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Council tax

We collect council tax to pay for services to the people of Herefordshire. Council tax also helps to fund the police, fire authority and your town or parish council.

You can contact us regarding council tax in the following ways:

You can also manage your account online.

You can pay your council tax online

Who has to pay council tax?

There is one council tax bill per dwelling, whether it is a house, bungalow, flat or mobile home, and whether it is owned or rented.

The person liable to pay council tax is established by identifying which of categories below is the first to apply, starting at the top of the list:

  • A resident freeholder (owner) 
  • A resident leaseholder 
  • A resident statutory or secure tenant 
  • A resident licensee 
  • A resident who is not included in any of the above 

If there are no residents, the owner is responsible for the bill.

What is my council tax band and charge?

The council tax banding of your property is based on how much the property was estimated to be worth on the open market on 1 April 1991. If your property was built later than this, the Valuation Office works out the band based on what its value would have been on that date. Council tax is not based on recent sale prices.

Depending on its value, we then assign the property one of eight council tax bands shown in the table below. 

The table shows the bands for England, together with the charge factor for each band. For example, a property in band A would pay two thirds (6/9ths) of the amount of a property in band D (9/9ths).

BandRange of ValuesCharge Factor
A Up to £40,000 6/9
B £40,001 to £52,000 7/9
C £52,001 to £68,000 8/9
D £68,001 to £88,000 9/9
E £88,001 to £120,000 11/9
F £120,001 to £160,000 13/9
G £160,001 to £320,000 15/9
H over £320,000 18/9

What does my council tax pay for?

Your council tax helps pay for the services provided by Herefordshire Council. 

The table below shows how the amount you pay is shared between different bodies for 2013/14:

  A
£
B
£
C
£
D
£
E
£
F
£
G
£
H
£
Herefordshire Council 818.66 955.10 1091.55 1227.99 1500.88 1773.76 2046.65 2455.98
West Mercia Police Authority 119.15 139.00 158.86 178.72 218.44 258.15 297.87 357.44
Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Authority 49.10 57.27 65.46 73.64 90.00 106.38 122.73 147.28
Parish Council 27.59 32.19 36.79 41.39 50.59 59.79 68.98 82.78
Total payable 1014.50 1183.56 1352.66 1521.74 1859.91 2198.08 2536.23 3043.48

Each parish council charges a different amount. The amount charged  depends on the amount of money that is needed to be raised to pay for budgeted spending for the year. The above are the figures for Hereford City Council.

View a table showing the full list of charges by band for each parish

To check a property's council tax band, visit the Valuation Office website.

How do I pay my council tax?

There are various ways you can pay your council tax.

When we issue an annual bill to you in March, you can pay your council tax in ten monthly instalments over the financial year, which runs from 1 April to 31 March. Instalments are due on the 10th of each month, unless you pay by direct debit where a choice of payment dates is offered (see below) or if you pay over 12 instalments (also see below).

If you move house, the number of instalments on your new bill will reflect the full months left in the financial year less one.

If you pay late, we will remind you about your bill. If you repeatedly fail to pay on time, we may stop your right to pay by instalments.

Pay over 12 instalments

You can now opt to pay your Council Tax over 12 instalments from April to March. Applications to pay by 12 instalments must be received by the 5th April 2013. Depending on when applications are received, payments (other than direct debit) will be due on the 15th or the 26th of the month. However, if you pay by direct debit you have a choice of 4 payment dates (see below). Please apply in writing to the Council Tax Section, P.O. Box 224, Hereford HR1 2XW or by email to counciltax@herefordshire.gov.uk

Paying by direct debit

This is the easiest way to pay. You can pay on the 1st, 10th, 15th or 26th of each month – whatever suits you best.

Once it is set up, payments are taken automatically from your bank account. This is the cheapest collection method and helps to reduce the cost of administering the council tax. There is no need to renew your direct debit instruction each year after it has been set up. 

To set up a direct debit payment you can contact us on 01432 260360, download an instruction, or visit one of our customer service centres.

We will tell you in advance if there are changes to your monthly payments, and you can cancel your direct debit at any time.

