Council Tax Guide 2024 to 2025 - Council Tax Explained

Published: 12 March 2024

Who gets the council tax money?

West Lindsey District Council collects the council tax. However, we keep less than one eighth of it. We pay the rest over to Lincolnshire County Council, the Police & Crime Commissioner, parish and town councils.

What is council tax and who has to pay?

Council tax is a tax on people’s homes. Council and police services are paid for by income from government grants, council tax, fees and other charges.

Owner occupiers and their partners usually have to pay the council tax bill. Where homes are rented, the tenants and their partners will have to pay. In the case of empty homes, it’s normally the owner who has to pay.

The owners of these properties have to pay:

  • Residential care homes, nursing homes and hostels
  • Those occupied by
    • a minister of religion/religious community
    • more than one household
    • resident staff or asylum seekers

Please contact us if you have been made the liable person, and you believe this to be incorrect.

What are valuation bands - can you appeal?

The Valuation Office, an executive agency of HM Revenue and Customs, has given each property a valuation band, between A and H, according to its market value in April 1991. If your property was built after April 1991, it will be valued as if it had existed then.

Band Market Value (April 1991)
A Up to £40,000
B £40,001 - £52,000
C £52,001 - £68,000
D £68,001 - £88,000
E £88,001 - £120,000
F £120,001 - £160,000
G £160,001 - £320,000
H More than £320,000

You can appeal against the valuation band if:

  • It’s within six months of you becoming the taxpayer
  • The value changes because of demolition work, a conversion, a change of use or any other physical change to the location

You must carry on paying your council tax while your appeal is being considered.

For more information about valuation bands or appeals, contact:

The Listing Officer, Council Tax East
Valuation Office Agency
Ground Floor, Ferrers House
Castle Meadow Road

Tel: 03000 501501

If your initial appeal fails, you have further avenues of appeal, which will be explainedto you by the Valuation Office.

In common with all local authorities, West Lindsey District Council has a duty to protect the public funds it administers. We are required to participate in data matching exercises, carried out by the Audit Commission’s National Fraud Initiative, to prevent and detect fraud.

Council Tax Discounts

You may be able to get a discount or, in some cases, a full exemption if no-one lives in the property. You can get a 25% discount on your bill if there is only one person aged 18 or over living in your home. People under 18, or in one of the groups listed below, are not included when counting the number of people living in your home for council tax purposes:

  • Most full-time students, student nurses and some apprentices
  • The partner of a student or the dependant of a student who is not a British citizen and is not allowed to work in this country or claim benefits
  • People who are long-term patients in hospital or who live in care homes
  • People who are severely mentally impaired
  • 18 and 19 year olds still eligible for child benefit
  • School and college leavers (from April to October if they are under 20 years old)
  • Low-paid care workers (usually employed by charities)
  • Residents of hostels for the homeless or night shelters
  • Carers looking after someone who is not their partner and not a child of their own who is under 18 years old
  • Members of religious communities
  • Members of visiting armed forces and international institutions
  • Diplomats
  • People in detention (except for those in prison for non-payment of fines or council tax)

Discounts for empty properties:

  • Property undergoing structural repair (25% for up to 12 months only)
  • Property empty and unfurnished (100% for up to 2 months only)

Please contact us if:

  • You think you should be getting a discount
  • You are getting a discount and your circumstances have changed so that you should no longer get it.

Council Tax Exemptions

Generally, you don’t have to pay council tax on the classes of property listed in the two sections that follow because they are exempt. Some classes do have time limits though and you may have to pay a charge after the exemption runs out. Please note that time limits run from when the circumstances of the exempt class first started to apply, and they don’t re-start if the property changes hands. Classes of exempt empty property are as follows:

  • Class B: owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months only)
  • Class D: the tax payer is in detention(except for those in prison for non-payment of fines or council tax)
  • Class E: the tax payer has left it to go and live in a care home
  • Class F: the tax payer has died (exempt for up to six months after probate granted)
  • Class G: can’t be lived in by law
  • Class H: held for a minister of religion
  • Class I: the tax payer has gone to live elsewhere to receive personal care
  • Class J: the taxpayer has gone to live elsewhere to provide personal care
  • Class K: left empty by a student
  • Class L: the mortgagee has possession
  • Class Q: the taxpayer is trustee to a bankrupt
  • Class R: unused caravan pitch or boat mooring
  • Class T: unoccupied annexe to occupied property

