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Who has to pay council tax

Pay council tax now

Buckinghamshire Council decides who is liable to pay council tax at each property within its area. Whoever comes first in the following list is usually the person liable to pay council tax.

  1. A freeholder who lives in the property
  2. A leaseholder who lives in the property
  3. A tenant who lives in the property
  4. Someone who has a licence to live in the property
  5. Someone who just lives there

If no-one lives in the property as a main home then the person responsible for the property is liable for paying the council tax bill.

Owner's liability

The owner, rather than the occupier, of the following types of property is always liable for council tax.

  • House in Multiple Occupation: houses and flats where each tenant pays rent for their room or part of the property; usually each tenant holds a separate tenancy agreement with the landlord
  • Residential care homes and nursing homes
  • Properties where a Minister of Religion performs his duties
  • Properties lived in by religious communities
  • Properties provided to asylum seekers
  • Properties lived in by domestic service staff only

Joint liability

Where there are joint owners or joint tenants, they are "jointly and severally liable" for council tax. This means each of them is responsible for ensuring that the whole council tax bill is paid.

Married couples, and couples who live together are also jointly and severally liable for the bill even if they are not the joint owner or tenant of the property.

There will only be one bill sent to each property irrespective of the number of liable persons. It will be up to the persons named on the bill to decide how much each individual pays. If you have received a bill and think it is incorrect, you will need to contact us.

If the council tax bill is unpaid, or partly unpaid, we can pursue one or any number of the jointly and severally liable persons for payment.

Moving home

If you are moving into, within or out of the Buckinghamshire Council area, please let us know about it. Landlords or estate agents should also notify us of any changes in tenancy. This is so you pay the right amount for your properties.

Tell us about a change of address

Disputing liability

If you disagree with our decision to make you the liable person, you should tell us why you think you are not responsible for paying the council tax, and provide any proof. We will look into the matter and write to tell you of our decision.

Contact information

  • To talk to us about who pays council tax:
  • Telephone: 01494 412 226 and select help key 3