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Council Tax

What is Council Tax and what it pays for

Council Tax, a local taxation system, is set by local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales to pay for local services that they provide, such as rubbish collection, the police and the fire brigade, and Adult Social Care. It is based on the value of the house, flat or other accommodation in which you live.

You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax if you’re 18 or over. All full-time students are exempt from paying Council Tax, however their spouses or any other non-student adults that may live with them, would still have to pay it.


Definition of Full-Time Education

For the purposes of Council Tax, “full time” is defined as undertaking study, tuition or work experience for 21 hours a week, and attending the course for 24 weeks of the year. This means that most part-time university students will qualify for the exemption.


Getting the student exemption

It is your responsibility to ensure that your local authority knows you are a student and are exempt from paying Council Tax. If you receive a bill from your local authority, you should contact them immediately to tell them you are a student. You will need to provide your Student Status letter (available from the university’s Student Records team at the Senate House).

Part-time students

If you are a part-time student and want to claim the student exemption, you should talk to your department to see if they would be prepared to write a letter confirming that your course of study meets the requirements of 21 hours per week, 24 weeks per year (see above Definition of Full-Time Education).


Demand/Warning Notices from the Council

Ignoring letters from the Local Authority and requests for payment, can lead to court and enforcement (bailiff) action and, if this happens, court and other additional costs will be added. Always read the letters carefully and if in doubt, contact the Local Authority as soon as possible.




International Students

International Students who live with dependents who have come to the UK with a Tier 4 dependent visa are also exempted from paying Council Tax. If you receive a Council Tax bill, please contact the WSU Advice Centre immediately.


PhD Students

PhD students who are in their writing-up period are also exempted from paying Council Tax. If your local council requires you to pay Council Tax, please contact the WSU Advice Centre for assistance.


Council Tax and Temporary Withdrawal

Whilst on temporary withdrawal, you will still be exempt from paying Council Tax.


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