Council Tax - Explained
Important: please familiarise yourself with the content on the following pages for all the latest on how Coronavirus is affecting Council Tax and Business Rates
Your Council Tax pays for essential services in your community such as schools, libraries, police, fire brigade and rubbish collection.
Council tax is a charge on all residential properties in England. One council tax bill is sent to each property no matter how many people live there.
Your bill is made up of charges set by
- Arun District Council - 2020-21 Council Tax financial information.pdf [pdf] 143KB
- West Sussex County Council - WSCC info about how your council tax is spent
- Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner - SPCC Precept Insert 2020.pdf [pdf] 657KB or visit the Sussex Police website
- Town and Parish Councils - Town and Parish Councils
Arun’s share of the bill is about 10% of the overall charge. If you want to find about more about how your council tax is spent please click on the links above.
Explanatory Notes for Council Tax - These form part of your annual demand
Please see the following document: Council Tax Information 2020-21.pdf [pdf] 178KB
Who Should Pay Council Tax
The person who has to pay is called the “liable person”. The liable person is normally the person or persons who reside in the dwelling as their sole or main home and who fit the description nearest the top of the following list:
- Residents who have a freehold interest in the property i.e. owner occupiers
- Residents who have a leasehold interest in the property i.e. lease holders
- Residents who are statutory or secure tenants i.e. rent payers
- Residents who have a contractual licence to occupy the property e.g. occupants of tied cottages
- Residents with no legal interest in the property
- Non-resident owners
The term ‘resident’ in this context refers to anyone over the age of 18 years who lives in the dwelling as their main or only home. You cannot have more than one main home for council tax purposes. When determining whether a property is a person’s main residence, factors such as the amount of time spent there and whether it is their family home are considered. People living with a partner are jointly and severally liable, even if only one of them meets the liability rules.
There are some cases where the owner, not the resident, is liable for the bill. This would apply for:
- Residential care homes, nursing homes or hostels
- Houses of multiple occupation. e.g. a house shared by a number of different households who all pay rent separately
- Properties inhabited by religious communities (monasteries or convents)
- Properties occupied by resident or domestic staff
- Properties used by ministers of religion
- Dwellings occupied solely by asylum seekers
If the property is unoccupied, the owner is liable.
The term 'owner' in this context refers to any person who has a freehold or leasehold (material) interest in the whole or any part of a dwelling which was granted for a period of 6 months or more.
If you think you should not be liable for council tax, have been refused a discount or exemption to which you think you are entitled, you have the right of appeal. You should write to us in the first instance to the Council Tax Department at the address at the bottom of this page. If you are unable to resolve your dispute directly with the council, you should contact the Valuation Tribunal.
Most domestic properties are subject to Council Tax. There is one bill per property, whether it is owned or rented. Each property is allocated to one of eight bands according to its open market capital value as at 1 April 1991. The bands are as follows:
- Band A - Up to and including £40,000
- Band B - £40,001 - £52,000
- Band C - £52,001 - £68,000
- Band D - £68,001 - £88,000
- Band E - £88,001 - £120,000
- Band F - £120,001 - £160,000
- Band G - £160,001 - £320,000
- Band H - Over £320,000
Your Council Tax bill will normally be divided into 10 monthly instalments, but you can choose one of the following options if you prefer:
• Two equal payments in April and October
• One lump sum in June
• 12 monthly instalments rather than 10 (Request to extend payments )