>council tax bill

No one likes paying bills, right? Well, the majority of students are exempt from paying Council Tax and we're going to explain everything you need to know. 

So, what is Council tax? Council Tax is a charge set by the local authority for every property in the area. The money goes towards providing a range of services such as collecting bins, funding local schools, road maintenance and so on. Head to www.gov.uk/find-local-council to find out who your local council is. 

When do I pay council tax?  

In the simplest way, if you are a full-time student then you don’t have to pay it. And if you live in an SU Homes property or university halls then your exemption is automatically granted, and you can tick that off the to-do list. Because we understand that the last thing you want to sort out in your spare time is more paperwork. 

If you live in private rented accommodation, then you’re still exempt, you just need to send evidence to the local council, proving you are a full-time student. If this is you, we've put together some more information to make the process as easy as possible...

Council Tax Exemption 

To qualify for exemption, you must: 

  • Be enrolled on a course at a prescribed educational establishment 

  • Attending a course that lasts at least one academic year 

  • Attending for at least 24 weeks in each academic or calendar year 

  • Required to undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience of at least 21 hours per week 

The exemption continues through all holiday periods. The exemption does not start until your course begins and finishes once your final academic year ends.  

The husband or wife of an international student is also exempt provided they have a condition on their visa preventing them from claiming public funds or from working. Children under 18 are exempt in all circumstances. 

If you have issues with the local authority granting you an exemption, then please get in contact with SU Advice

Living with people who are not students 

If your accommodation has a mix of people in full-time education and work, then you will have to pay council tax (we’ll let you decide how you split it). If only one person in the house is not a student, then you will get a 25% reduction on your bill, but if 2 or more people are not students, then you will have to pay the whole tax bill. 

Part time studying/ leaving studying 

If the course you’re studying is not full time, then it is likely you do not qualify for the exemption and will have to pay council tax. If this is the case, you can apply for a ‘council tax reduction’ which helps people with financial issues. In order to claim this, benefit you will need to contact your local council directly. 

If you leave your course and are no longer enrolled on a full-time course, then you may be liable to pay council tax. If you are thinking of leaving your course and would like more advice on this, please contact our SU advice centre (contact info). 

What to do if you receive a council tax bill? 

Please do not ignore it! If you have a council tax bill land on your doorstep, even if you think it's wrong, get in touch with the local council and challenge them about the bill. Please make sure you do not leave it for another day, drop whatever you’re doing and get on that phone! 

What happens to my Council Tax if I want to leave my course early? 

It’s possible that, as you are no longer enrolled on a full-time course, you may be liable to pay Council Tax. If you are thinking of withdrawing from your course and need advice on your liability for Council Tax, contact SU Advice. Similarly, if you’re thinking of taking a break from your course then please get in touch with us to see what your Council Tax liability may be.  

What happens to my Council Tax after I finish my course? 

You are only exempt from the period you start your course to the last day of your course. After that date, you are liable for Council Tax. You may also be liable for Council Tax if you are between two courses, e.g. going from an undergraduate course to a postgraduate one after the summer.