Do students pay council tax? (2022)

Everyone's situation is different, so working out if you need to pay council tax can be a headache. But, with this guide, knowing if you're exempt will become much simpler.

Do students pay council tax? (1)

Credit (foreground): Ljupco Smokovski - Shutterstock

As far as adult responsibilities go, paying council tax is one we'd rather do without. But if you're a full-time student we have some excellent news: it's likely you don't have to pay it.

Don't spend your council tax fund (or put it in a savings account) just yet, though. There are some situations where you might have to cough up some money, even if you're a student. Read on to discover if you qualify for council tax exemption.

What's in this guide?

  • What is council tax?
  • Do students have to pay council tax?
  • Applying for council tax exemption
  • What to do if you're wrongly charged council tax
  • Should you pay council tax during summer and study breaks?

What is council tax and what does it pay for?

Do students pay council tax? (2)

Credit: Yevgen Kravchenko, kamui29, Bell Photography 423 – Shutterstock

Council tax is a yearly charge paid in 10 or 12 monthly instalments throughout the year. It's charged per household rather than per personand is calculated by the value of your property.

(Video) Do students have to pay council tax?

Properties in Britain are divided into different value bands. In England and Scotland, the bands are A–H, while it's A–I in Wales.

Your home's council tax band depends on two factors: where you live and the value of the property. In England and Scotland, the value is how much the house was worth back in April 1991. In Wales, it's what the value was in April 2003.

The tax you pay goes straight to your local council. They use this cash to pay for things like rubbish collections, street cleaning, local schools and roadworks. In Scotland, your council tax also covers water and sewerage. Lovely.

If you're in Northern Ireland, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that you don't have council tax, as Northern Ireland didn't adopt the system when it was developed in the 1990s. The bad news is you still have domestic rates – the system which council tax replaced in the rest of the UK.

And the bad news doesn't end there. Most full-time uni students in Northern Ireland aren't exempt from paying domestic rates. So, you'll need to factor this into your budget.

No one likes paying tax if they can (legally and morally) avoid it. It's definitely worth looking into tax-free ISAs for students to get the most out of your savings.

Do students pay council tax?

Any household occupied exclusively by full-time students will qualify for a full council tax exemption. So, if you and all of your housemates are full-time students, you should be exempt from paying council tax.

To be classified as a full-time student, you must be on a course that lasts at least a year and requires at least 21 hours of study each week.

Part-time students will usually need to pay. However, you could be eligible for a reduction based on other factors. This includes being the only non-full-time student in the household, as we'll explain in a second.

We've even heard of part-time students being eligible for exemption as they're still studying for more than 20 hours a week. But don't bank on this. Always check with your council for the specifics.

If you're in a shared house with both full-time students and non-students, you'll get a council tax bill through the door each month. However, only the non-student tenants will have to pay it, as full-time students are still exempt.

So, if all of you are full-time students apart from one person who's not, they'll have to pay the bill themselves. That said, they will receive a single-person discount of 25%.

(Video) How does UK tax work? l Income tax and council tax explained for international students in UK l PAYE

With this in mind, choose your flatmates carefully before moving into a new property. If you have a mix of students and non-students, those who aren't in full-time education may have a hefty bill to pay. Aside from the financial issues, this could cause tension in the house and make it difficult to survive shared living.

Qualifying for council tax exemption

To qualify for council tax exemption, the council needs to consider you to be a 'disregarded person'.

You're disregarded from paying council tax if you're any of the following:

  • A full-time student (you've probably got that by now!)
  • Studying a course up to A Levels and are under the age of 20 (your course must last at least three months and you must study for at least 12 hours a week)
  • Under 25 and taking specific types of training, like government training schemes
  • A full-time student's 'overseas partner' (so child, spouse or civil partner who is not legally permitted to work in the UK)
  • A student nurse (who isn't already classified as a full-time student)
  • An apprentice working towards a qualification, earning no more than £195 a week.

