Council Tax FAQ's
Annual Billing FAQ's
I've never paid council tax before - is this a mistake?
No. If you've previously been on full council tax benefit then your bill will have been covered by it. However from 1 April 2013 the government has replaced council tax benefit with a local council tax support scheme and cut funding by 10%. The Council has only passed on 8.5% of this cut for 2013/14 which is why you are receiving less benefit and now have an amount to pay.
Why have I lost my second adult rebate?
From 1 April 2013 the government has replaced council tax benefit with a local council tax support scheme and cut funding by 10%. In order to help spread the shortfall, and after consultation, the Councillors have reluctantly decided that second adult rebate for working age claimants should not form part of the new Council Tax Support scheme. However you can claim in your own right if you are eligible for a state benefit such as Jobseekers Allowance or are on a low income.
Can I appeal against my benefit being cut?
No. The Council has adopted this new scheme after a consultation exercise as required by the Government.
My exemption notice says that I have six months exemption under class C as my property is unoccupied and unfurnished which takes me beyond 1 April 2013 - why do I have to pay from then?
The law is changing from 1 April 2013 and the old C exemption finishes then. Consequently any property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than two weeks as at
1 April 2013 will be charged 100% council tax.
Can I get the 14 days exemption from 1 April 2013 anyway?
As above, any property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than two weeks as at 1 April 2013 will come straight in to 100% charge at that date.
My exemption notice says that I have a twelve months exemption under class A as my property is unoccupied and unfurnished and in need of major repair which takes me beyond 1 April 2013 - why do I have to pay from then?
The law is changing from 1 April 2013 and the old A exemption finishes then. Consequently any property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished and in need of major repair for more than twelve months will be charged 75% council tax as from 1 April 2013. After it has been unoccupied and unfurnished and in need of major repair for twelve months even if this started before 1 April 2013, 100% charge will be payable.
My second home bill has gone up from 90% to 100% - is this right?
Yes, from 1 April 2013 domestic properties that are furnished but are no-one's main residence such as second homes will have their council tax charges increased from 90% to 100%.
Why am I being charged 150% for my empty property?
From 1 April 2013, properties that are unoccupied and unfurnished and are no longer subject to a council tax exemption (known as long term empty properties) will be charged 150% after remaining empty for two years.
Are there any exemptions from being charged the extra 50% after two years?
Yes, if it's an empty annexe that's physically part of another building or it's empty because the owner has to live elsewhere in armed forces accommodation.
Why have these changes to discounts and exemptions been made?
To help offset the impact of the required council tax benefit cut being introduced from April 2013 as well as being in line with the Council's stated policy of encouraging empty homes to be brought into use as quickly as possible and also to more closely reflect the true cost of providing services to empty properties.
Under what powers have these changes been made?
The Local Government Finance Act 2012 gave Councils new discretionary powers to raise additional income by reducing the level of council tax exemptions on certain types of empty dwellings. The Council met on 17 January 2013 to endorse these changes.
I want help with bringing my empty homes back into use - what can I do?
If you need help in bringing your empty property back into use please contact James Bradley, our Empty Homes Project Officer by completing the online form at www.northwarks.gov.uk /emptyhomes, by telephoning 01827 715341, or by email to email@example.com.
My bill includes an amount brought forward that I've either paid or don't owe?
Because we have to print, envelope and despatch nearly 30,000 council tax and business rate bills, our records were closed down as at 27 February 2013 so any payment or change to your account won't show on your bill but it will be reflected on your account. By signing up to our Self Service facility at http://www.northwarks.gov.uk/ you can check your account at any time.
In the Leader's letter sent with my bill it says that the council tax has not been increased yet my bill has gone up?
The charges for North Warwickshire Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire have indeed not been raised. However your local parish council may have raised their charge (see below).
My local parish council has increased their charge -why?
Parish councils are independent of North Warwickshire Borough Council therefore you should approach them direct. Contact details can be found at http://www.northwarks.gov.uk/info/200155/councillors/128/parish_and_town_councillors
Can I pay my bill over twelve months?
Yes if we receive a written request before 15 April 2013. If we receive your written request after that we will spread your bill over the remaining monthly instalments.
Why haven't you included a booklet showing the Council's spending plans?
These can now be found online at www.northwarks.gov.uk/ctbreakdown. If you need a paper copy we can send you one.
These FAQ's are for general guidance only. For further information please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, phoning 01827 715341 or visiting us at the Council House, South Street, Atherstone, Warwickshire, CV9 1DE.