If we make a mistake, we guarantee an immediate refund on any payment which breaks the direct debit guarantee.

Pay online using a debit card

You can use your debit card to pay with our online payments service.

Pay by telephone using a debit card

You can pay us at any time on our 24-hour payment line, by calling Allpay on 0844 557 8321. Please quote the 19-digit number on the front of your bill – it is beneath the bar code.

Pay at the Post Office

You can pay at any Post Office free of charge. Find your nearest Post Office.

Please take your bill with you, so that the Post Office can scan the barcode.

Pay with PayPoint

You can pay free of charge anywhere that you see the PayPoint sign. Please take your bill with you, so that they can scan the barcode.

What if I have problems paying my council tax?

If you are having problems paying your council tax, you must contact us as soon as possible:

If you do not let us know that you are having difficulty in making payments, you may incur more costs and charges at a later stage.

We can check if you are entitled to any discounts or, if you are on a low income, whether you should apply for council tax reduction. 

If you are in financial hardship, we may let you pay over 12 instalments rather than 10.

If you have a low income, you may be entitled to claim benefits.

Use our online calculator to see if you are entitled to any benefits.

Discretionary Hardship Policy

If you are having difficulty paying your council tax, regardless of whether or not you are in receipt of council tax reduction, the council may be able to reduce the amount you have to pay. Please refer to the Council Tax Discretionary Hardship Policy or apply

Reminders and summons

If you do not pay your council tax on time and you have not contacted us to advise why, we will send you a reminder.

If you do not bring your payments up to date within seven days, you will lose your right to pay by instalments and, without further notice, we may ask you to pay the full amount you owe for the year.

If we issue two reminders and you fail to pay for the third time by by the due date, we will cancel your instalments and you will need to pay the full remaining balance for the year.

Summonses

If we still do not receive payment, we will issue a summons. Please note you will incur £85 costs when we issue a summons. Payment in full will prevent the matter being taken to the magistrates court. At this stage, payment arrangements can still be made by contacting the recovery section on 01432 260380.

Liability orders

After the issue of the summons, if we do not receive payment by the due date, we will apply for a liability order which will help us to collect the money you owe. The order gives us the power to recover the money you owe by:

  • Requesting financial information, such as details of employment and benefits
  • Passing your account to bailiffs for collection
  • Making deductions from your wages or benefits
  • Obtaining a charging order on your property. This enables debts to be paid when the property is sold
  • Declaring you bankrupt
  • Taking committal proceedings

If you accept that you owe the amount quoted on the summons, and you are unable to pay in full as required, you do not need to attend the hearing as the liability order will be granted in your absence. However, it is in interest your interest to contact us immediately.

How do I appeal against my council tax bill?

If you think that your property is exempt, or you are not liable to pay, or your charge has been calculated incorrectly, you must initially write to us stating the reasons. Our address is: 

Council Tax Section
Income and Awards
PO Box 224
Hereford
HR1 2XW 

We must write to you to advise what we have done to rectify matters. Alternatively, if we believe that your liability is correct, we will write to you. 

If you are unhappy with the decision, you may appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal. You must do so within two months of writing to us. You can telephone the tribunal on 01302 342324, email them at vtdoncaster@vts.gsi.gov.uk, or write to them at:

Valuation Tribunal 
Hepworth House 
2 Trafford Court
Doncaster
DN1 1PN

How do I appeal against my council tax band?

Herefordshire Council does not deal with appeals against the council tax band of your property. Instead, you must appeal to the Valuation Office.

You only have six months from becoming the taxpayer of a dwelling to appeal against its banding. After this, you can only appeal in special circumstances, such as if your property has been demolished.

To find out more about making an appeal, visit the GOV.UK website. You can also phone your local Valuation Office on 03000 501501 or email them at ctwest@voa.gsi.gov.uk

To check the banding of your property, visit the Valuation Office website.

Can I get a discount on my council tax?

There are a number of discounts for council tax payers.

Single person discount

We calculate your council tax assuming that two adults live in your property. If an adult lives alone or they are the only person aged 18 or over in a property, the council tax bill is reduced by 25 per cent. 