There are a few exceptions to these, plus a few extra reasons you may be disregarded. If you're unsure of your particular situation, check out the government's council tax page or contact your local council.

Do postgraduate students pay council tax?

As an undergraduate, you won't have to pay council tax during the summer breaks between academic years.

However, you will have to pay for the summer months at the end of your final year. This is still the case even if you're going straight into postgraduate study when the next academic year starts.

This is because there's a gap between finishing your undergrad course and starting your postgrad. During this time you're technically not a student, so you're no longer exempt.

If you're a postgraduate student taking some extra time to finish your thesis over the summer, things are a bit more complicated. This is officially outside of course time so, again, you're no longer exempt.

However, a good way to get around this is to move back home for the summer. If you can prove to your local council that you're moving away as soon as uni is over, they won't send you a bill. Of course, that's assuming your parents will cover your share of their council tax bill...

How to apply for student council tax exemption

Do students pay council tax? (3)

Depending on how your local council prefers to do things, getting your exemption can take a few minutes, a few days or even a few weeks, if they're particularly sluggish.

Some councils will justask you to ring them up and give them your name, student number and uni course, and they'll arrange your exemptionelectronically while you're still on the line.

(Video) What is Council Tax and do Students need to pay it? | Sandeep Reddy | Telugu UK Vlogs

Other councils might ask for what's called a 'certificate of student status' (often shortened to 'student certificate') in order to prove that you're in full-time education.

You can get a student certificate from your university. Normally this is from the admissions office, but your uni should say this on their website. Once you have your student certificate, simply post it to your local council.

Other unis have online systems which you can log into yourself. These can automatically generate a letter and send it to the council, saving you all the work.

If you're unsure who your local council is, the government has a handy toolthat could be worth looking at.

What to do if you're wrongly charged council tax

If you've been sent a council tax bill when you shouldn't have, you'll need to write to your local authority to explain why it's wrong.

At this stage, you may not need to send evidence of your status as a full-time student, like a student certificate. But you may need to in future, as your council is unlikely to grant you an exemption based on your word.

Your council has two months to respond to you. If you disagree with their decision, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal. The service itself is free, but you'll have to pay for any other costs you incur.

And, to reiterate, if the initial decision from the council seems odd to you, don't just accept it. They may make the rules, but they're not always right.

In early 2020, we appeared on the BBC to discuss examples of councils not only wrongly billing students (for a reason we'll explain later), but standing firm in their position even after the students had appealed.

In one instance, the case went right to the top of the council. Amazingly, they only made the correct decision (to exempt the students from paying council tax) once the BBC contacted them.

So, in short, know the rules and regulations and stand your ground if you're in the right.

Paying council tax during summer and study breaks

Paying council tax during study breaks and the summer holidays can be a bit of a grey area for students.

(Video) Council Tax Exemption For Students In UK #Counciltax #uk#students

The easiest way to work out whether you'll have to pay is to establishhow long you'll be registered on your course. If you're studying an undergraduate degree for three years, you won't have to fork out during the summer months between terms. This is true even if you start working full-time during the summer.

If you've started your course but are deferring to take a gap year, good news. It's unlikely that your uni will go to the effort of de-registering you and making you register again when the next academic year begins. As such, you probably won't have to pay council tax during this break period (but that's by no means a guarantee).

In short, your exemption kicks in the day your course starts and continues until the day your course ends. And, to clarify, this is the final day of your final semester, rather than the day you graduate.

Your council tax exemption covers you while you're on holiday and when you're not studying. So, if you do end up paying any council tax, you should be entitled to a refund.

Did you know that students also don't need to pay for a TV Licence over the summer break? Find out how to get a refund.

Should you pay council tax before you've moved in?

We've seen various reports of councils charging students for the time between their tenancy starting and the date they move in.

