Council Tax law is complex and detailed, these notes are only a brief summary of the key points and are not intended to be a full guide. For further information, please contact the Local Taxation Team.
Sole or main residence
For Council Tax purposes, you are considered to live at your "sole or main residence". As most people only have one residence there is no problem. However, questions do arise when people have the use of more than one residence or where people spend long periods away from home because of work or extended holidays.
For married and unmarried couples, even if you each own or rent a home, you will be treated as having one main residence for which you will pay the full Council Tax.
We have to establish the facts and make a decision. This may involve asking questions about your relationships and lifestyle or asking for written evidence.
If there are no other adults living in the second property a second home charge will be payable, because the property is furnished but is not anyone's only or main residence.
You may have a main residence but also own or rent another closer to where you work that you use during the week.
Your main home is classed as the place where you intend to return and where you would live if not for the demands of your work. This is usually where your partner and children (if any) live.
If you go on a long holiday and intend to return we will treat you as having your main residence at the property you leave.
A common situation is where an adult son or daughter leaves their parents address to travel for a year or so before going on to university. In such cases, unless there is evidence of their intention not to return at the end of their holiday, their main residence will be considered to be with their parents.
A property would remain your main residence even if you remove the furniture while you are away.
If you disagree with the council's decision to treat you as having your main residence at a particular address you must first appeal in writing to us, giving your reasons and supplying any evidence you have to support your claim. If we do not agree, you may then appeal to an independent body, the Valuation Tribunal.
Even if you appeal the Council Tax must be paid as billed. If an appeal is later decided in your favour, then any overpayment will be returned.