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Who is liable to pay Council Tax

Section 6, Local Government Finance Act 1992 stipulates that the party liable for payment of council tax is the person whose status places them highest of the hierarchy for liability. Where two or more persons have the same interest, they shall be jointly liable for payment. 

The hierarchy for liability

Where there is residence of the dwelling:

  • a resident with a freehold interest
  • a resident who has a statutory or secure tenancy
  • a resident who has a contractual licence
  • a resident

For council tax purposes, the definition of a resident is an individual over the age of 18 years who occupies the dwelling as their sole or main residence.

Where there is no residence, liability shall fall on the non-resident party in the following order:

  • a party subject to a fixed tenancy or lease
  • the owner of the dwelling

Exceptions to the hierarchy:

  • where persons are married or live together as partners irrespective of whether they hold an equal interest, they shall be held jointly liable
  • where a person who would ordinarily be liable is exempt from payment as a student or is categorised as severely mentally impaired

Last updated 12 June 2024