Some councils admit this is a mistake as soon as they're challenged. However, others have dug their heels in and insisted they're in the right. They often argue that the property is technically unoccupied until you've physically moved in. And if you're not living there, they say the exemption for students doesn't apply and council tax must be paid.

We can't stress this enough: if your council argues this, they are wrong. As long as you meet the criteria above, your council tax exemption kicks in from the day your tenancy agreement starts. It doesn't matter if you're actually living there.

If your council sends you a bill on these grounds, get in touch with them as soon as you can to appeal it. You shouldn't be paying!

Hopefully, we've answered all of your council-tax-related questions here. But, if you're still unsure if you need to pay council tax, contact your local council.

Find out more about student tax refunds (including info on income tax and National Insurance) in our complete guide.


Do UK students have to pay council tax? ›

Households where everyone's a full-time student do not have to pay Council Tax. If you do get a bill, you can apply for an exemption. To count as a full-time student, your course must: last at least 1 year.

Are full-time students normally liable for council tax? ›

Your property is 'exempt' from council tax if it's only occupied by full-time university or college students. Student halls of residence are automatically exempt. If your property isn't exempt, some people, including full-time students, are 'disregarded'.

Who is exempt from paying council tax UK? ›

People who are disregarded include:

full-time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth training trainees. people caring for someone with a disability, who is not a partner, or child under 18. patients living in hospitals, care homes, certain hostels or night shelters. people who have a severe mental impairment.

Do I have to pay council tax if my partner is a student? ›

If you are a full-time student and you live with only one other person and they are not a full-time student, you are personally still exempt from paying the council tax. The other person is liable to pay but will qualify for a 25% discount called a 'single person's discount'.

Do you pay tax as a student? ›

Being a student does not exempt you from paying income tax. If you earn over your personal allowance you will be required to pay income tax.

Do part time students pay Council Tax in the UK? ›

Unlike full-time students, part-time students have to pay Council Tax. There is a 25% reduction on the bill if one part-time student is sharing with one full-time student. The part-time student is then responsible for the remaining 75% of the bill.

Do students pay water bills UK? ›

Full time students are expected to pay a water bill in full once per quarter on a standard tariff. Alternatively, you can pay once every six months if you are on a meter. Water is one of several bills you'll need to look after at university, with other bills such as electricity, heating, broadband, and more to pay too.

What is a full time student classed as? ›

Generally, a full-time student is a student enrolled in at least 12 credit hours at a post-secondary academic institution.

How do I get student discount uk? ›

UK Student Discount Cards – A Quick Summary
  1. NUS Discount Card.
  2. University Student ID Card.
  3. International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
  4. UniDays Discount App.
  5. Student travel cards.
  6. 18+ Student Oyster Card.
  7. Student Debit Card.
  8. Tesco Clubcard.
14 May 2018

How can I avoid paying council tax legally? ›

Categories of people who may qualify to be disregarded include:
  1. most full-time students.
  2. people who live with and care for someone else.
  3. young people for whom child benefit is payable.
  4. people under 25 who receive training under the national traineeship scheme.
  5. apprentices.
  6. student nurses.
  7. foreign language assistants.
24 Aug 2022

Is council tax cheaper if you live alone? ›

Single person discount

If you are the only adult resident in your home, you are eligible for a 25% discount on your council tax. This should have been applied to your bill if we already know that you live alone. You can apply for a single person discount online.

Can you get fined for not paying council tax? ›

You can be sent to prison for up to 3 months if the court decides you don't have a good reason to not pay your Council Tax and you refuse to do so. If the court decides you have something to pay back you may be able to make an arrangement to pay your debt over time.

Can my partner live with me in student accommodation? ›

As long as one of the couple is a student, there's no problem! Location is particularly important to couples, as a suitable balance is often needed. Partners have different needs, such as the requirement to attend different areas of university campuses or excellent transport links to travel to work, or home to family.