Other discounts

In addition, certain people are not included when calculating the number of adults. For example, if more than one adult lives in a property and all but one fall into any of the following disregard categories, the bill will be reduced by 25 per cent. If all occupying adults are disregarded (and the property does not fall into an exemption category), then the amount charged is reduced by 50 per cent. 

The following is a list of persons who are "disregarded" when assessing liability with links to the relevant application form:

Important changes affecting Council Tax exemptions and discounts

Council Tax is administered under central government regulations, with the introduction of the Localism Act new powers have been delegated to local authorities. In addition, the Local Government Finance Act 2012 has amended the legislation with regard to some exemptions and discretionary discounts. Local authorities now have the discretion to determine the levels of discount for unoccupied unfurnished properties and properties requiring major repairs or structural alteration to render habitable. 

From 1 April 2013 the following discounts are applicable:

  • Class C discount - Unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings - a discount of 25 per cent for a maximum of 6 months
  • Class D discount - Unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings that require or are undergoing major repair work or structural alterations - a discount of 25 per cent for a maximum of 12 months.

From 1 April 2014, empty properties will no longer receive any discount and will be liable for 100 per cent of their council tax bill.

If you currently have a discount for any of the following, this will end on 31 March 2014 and a full Council Tax charge will apply:

  • Class C discount - Unoccupied and substantially unfurnished dwellings
  • Class D discount - Unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings that require or are undergoing major repair or structural alteration.

Also from 1 April 2014 if your property has been empty and unfurnished for two years or more you will be charged an additional 50 per cent premium, as allowed by the Local Government Finance Act 2012. This will mean that you will now be liable for 150 per cent of your Council Tax bill.

For example:

Band A property - 

Charge from 1 April 2014 = £1033.78

50% additional charge = £516.89

Total council tax to pay = £1550.67

Second homes

We have discretion to set the level of discount for second homes (furnished, unoccupied properties). With effect from 1 April 2013 no discount is applicable therefore second homes are charged the full Council Tax.

Annex discount

New - with effect from 1 April 2014 a new discount of 50 per cent for annexes (which are not exempt) will apply where the annexe is used by the occupier of the main dwelling or a member of their family.

How to apply for a discount

To apply for a discount, write to the Council Tax Section, Revenue and Benefits, PO Box 224, Hereford HR1 2XW or email us at counciltax@herefordshire.gov.uk or download, complete and return the relevant application form. The following discount application forms are available on this website:

  • Apprentice discount application form
  • Care worker discount application form
  • Child benefit discount application form Detention discount application form
  • Detention discount application form
  • Religious discount application form
  • Severe mental impairment discount application form
  • Single person discount application form
  • Student discount application form
  • Youth trainee discount application form
  • Class C discount application form (empty property) - only applicable up to 31 March 2014
  • Class D discount application form (uninhabitable property requiring major repairs) - only applicable up to 31 March 2014

Discount reviews

We regularly review council tax discounts. If you receive a discount review form, you must complete it and return it to us. 

If you are no longer entitled to a discount, please let us know, giving precise details of the changes and when they happened.

If we send you a discount review form, and you do not complete it, we will cancel your discount.

If you lose your review form, please contact us to request a replacement:

Is my property exempt from council tax?

Some dwellings are exempt from council tax.

These are:

  • Class B – Unoccupied property owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months)
  • Class D - Property left empty by a prisoner (no time limit)
  • Class E - Property left empty by a person receiving personal care in a hospital or care home (no time limit)
  • Class F – Left empty following the death of a taxpayer  
  • Class G – Occupation is prohibited by law
  • Class H – Empty and awaiting occupation by a minister of religion
  • Class I – Left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care from another person
  • Class J – Left empty by someone who has moved to provide personal care to another person
  • Class K – property left empty by a student
  • Class L – property repossessed by the mortgagee
  • Class M – halls of residence
  • Class N - Properties occupied by students or school leavers
  • Class O – Armed Forces accommodation such as barracks
  • Class P – Properties occupied by members of visiting forces
  • Class Q- Property left empty by bankrupts
  • Class R – Unoccupied caravan pitches and houseboat moorings
  • Class S – Properties occupied by persons under 18
  • Class T – Unoccupied annexes which form part of a single property and may not be let separately without a breach of planning consent
  • Class U – Properties occupied by persons who are severely mentally impaired
  • Class V – property where at least one person who would otherwise be liable is a diplomat
  • Class W – Annexes and similar accommodation occupied by an elderly or disabled relative

