non-business properties although some may be exempt depending on the circumstances.
- Who charges council tax?
- How do we calculate your council tax?
- Who should pay?
- How do we bill people?
- Where does your council tax go?
- What if I disagree with my bill?
Council tax is made up of several charges from different organisations but we are responsible for billing people and collecting it.
Depending on where you live, there is also a further charge from the local town or parish council, or the Charter Trustees if you're in the City of Durham area. They set their own charge and this will vary from area to area.
See information about your council tax bill for information on what your council tax bill is made up of.
See our council tax bands and how much you pay for information on how we work out your council tax bill.
Council tax must be paid on every property that is not exempt. Every council tax bill is addressed to the person or persons that we consider liable to pay it.
Who is liable to pay?
In most cases, over 18s living in the property who own or rent will be liable for council tax. If more than one person owns or leases the property, they will be equally responsible. The partner of someone is also jointly liable for council tax, whether or not they are married.
Owners and landlords
If no one lives in the property then the owner of the home will be liable. Owners and landlords are also responsible for properties that are specifically built for many people to live or stay in such as hostels, care homes and student accommodation.
One council tax bill is sent to the property and is addressed to everyone who is jointly liable. You need to arrange to split the bill between the people responsible. Where a bill is sent in joint names we cannot issue separate bills to each person or work out how much each should pay.
The council tax we receive pays towards all of our services, from emptying your bin to protecting vulnerable children. To find out more about the range of services we provide, see our About Us page.
Our make an appeal about council tax page tells you how to appeal if you think your bill has been calculated incorrectly or you think your property is in the wrong band.