Does a non Dependant affect council tax? ›

Non-dependant deductions

Housing benefit and council tax support are normally reduced for each non-dependant living in your home. If the non-dependant is working less than 16 hours a week, the lowest deduction will apply.

Do people on universal credit pay council tax? ›

Universal Credit will include any housing costs you are entitled to, but it doesn't include financial help for Council Tax. You may be eligible to receive Council Tax Support . This is means tested, so the amount you receive will depend on how much Universal Credit you get, plus any other income or benefits.

How much tax do students pay in UK? ›

In 2019/20: the first £12,500 is tax-free; you pay 20% tax on earnings between £12,500 and £50,000. Few students are likely to be earning over £46,350, but if you do, you pay 40% on this. Most employers deduct tax from your wages through PAYE ('Pay As You Earn'), and this is averaged out over the year.

How much can a student earn and not pay taxes? ›

College students must file a tax return if they made over a certain income. That income threshold depends on multiple factors, including if you are a dependent or married. Generally, if you're a single student who made more than $12,550, you will have to file a tax return.

What are the tax benefits of being a student? ›

Tax Credits for Higher Education Expenses

The Lifetime Learning Credit allows you to claim up to $2,000 per student per year for any college or career school tuition and fees, as well as for books, supplies, and equipment that were required for the course and had to be purchased from the school.

How much can students earn in UK part-time? ›

How much can a part-time student earn in the UK? For students aged between 18 and 20, the national minimum wage works out at £6.15 per hour. For those aged 21 and over, they can earn £7.70 per hour in the UK.

Are you a student until you graduate? ›

Technically you aren't finished until you graduate, but with some courses the graduation is 6 months+ after the last exam so to all intents and purposes it's when you finish your last exam.

What's a student certificate? ›

Other councils might ask for what's called a 'certificate of student status' (often shortened to 'student certificate') in order to prove that you're in full-time education. You can get a student certificate from your university.

What bills do you pay as a student? ›

What bills do you have to pay when renting as a student?
  • Gas and electricity. Electricity and gas bills in a property housing several students may be one of the biggest expenses you face when renting near your college or university. ...
  • Water and sewerage. ...
  • Broadband. ...
  • TV licence. ...
  • TV subscriptions. ...
  • Contents insurance.
13 Aug 2021

What bills do students have to pay UK? ›

Which utilities do you need?
  • Broadband. Arguably the most important utility in any modern student house. ...
  • Gas and electricity. Gas and electricity will likely be your biggest expenses when it comes to utility bills. ...
  • Water and sewerage. ...
  • Contents insurance. ...
  • Student council tax. ...
  • TV Licence. ...
  • Digital TV package.
20 Jun 2022

How much are bills per month UK student? ›

A student living by themselves in a 1 bedroom house will pay an average of £181.70 a month on bills, whereas a student in a 7 bedroom house will pay an average of just £52.90 a month – a pretty big difference of £128.80!

What benefits can students claim UK? ›

Grants. If you're a full-time higher education student, you may be able to get a non-repayable grant from the government to help with accommodation and other living costs. There are also other types of grants that can help with things like childcare, tuition fees or examination fees.

How many hours is a full-time student allowed to work UK? ›

In a nutshell, a student can work 20 hours in any given week during term time if you are studying a full-time programme at degree level and above. If you're studying a full-time programme below degree level it's 10 hours and full time during holiday periods and after your programme end date (until your visa expires.)

How many hours is a full student? ›

In most national and state postsecondary enrollment reports, students are classified by “part-time” or “full-time” status. “Full-time,” in this context, usually means a schedule of 12 or more semester or quarter hours.

Does Primark do student discount? ›

About Primark

Though there isn't any student discount available, the in-store offers are excellent and you can easily update your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Do students get NHS discount? ›

NHS students and trainees are the new-blood of the NHS, so of course they are entitled to our NHS discounts. It doesn't matter which field you're studying; our discounts are there to help you save some money while you are working hard to pass your exams.

