Tuesday, 11 November 2014

{Ask Mary} What is Council Tax?

After this post and the comments I realized that I should probably clarify exactly what is council tax and why you'll need to pay it when you move to Scotland.

What is council tax?

Council Tax is the system of local taxation used to part fund services provided by local authorities. The rate of tax payable is based on the value of residential property. Meaning, a 3 bedroom house would pay more council tax than a studio flat. The reason being the amount of services used. The amount that each household pays depends on their band (A-H).

Council tax goes partly to fund your water, sewage and rubbish pick up. It is essentially just your utility bill. But it just so happens that everyone in and around your area usually pay about the same amount. It's is paid each month. 

When searching for a property you can ask your letting/estate agent what council tax band the property is in.  You can often find the council tax band listed with the property description online (A-H). Then you can find the amount per band HERE. Council tax is paid by whomever lives in the property--either owner or renter. 

Council tax should be added to your expenses each month. Once you move to Scotland you need to go directly to the council building and get set up for council tax to avoid a fine.

ps. My Sausage Mini Fritatta recipe was on MSN! I was totally surprised to see it. I had completely forgotten it was going to be featured. It is perfect for a Thanksgiving/Christmas brunch. I hope you'll try it.


  1. Mary, Thanks so much! Super helpful! One questions. In looking at websites like Zoopla, sometimes the tax band is mentioned and sometimes not. Is there rhyme or reason to this? When it is mentioned does it mean the landlord will not pay it (and it is in addition to the rent) and when it is not mentioned does it mean the landlord is paying it (and it is included in the rent)? Your insight is always appreciated! Shannan

    1. There is not rhyme or reason to the fact that some listing have the council tax band listed and some do not. It is very highly unlikely that the landlord will pay the council tax for you. That's extremely rare. You might see it if you were renting a room in a large house with other tenants. But other than that no. It's best to just call the letting agent and ask what the council tax band is and/or how much it is per month.

  2. Hi Mary, this is a very helpful post! I'm from Scotland originally and currently live in the US, but we hope to move back to Scotland again in the next couple of years. I've been reading your blog for a while and I'm starting to feel like a stalker, so I wanted to say hello :) Have a good weekend! Pam.

  3. I have been thinking of moving to Scotland it looks amazing
    I can't wait to go there but I am only 18 and I live in Belgium
    I wouldn't know how to even start such a big move have you got any tips maybe ??
    Thank you :)


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