Student council tax - Frequently Asked QuestionsLast updated: 12 April 2013 14:25 UK
The questions below are those most frequently asked by students about council tax. If you need more help, please contact us by scrolling down to 'council tax', or you could or let the council know who is living in your house by completing this online form.
Who qualifies as a 'student' for council tax purposes
A student is any person taking a course at an educational establishment, such as university or college, and includes:
- those on a full-time courses
- those under 20 years old on part-time qualifying courses of education, such as A-levels
- student nurses working towards a first inclusion on the register maintained under the Nurses, Midwives & Health Visitors Act 1979
- foreign language assistants
What does 'full-time course of education' mean for council tax purposes?
Full-time applies to those:
- over 20 years of age at university or college
- those taking courses lasting at least one academic year
- attending university or college at least 24 weeks each academic year
- spending on average, 21 hours a week on study, tuition, work experience or a combination of these during periods of attendance
As a student under 20 years old, do I qualify for council tax exemption?
You may qualify for council tax exemption if your course of education:
- lasts longer than three months
- is at or below 'A' level standard
- isn't a correspondence course
- includes more than 12 hours a week study time, during the day
Do overseas students living with their partners pay council tax?
Sometimes - although you might be able to claim a full exemption from council tax. To qualify for this exemption, the terms of your partner's entry visa to the United Kingdom must stop them working or claiming benefits here. The council will want to see your student certificate and both passports.
Do student nurses qualify for council tax discount?
Some student nurses qualify for council tax discount. Those working towards a first inclusion on the register maintained under the Nurses, Midwives & Health Visitors Act 1979 are not counted for council tax purposes. This means that if a property is only occupied by student nurses they will all be disregarded, which qualifies for 50% council tax discount.
Can students have a break and still claim council tax exemption?
If a student has to go away, for example due to ill health, but remains enrolled as a student and intends to return to their studies, then their student status continues for council tax purposes. The council would need evidence of the break to allow this.
I'm a student living in a house with other students. Do we pay council tax?
No, properties occupied only by full-time students are exempt once the council has seen evidence of student status for each person living in the house. The council needs to see this evidence every academic year.
Evidence of student status for students at the University of Portsmouth is just name, address and student registration number. Students at other educational institutions can ask their university/college for a student certificate to send or bring in. The council needs confirmation of student status from each person before granting a council tax exemption.
I live in a hall of residence. Will I have to pay council tax?
No, students living in halls of residence don't have to pay because halls of residence themselves are exempt from council tax.
I'm a student, but I flat-share with people who aren't students. What council tax do we pay?
As a student you aren't jointly liable for payment of the council tax so you would only be liable if you were the owner or lead tenant.
The non-students in the household may be able to claim council tax support based on their income. Follow this link to the council tax discounts and exemptions and scroll down to read examples of council tax discounts applied in different situations.
Here are some other webpages and sites with more help and advice about managing finances:
- If you think you might be entitled to housing benefit follow this link to student housing benefit - frequently asked questions
- For help managing your finances, Portsmouth University website has a dedicated student finance centre
- You could also contact Advice Portsmouth or the Citizens Advice Bureau