Classes of exempt occupied property are as follows:

  • Class M: student halls of residence
  • Class N: all occupiers are students, school or college leavers or non-British dependants or partners of students
  • Class O: UK armed forces accommodation
  • Class P: visiting forces accommodation
  • Class S: all occupiers are under 18
  • Class U: all occupiers are severely mentally impaired
  • Class V: main residence of a person with diplomatic privilege or immunity
  • Class W: the annex to a property occupied by a dependant relative

A 50% discount can also be granted in certain circumstances where an annex to a main dwelling is occupied by a non-dependent relative of the person paying council tax on the main dwelling.

Council Tax Premium

Any property which is empty and unfurnished for 2 years or more will be subject to a council tax premium in accordance with the following table:

Empty Property Period Premium Charge from 2023/24 Premium Charge from 2024/25 Actual Council Tax Charged
2-5 years 100% 100% 200%
5-10 years 100% 200% 300%
10+ years 100% 300% 400%

Exceptions to the additional premium will not be added to:

  • A property which has been left empty by a member of the Armed Forces who has been posted away from home
  • A property which is an annexe to another property and it is being used as part of the main property
  • Homes that are a residential pitch occupied by a caravan or a mooring occupied by a boat will not be liable for the empty homes premium and will qualify for a 50% discount

In certain circumstances long term empty properties liable for a premium charge may be eligible for an exception to this premium, reducing the charge to 100% Council Tax. This is awarded for a maximum of 12 months but certain criteria must be fulfilled:

  • Owners who are genuinely attempting to sell or let their property which has been vacant for at least 2 years
  • Owners who are experiencing particular legal or technical issues preventing the sale or let of the property
  • Owners who are in negotiation with the Empty Property team

In order to encourage the renovation and subsequent reoccupation of long-term empty properties, in addition to the above exceptions a further exception or discount may be granted but the following criteria must be fulfilled:

  • The property must have changed hands, and the new owner must provide evidence of a firm commitment to bring the property back into use within 12 months. Evidence will be required which may include builder’s quotes and confirmation of work started or other evidence supporting the work that is being undertaken. An inspection by one of our officers may be required to confirm the works are underway.

In these circumstances an exception to the charge may be made alongside a local discount of 100% which will reduce the council tax charge to zero for a maximum period of 12 months.

If you believe you are eligible for an exception, please complete the Application for Exception to Premium form and return to the revenues team along with supporting evidence as requested on the form.


You must notify us of a change in circumstances within 21 days. Failure to do so could result in a penalty of £70 being imposed.

Second Homes

From 1 April 2024 furnished second homes will be charged 100% council tax.

Claiming Council Tax Support

Don’t pay more council tax than you need to. 
Council tax support can reduce your bill by as much as 90% if one of these applies:

  • You are getting either Income Based Job Seekers Allowance or Income Support
  • The income we have to take into account is low enough for you to qualify and savings and investments are valued below £16,000

Even if you own your own home and are working you may still be able to get this support. A lot of information is required to support the claim, but don’t be put off by this, it’s necessary to stop fraud.

Council tax payers who have reached pension age and some disabled customers may qualify for up to 100% council tax support.

Housing Benefit (Help with your Rent)

If you rent your home and have a low income, you could get housing benefit to help you pay your rent. Contact your district council to discuss eligibility.

People with Disabilities

You can get your bill reduced by one valuation band if you have a second bathroom; a second kitchen; a special room; or enough floor space to use a wheelchair indoors and the facility is necessary to meet the needs of anyone in the home who is disabled.

If you qualify for this reduction, you will have to renew your application annually.

Please contact us if:

  • You think you should be getting a disabled band reduction
  • Your circumstances have changed so that you no longer need to receive the reduction

This booklet contains information about many discounts, exemptions, banding reductions and support that can help to reduce your bill.
We can advise further on any of these schemes. If you don’t qualify or are already receiving some help, and are still finding it hard to pay, contact us as soon as possible to discuss your payments.

Citizens Advice (CA) and CA advice line gives free impartial advice to people struggling with various debts. It has offices in Gainsborough and Lincoln. The CA advice line is 03444 111 444.

The council has the discretion to give local council tax discounts. It is likely that this would only be used in very exceptional and deserving circumstances.

If you think this might apply to you, please contact us for more information.