Who is liable to pay

Who has to pay Council Tax and how is it calculated?

Who is liable and how is it calculated?
Liability to pay Council Tax is calculated on a daily basis and is based on the following:

  • Whether any property is a chargeable dwelling
  • Which valuation band is shown in the valuation list as applicable to any chargeable dwelling
  • The person liable to pay the Council Tax and their position in the hierarchy of people liable to pay (see below)
  • Whether any amount of Council Tax is subject to a discount or exemption

Hierarchy of Liability
There is a 'hierarchy' of who is liable to pay Council Tax.  Read down the list below and, as soon as you reach a description that fits someone in your household, they are the person who should pay Council Tax on the property :

  1. Resident who has a freehold interest in the whole or part of the dwelling
  2. Resident who has a leasehold interest in the whole or part of the dwelling and which is not inferior to another such interest held by another resident
  3. Resident who is a statutory or secure tenant of the whole or part of the dwelling
  4. Resident who has a contractual licence to occupy the whole or part of the dwelling
  5. Resident of the dwelling
  6. Non-resident owner of the dwelling

A resident is aged 18 or over and must have his/her sole or main residence in a dwelling.

Where two or more residents have a similar interest in the dwelling they shall be 'joint and severally liable' to pay the Council Tax.


Sole or main residence
There is no statutory definition of the term sole or main residence, however there are a number of established principles - the main ones are as follows:

  • Degree of permanence
  • Temporary presence does not necessarily make a person a resident;
  • Temporary absence does not deprive a person of residence

More information on who is liable to pay