How much is council tax in London?
For information on how much council tax is in a specific area, please consult our pages on
Council Tax in South-West London (for Croydon, Kingston, Lambeth, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth)
Council Tax in North-East London (for Barking & Dagenham, City of London, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest)
Council Tax in North London (for Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Westminster)
Council Tax in South-East London (for Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark)
Council Tax in West London (for Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Kensington & Chelsea)
General Information about London Council Tax
For those of you who are unacquainted with council tax (perhaps if you’re moving to London from outside of the UK), then council tax is a compulsory tax that is payable on your property regardless of whether you’re a tenant or a landlord. For those of you moving here from the United States, then it is similar to property tax. Essentially the money collected from council tax goes towards general local services such as rubbish collection, the cleaning of your streets, your local libraries and the maintenance of roads.
The amount of council tax you pay is based on which of London’s 33 council boroughs you live in and also, what property price band your house falls into. The property bands were last assessed in 1991 and even though prices have changed dramatically in the last 21 years, this is still the system that is used to assess how much council tax you should be playing. The property bands are graded from Band A to Band H, A being the cheapest and H being the most expensive.
You can find out what property band your accommodation falls under by contacting the Valuation Office Agency. It’s possible to ask them to check and reassess your property band, but be careful when doing so, as they may decide to regrade your property into a higher and more expensive band. Chatting to your neighbours who have similar accommodation can help decide whether it’s worth challenging the system.
You will receive your council tax statement or bill for the upcoming year towards the beginning of the financial year. You can either choose to pay the whole amount upfront, or in 10 (not 12) monthly instalments, usually meaning that you’ll have nothing to pay in the months of February or March.
It’s quite likely that you’ll move into your accommodation at some point in the middle of the year. If this is the case, then get in touch with your council as soon as you move in to inform them that you’re living there. They will then send you an adjusted bill and you’ll not be responsible for any unpaid bills due from the previous residents. Don’t forget to do this or try and get away with not paying, because the council will catch up with you and you’ll eventually be sent a court summons.
Part of the total cost of your council tax bill goes to the GLA (Greater London Authority).
In general, council tax is compulsory, but there are people who can qualify for discounts. If all members of a property are students, then you don’t normally have to pay council tax, but you’ll need proof in writing from your place of higher education to show to the council. If your household is a mix of students and non-students, then you could be eligible for a discount. Discounts are also possible for single person households.