Find out if you need to pay Council Tax
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 over 20 years of age who are enrolled on a full-time course at university or college that lasts for at least one academic or calendar year, where the student is required to attend for at least 24 weeks of the year and undertake at least 21 hours of study, tuition or work experience each week during term time.
- those under 20 years old who are taking a course that lasts for at least 3 months and is a qualifying course of education, such as A-levels or at the same level or below, and includes more than 12 hours a week study time, during the day. Correspondence courses are not included.
- foreign language assistants who are registered with The British Council and are working at a school or other educational establishment.
It is unlikely that students studying English at the many language schools in Portsmouth will be regarded as ‘full time students’ for Council Tax purposes because usually the courses are not long enough to be counted.
Do overseas students living with their parents 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. Evidence of the partner’s status will need to be provided, such as their passport or visa.
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 of each person before granting a Council Tax exemption – follow the link to complete and send us this information online.
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?
Why have I been sent a council tax bill, when I'm a full time student?
The property must only be occupied by full time students to receive a council tax student exemption.
Each student must provide their student number if studying at the University or Portsmouth or the University of Southampton. It is mandatory for students at other educational establishments to provide a student exemption certificate, which can be obtained from the registrar of the University/College.
Once all student evidence is received, a council tax student reduction can then be considered.
If there is a period from the start date of your tenancy whereby all tenants are not full time students, then there will be a council tax charge that the tenants will need to pay if tenants held a joint tenancy agreement.
I was a full student and have now moved out of Portsmouth, why have you sent me a council tax bill?
A council tax student exemption can only be awarded if all the tenants are full time students for the whole duration of the tenancy. There will be a council tax charge for any period you are not classed as a full time student until the end of any joint tenancy agreement.
If you have received a council tax bill with a charge to pay and dispute your full time course end date, please contact your University/College directly and request for a council tax student exemption certificate. This certificate then needs to be sent to the council tax office.
I am a landlord of a property occupied by full time students, why have you sent me a council tax bill?
An exemption can only be applied if all the tenants are classed as full time students.
- If one or more tenants cease their full time course, then council tax becomes payable.
- If the property is let on a room by room basis on individual tenancy agreements (House in multiple occupation), it is the landlords responsibility to pay any council tax due.
- If the tenancy agreement is a joint agreement, please send the council tax department a signed copy of the joint tenancy agreement and the council tax charge will be sent to the non-students.
Who needs to notify of changes to a property occupied by students and when?
It is the responsibility of the owner, agent and tenants of a property to provide information which may affect the council tax charge within 21 days of a change taking place.
- changes of occupancy/ownership
- changes to tenants
- student courses ending earlier than expected
Failure to contact the council tax department within 21 days from a change taking place may result in a penalty of £70 being applied.
An occupier in my household is turning 18 years of age and studies full time. Will I still get single occupancy discount?
No, once two or more adults reside at a property, there is no longer an entitlement to single occupancy discount.
You must inform the council tax department within 21 days of their 18th birthday.
We still may be able to award a 25% discount if the 18 year old occupier is receiving child benefit, or is a student, or has left school/College.
Please send proof of child benefit still being in payment and a copy of their council tax student exemption certificate, which can be obtained from their school/College or University.