Even with Coronavirus COVID 19 still impacting on our lives, many of us are still buying and selling properties, and of course, home moving involves a lot of preparation and planning. 

For a start, you need to find the best agents, choose between the many different removals companies, pack your moving boxes, switch over your TV licence, and, of course, tell others that you’re changing your address. 

However, one thing that you’ll definitely need to remember is to contact your local council about closing your council tax account.

Knowing how to cancel council tax when moving house is very important – after all, you don’t want to end up with unnecessary tax bills after your house move. 

Here, we take a look at how to cancel council tax at your current property and how to start paying council taxes after you move house.

This article covers the following:

What is Council Tax?

Council tax is paid to your city council in order to allow the local authority’s payments for a range of local services like rubbish collection and schools. The amount of local council taxes you’ll pay depends on your home’s location and the council tax band that your property falls within.

An essential job when purchasing a home is informing all of the relevant organisations and individuals about your change of address. One of the most vital organisations on that list should be your local council. 

This will ensure that you’re registered for council tax once the house removals process is out of the way.

You must pay the council tax bill for your property whether you own or rent your home. Fortunately, our helpful moving advice will point you in the right direction to ensure that you don’t make an error with paying council tax when moving home.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to cancel your council tax when moving home.

How is Council Tax Calculated?

Your council tax bill will be worked out based on your home’s value in terms of valuation bands. 

In Scotland and England, there are eight different tax band levels. These tax bands in Scotland and tax bands in England range from the highest (A) to the lowest, (H).

Tax bands in Wales are different as there are nine levels which range from the highest (A) to the lowest (I).

Tax bands in Wales take their basis from the price the property sold for on the 1st April 2003. The tax band in England and Scotland is based on how much your property sold for on the 1st April 1991.

You can work out the amount of your average council tax bill by working out your home’s backwards value. Click here to do this easily.

Next, check the tax band for your property by clicking on the government’s website here. This will let you know how much you’ll pay in council tax after moving every month.

Every home is banded using the same criteria and guidelines which means even properties purchased under Right To Buy and other discounts schemes are banded in the same way, with no discounts on the home being considered during the process.

How Much Will I Pay in Council Tax?

Knowing how much you’ll need to pay in council tax when moving house is a key element in determining the cost of your move. On average, Band D properties in 2020-2021 have an average council tax charge of:

What Will Happen With my Council Tax When Moving Home?

When moving homes, you receive a final bill from your local council. This is taken as one monthly payment. Once you’ve moved, you’ll then get an annual tax bill for your new property address.

If you’re arranging international removals, though, you’ll only need to cancel your existing council tax as there is no need to pay council tax when you’re leaving the country to move abroad.

If you’ll be staying within the same area and are going to be paying your council taxes to the same council as before, it’s possible to continue using your existing direct debit agreement.

However, if you’ve relocated to a different area, you must set up a new tax account with your new local authority. You may be able to opt for paperless billing at this time.

If you’re a homeowner of your existing property and you will leave it empty, you must continue paying council tax, albeit with a tax reduction, on that home.

If you’re renting at the moment, though, and are vacating the property, you’ll no longer have an obligation to pay council tax on that home. 

How do I Cancel Council Tax if I’m Moving to Avoid a Tax Overlap? 

If you’re moving home, you’ll need to tell your existing local council where you’re moving from as well as where you’ll be moving too about one month before your move date.

Check your local authority’s website to find a page where you can enter your change of address as well as forwarding addresses for all adults who pay council tax in the property.

Usually, within one month of your move date, you’ll receive your final bill. It’s also possible to apply for a tax refund should you be in credit on your tax account.

You must plan for this in advance as otherwise an overlap when moving house will occur.

A council tax overlap will leave you paying tax on a property which you no longer live in.

Clearly, a tax overlap when moving is an expensive and unnecessary occurrence, so make sure all administration is handled in advance to keep you from stress and extra moving costs.

When Will I Start Paying Council Tax When I’ve Moved In?

You’ll need to start paying tax on your new home from the same day that you move into your new home.

If you’ve moved within your existing local authority, you can continue on with your existing direct debit and, therefore, you’ll be paying your council at exactly the same time as you used to for your old address.

You shouldn’t wait for a letter addressed to the “new occupier” to come through your new home door.

It’s common to think that waiting is a good idea.

After all, you’ve just spent a lot of money on your move – not only does your new house price have to be paid back but there’s also the costs of the removal to pay, the estate agent fees and your conveyancing expenses. 

However, your council is only going to backdate the payment so you’ll just be delaying an inevitable expense!

Who Needs to Pay Council Tax?

Most people renting or buying a property in the UK must pay council tax; however, there are a few exemptions.

  • People who are on an apprentice scheme.
  • Aged under 18. 
  • Those who are a full-time student.
  • Anyone who is moving into an Armed Forces property. 

Some exceptions also exist for properties undergoing extensive work or if a property remains unoccupied after the owner has died.

If you’re the only adult living in a property or you are living alone, you’ll get a 25% tax reduction. 

Properties that are empty are a holding home or second home also benefit from a discount of up to 50%.

Disabled residents benefit from means-testing and this, too, can result in a discount.

Can I Challenge My Council Tax Band?

When properties were evaluated in 1991, the process was a very rushed one. As a result, it’s likely, around 400,000 properties across Scotland and England are currently in an incorrect tax band. 

With this in mind, it’s possible you could end up paying more than you should in council tax on your new property.

Should you believe that your new home is in an incorrect band, it’s possible to challenge it. Properties can be assessed by the VOA (Valuation Office Agency) during council tax challenges or reviews. 

They will give a decision usually within around two months.

To challenge your tax band, first access the band for your property in Wales or England on the government’s Council Tax Valuation List.

If your home is in Scotland, you can do this on the Scotland Assessor Association’s website. You must include addresses of other similar homes to your home in your neighbourhood, village or town with a lower tax band. You’ll also need to supply evidence about the dates and prices of sale.

Who Else Needs to Be Informed About My Move? 

It isn’t just the local council office that you need to inform about your move. There are probably many other individuals and companies that you need to let know about your relocation. You must:

  • Make sure you’ve let Royal Mail know that your post needs to be redirected – you don’t want to accidentally miss out on vital mail that has been sent to your old home address.
  • Let your utility suppliers know that you’ve moved including your gas, electricity and water providers.
  • Inform home service provides such as your TV and broadband suppliers and your phone company.
  • Make sure any subscriptions have been cancelled or changed, and any contracts have been updated with a minimum of 31 days’ notice.
  • Tell your workplace or office moving dates so that your payslips and other work-related mail gets to your new home.
  • Change your doctor and dentist if necessary, to one close to your new property.

Once you’ve done all of the above, you’ll be ready to find the best packing tips and to get started with the hard work of getting on with your move. So, Download the Moovshack app now and begin your house moving journey today!

Mick Silver

Mick Silver

Mick Silver is the CEO and co-founder of Moovshack. With over 20 years in the property industry. After working with traditional estate agents, Mick decided to launch Moovshack; a fully interactive property app.