Frequently asked questions
Use the links on this page to find out more about council tax in Shropshire.
What happens if I don't pay my council tax?
If you fail to pay your instalments by the due date given on your bill, recovery action will commence. All instalment payers will be subject to the same recovery procedures in accordance with the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations.
The following action is taken:
- A reminder/final notice will be issued approximately 14 days after your instalment becomes due.
- Failure to comply with a reminder/final notice will lead to the issue of a summons by the magistrates court.
We apply to the court for a liability order which allows us to:
- Ask your employer to deduct an amount from your earnings.
- Use external enforcement agents.
- Ask the Department for Work and Pensions to make payments direct to us if you're in receipt of income support/jobseekers allowance/employment support allowance
In certain cases we can register outstanding council tax as a charge on your property (like a mortgage).
We can also instigate bankruptcy proceedings.
Who is responsible for paying council tax?
To find out who has to pay council tax on your home, read the following list. As soon as you reach a description that applies to one or more people in your home, that is the person "liable" and responsible for paying the bill. The spouse or partner of a liable person may also be held jointly liable.
- A resident freeholder
- A resident leaseholder
- A resident tenant
- A resident licensee
- A resident
- The owner (unoccupied property)
A resident is a person of 18 years or over who occupies the dwelling as their only or main home.
For council tax, where a property is no-one’s main residence, it's the owner of the property who becomes responsible for council tax.
For the purposes of council tax, the Local Government Finance Act 1992 defines the meaning of ‘owner’ as:
An owner in relation to any dwelling is a person who satisfies the following conditions:
a) That they have a material interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling; and
b) That at least part of the dwelling (or as the case may be the part concerned) is not subject to a material interest inferior to their interest.
It goes on further to explain the term ‘material interest’ as: "A freehold interest, or a leasehold interest which was granted for a term of six months or more."
Where a weekly or monthly tenancy (or a tenancy subject to notice of less than six months) the immediate landlord is the ‘owner’ for council tax purposes and liable for council tax when the property is no-one’s main residence. Whereas if there is a six-month (or greater) shorthold assured tenancy the tenant will remain liable for council tax until this particular tenancy period expires.
Once the initial six month (or greater) shorthold assured tenancy has expired the landlord and tenant have three options:
- They can agree a further shorthold tenancy for an agreed period of time.
- The landlord can seek a new tenant.
- They can move to a periodic or rolling tenancy agreement.
Where an assured shorthold tenancy continues as a statutory periodic tenancy the landlord becomes liable for council tax for any period that the property becomes no-one’s main residence until the tenancy ends. This is irrespective of whether the tenant has to give a notice period, or indeed handed the keys back.
In some cases where the tenancy continues as a contractual tenancy and the tenancy agreement facilitates this, we'll require a copy of the tenancy agreement before correct liability can be determined.
Further information regarding the Local Government Finance Act 1992 can be obtained from the legislation.gov.uk website.
The first type of owner liability applies where a dwelling is no-ones' sole or main residence, usually an empty property.
Although this type of liability also arises in the case of second homes or holiday homes, it also applies to occupied dwellings where the sole or all occupiers are under 18 years of age, or where all occupiers are disregarded for example care homes. None of them are classed as resident and liability therefore lies with the owner.
Classes of owner liability
- Class A - a residential care home, (mental) nursing home or hostel.
- Class B - a dwelling inhabited by religious communities, for example monks and nuns.
- Class C - a dwelling inhabited by numerous tenants or licensees. This is usually referred to as a house in multiple occupation.
- Class D - a dwelling inhabited by resident staff employed for domestic services that is occasionally occupied by the employer.
- Class E - a dwelling inhabited by a minister of any religion in order to perform their duties of office.
- Class F - a dwelling provided to an asylum seeker or under section 95 of the Immigration Asylum Act 1999.
Joint and several liability
Payment can be sought from anyone who is jointly and severally liable.
Any persons on the same level within the hierarchy of liability are jointly and severally liable for the council tax on a dwelling.
Severely mentally impaired persons who are joint owners are not liable if another person is resident in the dwelling.
Fair processing notice
We're required under Section 6 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 to participate in the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) data matching exercise.
Council tax data will be provided to the Audit Commission for NFI and will be used for cross-authority comparison for the prevention and detection of fraud.
Where can I get independent advice and support?
If you've run into financial difficulties, or are worried about debt and paying your bills, or just need some advice and support, there are a number of organisations who offer free help and impartial advice. All of the services below are free, confidential and hold a standard accredited by the Money Advice Service.
The Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice offers free, independent, confidential and impartial debt advice through their webchat service.
Step Change debt charity
Step Change helps change the lives of thousands of people every week. Their expert advice is impartial and personalised to each individual situation. Call 0800 138 1111.
Debt Counsellors Charitable Trust
A telephone based specialist advice service for anyone living in England and Wales. Call 0300 456 2726.
National Debtline has helped millions of people with their debts. They’ll talk you through options and give clear advice on how to take back control. Call 0808 808 4000.
Debt Advice Foundation
Debt Advice Foundation is a national debt advice and education charity offering free, confidential support and advice to anyone worried about debt. Call 0800 622 61 51.
Payplan provides the debt advice and support to enable you to take charge of your finances and focus on living again. Call 0800 280 2816.
Advice for businesses on debt management. Call 0800 197 6026.