Do You Have to Pay Council Tax on Empty Property?

What do You Mean by Empty Property or Dwellings in the UK?

According to the laws in place in the UK, empty Property or dwellings can be defined as houses that lie empty without any furnishing.

Do I have to Pay Council Tax on Empty Property?

Do I need to pay taxes on the empty properties?

Yes, you need to pay taxes on Empty Dwellings. However, it was no so in the past. Initially, your empty houses or the empty property were tax-free for the first 6 months. This rule was quite straightforward.

But with the change in these taxation laws, the rules now state that these empty houses or empty dwellings are a subject to 0% to 100% council tax discount depending on the individual’s discretion.

How is the Council Tax on Empty Property Determined?

Empty Property or dwellings are taxed differently than the ones that are occupied. Although the Council tax rate differs at the discretion of the individual, a person can enjoy up to 100% discount on Council Tax. However, the primary factor in play here is “furnished” and “unfurnished.”

If your house is unfurnished, then you have a chance of gaining about 100% discount on the property’s taxes. For others, it may depend on the individual and other laws in play at that time.

For How Long Can I Enjoy 100% Council Tax Relief on my Empty Houses?

If you have an empty house, which is unfurnished, you can enjoy up to 100% discounts on the council tax payment. However, this can only be enjoyed for only a month. After one month elapses, your Council Tax will differ, and you will have to pay some taxes every month.

However, a point to be noted here is that if after the first month your house remains unfurnished, you will still be eligible for 50% discount on Council Taxes for the next six months.

Furthermore, for as long as your house is empty your house will enjoy 100% charge on the property. If your house is empty for the next two years, your house will be taxed with 50% of the Council Tax rates.

What does “insufficient furnishing” mean in relation to Empty Dwellings?

Although the law in the UK does not specify “insufficient furnishing” for the considering the Council Tax on the empty dwellings. However, the local authorities have suggested and agreed on the definition of “insufficient furnishing” as a house which does not have enough or sufficient furnishing for a person to live there. With that in mind, if your house has some furniture which will not allow a person to live in the same house comfortably, you will be eligible for the discounts on your tax.

How can I avail the Council Tax discounts on my empty property?

Should you wish to avail Council Tax discounts on your empty property, you only need to submit and upload your documents on the official website for Council Tax and submit your application for registration under the section “Registration Form” with all relevant documents.

How do I get help with paying my Council Tax?

Although there are different rates for taxation, you are eligible for a reduction in the taxes you pay if your house has an income of less than sixteen thousand pounds. Other than this, if you need further assistance with your tax calculations and tax liability you can give a call on Benefits Service on 01424 787740 or write to PO Box 60, Bexhill-on-Sea, TN39 3ZF.

Also, you can contact the Council tax department on 01424 787730.

Are there any exceptions for empty dwellings regarding Council taxes?

Although you need to pay according to the tax rates, there are some exceptions regarding the payment of empty house taxes as well.

If your empty dwelling is undergoing some construction, your house will still qualify for discounts on Council Tax. However, this will happen only if your house is still unfurnished. Constructional work such as the building of walls and other necessary repairs to the house qualify your house for concessions and discounts. Once the construction for your house is complete, you will receive a notice from the local authorities which will indicate the completion of construction. The notice will specify the date when the authorities think your house’s construction is complete and the rate of interest for your taxes will commence from this day onwards.

If you own an empty house and are confused about the tax calculation, you can contact the Council Tax Department for assistance.

Are there any other exceptions for empty dwellings?

Council Tax on empty dwellings is not that confusing. There are other kinds of exceptions that can be availed by an owner of an empty house or empty dwellings. Here are some of them:

  • The house belongs to someone who is serving time in the prison, with the exception that the particular house is not a home to a person who is serving time or is sentenced to prison for the non-payment of Council Tax.
  • The house of a person who has moved out into a hospital or to the place of their relatives for health care.
  • The house has been repossessed.
  • The law states that the house is unfit for a person to stay or live in.
  • A house that is purchased compulsorily to be demolished is also exempt from Council Tax.
  • In the case where the owner of the house dies, the house is exempt from Council Tax for the next 6 months. However, this is valid only until the rights are passed to the next legal owner of the house.

What if I am providing care for someone and have had to move from my home?

The rules regarding Council Tax and its payment structure is quite confusing. Although there are many exceptions for the inhabitant or the owner of the house, there are some bits and pieces for others who have to move out of their houses to help someone else.

If you move out of your house to offer care to someone else, your house becomes empty and uninhabited. In this case, you can get an exemption from Council Tax too. Depending on the furnishings at your house, your Council Tax will be charged and calculated.

What if I am not allowed to possess my house by the law?

Even in this case, the owner of the house, who is not allowed to enter or live or possess their house due to the law, then such a house is exempt from paying Council Tax. For further details, you should get in touch with the Council Tax Department.

What happen when you don’t pay Council Tax on empty property?

There are strict regulations in the UK in regards to the payment of Council Tax on your empty property as well as second homes. There is a procedure that is followed if you do not pay your taxes on time.

Here is what will happen if you fail to pay your Council Tax for empty property or Second homes on time:

  • You will receive a first reminder. There are no legal clause here, if you pay now, there will be no more letter and no costs-incurred.
  • Next, you will receive a second notice with certain circumstances. Herein, you will be given seven days from the date you receive the notice to pay the entire amount due on your Council Tax. If you fail to do so in the given time period, a court summons will be issued against your name.
  • The final notice is issued if you fail to pay the amount due even after the issuance of the second notice. With the third notice issued, you lose all your rights to pay your Council Tax and a court summons will be issued for you. The rest is up to the court to decide.
  • The court summons is issued after the final notice and sent to your house. You will need to appear in front of the Magistrates Court on the given date. If you pay for all the costs incurred now and before the summons along with the entire Council Tax, then there will be no legal action against you or your house. If you cannot make the payment of the entire sum of money for your Council Tax, then you should get in touch with the Revenues and Benefits section and come up with an arrangement as per your financial condition. Other than this, when you appear in the court and are not disputing your liability to pay the council tax, but have no funds to pay for your taxes or for the hearing of the court, then you need to get in touch with the Revenues and Benefits section and explain your circumstances. If for various conditions, you feel that you are not liable to pay the amount shown in the notice, then you should write to the Revenues and Benefits section/department as to why you are not liable to pay the sum.
  • Once the hearing in the court is done, a liability order will be issued. This order will come with instructions as to how should the outstanding balances be covered and finished off, the arrangement as to how the same should be done and a list of additional charges, costs incurred.

How can I get in touch with Council Tax department?

You can get in touch with the Council Tax department by making use of the following information:
London Borough of Hillingdon Revenues Services
PO Box 1120 1 Market Street Nelson Lancs BB9 7LJ Email: counciltax@hillingdon.gov.uk

Or you could give them a call on the 24-hour payment service (01895) 556699 or on (0300) 123 1384, which works every day from 9 AM to 5 PM except on weekends. Other than this you can fax the department with the help of fax on (01895) 250879.

Since the department works on a 9 AM to 5 PM basis on the weekdays, if you are interested in setting up a booking or meeting here, you need to do it by 4:40 PM. Later than that, you will not be eligible for the booking on the same day.

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About the author
Blog Author

Sumit Agarwal
Sumit Agarwal (ACMA ACA India), the Managing partner of dns accountants is a highly respected accountant with expertise in helping owner-managed businesses.

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About the author
Blog Author

Sumit Agarwal
Sumit Agarwal (ACMA ACA India), the Managing partner of dns accountants is a highly respected accountant with expertise in helping owner-managed businesses.


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