Does Asda give student discount? ›

All you need to do is register and verify your student status in order to get access to thousands of free student discounts.

Do PhD students pay council tax England? ›

As a PhD student, you are normally exempt from paying council tax during your minimum period of registration as long as you meet the requirements of being a full-time student.

Are you a student until you graduate? ›

Technically you aren't finished until you graduate, but with some courses the graduation is 6 months+ after the last exam so to all intents and purposes it's when you finish your last exam.

What's a student certificate? ›

Other councils might ask for what's called a 'certificate of student status' (often shortened to 'student certificate') in order to prove that you're in full-time education. You can get a student certificate from your university.

Do students pay tax Scotland? ›

If you're a student and you have a job, you'll have to pay Income Tax and National Insurance if you earn over a certain amount. This still applies if you work abroad during your holidays, and if you're a foreign student working in the UK.

How do I get student discount uk? ›

UK Student Discount Cards – A Quick Summary
  1. NUS Discount Card.
  2. University Student ID Card.
  3. International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
  4. UniDays Discount App.
  5. Student travel cards.
  6. 18+ Student Oyster Card.
  7. Student Debit Card.
  8. Tesco Clubcard.
14 May 2018

How much does a PhD holder earn in UK? ›

How much does a Phd graduate make in United Kingdom? The average phd graduate salary in the United Kingdom is £32,500 per year or £16.67 per hour. Entry level positions start at £30,000 per year while most experienced workers make up to £42,500 per year.

How much a PhD student earns in UK? ›

In the UK, PhD students can receive a stipend which varies between £15,000 and £18,000 per annum. As part of the studentship your stipend is provided under, your tuition fees will also be paid for.

Do students get Universal Credit? ›

If you are a student, you can only claim Universal Credit if: You are under 21, taking a course that leading to a qualification at the same level as or below A levels (such as Scottish Highers, National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) up to level 3) and you do not and cannot live with your parents; or.

Can university students claim benefits? ›

Full-time university students can also get benefits as long as they meet certain criteria. Just keep in mind that the amount you can get varies wildly depending on your circumstances - below we explain what you need to know.

What age is normal to graduate? ›

23 is the average college graduation age for traditional full time students who start college at about 18 yrs whereas the average graduation age for independent students over 24 yrs of age is about 32. Traditional full time students are more likely to graduate college within 4 to 6 yrs of enrollment.

How do you prove you are a student? ›

Any of the following qualifies as proof of your status as a student:
  1. Photocopy of your dated student ID (with current date)
  2. Photocopy of your class registration.
  3. Photocopy of your class schedule.
  4. Photocopy of your school bill.

What is proof that you are a full time student? ›

To verify your status as a Student, you may upload one of the following documents: Student ID Card (with a valid, unexpired expiration date) Transcript showing current enrollment. Enrollment Verification Letter from the Office of The Registrar (not an acceptance letter)

What counts as proof of study? ›

A letter from your school indicating your intention to study at a tertiary institute. A hall of residence acceptance letter.

Do full-time students pay council tax Scotland? ›

Students. If you're a student and live alone or share the rent with other students, you may be exempt from paying council tax. If you're a student, but are sharing with someone who is not a student, you may be eligible for council tax reduction. Students living in halls of residence are exempt from paying council tax.

What taxes do students pay? ›

Your status as a full-time student doesn't exempt you from federal income taxes. If you're a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident, the factors that determine whether you owe federal income taxes or must file a federal income tax return include: The amount of your earned and unearned income.

Do students get taxed less UK? ›

In 2019/20: the first £12,500 is tax-free; you pay 20% tax on earnings between £12,500 and £50,000. Few students are likely to be earning over £46,350, but if you do, you pay 40% on this. Most employers deduct tax from your wages through PAYE ('Pay As You Earn'), and this is averaged out over the year.


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