With effect from 1 April 2013 the exemption classes for unoccupied unfurnished properties (class C) and properties requiring major repair work to render habitable (class A) have been removed and replaced by discounts. The Government has given local authorities discretion to determine the levels of discount. Further information is included in the discounts section above.

To apply for an exemption, write to the Council Tax Section, Income and Awards, PO Box 224, HerefordHR1 2XW, email us at counciltax@herefordshire.gov.uk or download, complete and return the relevant application form. The following exemption application forms are available on this website;

Exemption reviews

We regularly review council tax exemptions. If we send you an exemption review form, you must complete it and return it to us.

If you are no longer entitled to an exemption, please tell us when and how your circumstances have changed.

If we send you an exemption review form and you do not complete it, we will cancel your exemption.

If you lose your review form, please contact us to request a replacement:

Can I get a reduction on my council tax if I'm disabled?

If a disabled adult or child is living in your property, we may reduce your bill if your home requires these features for their wellbeing:

  • A room used mainly by the disabled person for meeting their needs, for example a room for dialysis equipment
  • An additional bathroom or kitchen for the use of the disabled person for meeting their needs
  • Extra space inside the dwelling to allow for the use of a wheelchair

If you qualify, your bill will be reduced to the equivalent of a property in the valuation band immediately below your property's listed band. For example, if your property is in band E, you will be charged as if it were in band D.

For a property in the lowest band, Band A, relief is 1/9th of the band D charge.

To apply for a discount, write to the Council Tax Section, Income and Awards, PO Box 224, Hereford HR1 2XW or email us at counciltax@herefordshire.gov.uk or complete and return the application form for a reduction in council tax for people with disabilities.

How do I report a death to the council tax team?

We understand that there is a lot to arrange when someone dies. It is important that you report a death to the council tax section as soon as possible. 

If you are dealing with the affairs of someone who has died, please contact us at:

Please supply the following information:

  • The name and address of the person who has died
  • The date of death
  • The full name, address and telephone number of the executors/solicitors dealing with the person's estate
  • The full name(s) of any person(s) (aged 18 or over) who still live at the address
  • Confirmation of whether the property is unoccupied after the person's death and whether they owned or rented it
  • If the property was rented, please provide the full name and address of the owner or managing agent and whether it was a furnished or unfurnished let. Please also provide the date the tenancy is due to end

You can help us keep our records up to date by confirming the exact date that probate is granted and the sale details when they are known, for example the date of sale, the names of the purchasers and their current address. We will then amend our records and send any refund or final bill to either the beneficiaries or the executors (whichever is applicable).  

How this affects council tax

Generally, there are two main rules:

  1. If there is only one adult who remains at the property, a 25 per cent discount may be claimed
  2. If the property is now unoccupied and was owned by the person who has died, it is exempt from council tax for up to six months after probate has been granted providing it remains unoccupied and ownership has not changed. After the exemption ends, the full charge is due from either the beneficiaries or the estate, depending on whether ownership has transferred

How is the council tax team performing?

In 2011/12, we collected 98.7 per cent of council tax due, against a target of 98.75 per cent.

We helped 68.94 per cent of all tax payers take up direct debit payments, against a target of 68 per cent.

For 2012/13 we aim to collect 98.75 per cent of the council tax due within the current year. This is above average compared to other unitary councils.

We aim to process 90 per cent of all applications for single person discounts, other discounts, exemptions, and disabled reliefs within ten working days.

If you move house or your circumstances change, we aim to send a bill within ten working days of receiving all the relevant information in 90 per cent of cases.

Sometimes, when we're very busy, we may not be able to meet these aims. We try to keep such delays to a minimum.