Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

Here are the questions we are most often asked about Council Tax.

Further information can be found in our Council Tax guide.

If you can't find the answer here, you can also contact us.

Every household in Portsmouth has to pay Council Tax. In most circumstances the person who lives in the property pays the council tax. This person must be over 18 years of age. Husbands and wives, partners and joint owners are normally jointly liable to pay council tax. The Council Tax bill will show all the names, although only one bill will be sent.


Portsmouth City Council has categories of council tax payer. Follow the link if you're interested in who pays Council Tax.


Some people are exempt from paying altogether, for example students. Discounts are also available for some households. Council Tax discounts and exemptions explains this in more detail.


If you are on a low income you may qualify for Council Tax support

Generally, the responsibility for paying Council Tax follows the order of priority:

  1. If you live in a property and own the freehold (resident freeholders) or leasehold (resident leaseholder - you pay ground rent)
  2. Council or private tenants, or someone living in the property under licence (such as a caretaker or publican)
  3. Any resident not described above, including illegal tenants and squatters
  4. Owner of the property who lives elsewhere

If more than one person is at the same point on the list above, they are jointly responsible for paying Council Tax. For example, two resident owners will both be named on the bill.


If you live alone or you're a student you may pay less, or not at all - follow the link for the full list of Council Tax discounts and exemptions.

Yes. Some people, or combinations of people living together, qualify for Council Tax discounts. Find out more about Council Tax discounts and exemptions.

There are certain groups of people who do not have to pay Council Tax, such as students. Find out whether you qualify for a Council Tax exemption by following the link to Council Tax discounts and exemptions.

You can pay your Council Tax online, set up a direct debit with Portsmouth City Council, call us with your debit card details, use internet banking or come into one of our eight offices to pay. Please note if you use a credit card to pay, this will incur a fee. Find out more about the different ways of paying your Council Tax bill.

You're welcome to discuss Council Tax queries informally with us.


However, a formal appeal needs to be in writing (for example, if you believe you're not liable to pay a Council Tax bill, or that your property should be exempt or have a discount applied). We have two months to reach a decision on a formal appeal, and may ask you for more information to help us decide in that time.


If you haven't heard from us at the end of two months or you don't agree with our decision, you can appeal to either the independent Valuation Office Agency, or the Valuation Tribunal Service, depending on the subject of your appeal. If your appeal is upheld by one of these independent bodies, Portsmouth City Council will make the necessary change.


Scroll down to 'Can I appeal against a Council Tax valuation?' if you wish to challenge your Council Tax banding.


For a copy of your Council Tax bill, email with your name, address and council tax reference number.

When somebody dies, the person who has to pay the Council Tax may change. The amount of council tax is sometimes affected too. You can find out more by following the link to changes you need to tell us.

If you have any difficulty paying your Council Tax please let us know as soon as you can. We are happy to talk about the situation and discuss a special payment arrangement with you.


Alternatively, visit our Council Tax support page to find out if you might qualify for help paying your Council Tax.

  • if you have a liability order granted by Portsmouth Magistrates Court, contact Debt Recovery immediately on 023 9284 1447.

We sent you a reminder because you did not pay your Council Tax instalments on the due date. You have seven days to catch up the missed payments. After seven days, you will lose the right to pay monthly, and the total remaining charge will become due.


Find out how you can resolve this situation by following the link to Council Tax reminders, summonses and court proceedings.

If you receive a council tax summons you do not have to attend court, but you are required to pay at once the amount due, plus costs. If you do not pay the whole balance before the date of the Magistrates' hearing, Portsmouth City Council will apply for a liability order to recover the unpaid sum.


Find out how you can resolve this situation by following the link to Council Tax reminder, summons and court proceedings.

The amount of council tax you pay depends on two things: the valuation band of your property and the number of adults living there. An adult is someone aged 18 or over. When we work out Council Tax, we assume two adults are living in the property. More than two people does not increase the charge, but a single adult in residence qualifies for a Council Tax discount.


There are other circumstances where discounts and even exemptions apply. Find out more by following the link to council tax discounts and exemptions.


The government website,, shows you how to work out your own Council Tax.


Read more about how Portsmouth City Council calculates Council Tax.

The Valuation Office Agency, not Portsmouth City Council, is responsible for valuing all UK properties and for keeping the bands up-to-date.


Council Tax is based on what a property would have sold for on a set date: 1 April 1991. This common date ensures that every property is treated in the same way. Even new homes built after 1 April 1991 are valued on the basis of what they would have been worth then.

Once valued, properties are all placed into one of eight broad valuation bands, A-H. explains more about Council Tax bands.

There are limited circumstances in which you can challenge your banding with the Valuation Office Agency. Appeals are made to the Valuations Office Agency, rather than Portsmouth City Council, because the Valuations Office Agency is responsible for all property banding valuations.


As Council Tax bands are based on what a property would have sold for on 1 April 1991, recent purchase prices are not necessarily the best evidence.


The Valuation Office Agency will consider your appeal and confirm its decision in writing to you (and us). If you disagree with its decision, you can appeal further to the Valuation Tribunal, which is an independent appeals tribunal, handling Council Tax and rating appeals.


Even if you appeal against the valuation band of your property, remember to keep your Council Tax up-to-date.

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