Falkirk Council

Falkirk Council
Telephone: 01324 506070

Council Tax

General Information

The Government introduced Council Tax on 1 April 1993 as the way in which people contribute towards the cost of local services i.e. schools and refuse collection. It also provides funding for the Police, Fire Brigade and Assessor.

Councils in Scotland have to set their Council Tax level by 11 March each year. After the Council Tax is set, we send an annual bill to each property in the middle of March telling you how much you have to pay from 1 April. Council Tax is an annual charge that is paid over 10 months, from 1 April to 1 January. Your first payment should be made on or before the 1 April and you then pay nine further payments on or before the first of each month until January. If you want to pay your Council Tax in one payment, you must pay on or before 1 May.

The Assessor for Central Scotland is responsible for compiling and maintaining the Valuation List. This is a record of all properties that are due Council Tax. The Assessor places each property in one of eight valuation bands. The property band is detailed on every bill issued. You can get details of your band or the band of any property in the Falkirk Council area by contacting us. The band into which each house is put depends on the estimated market value of the property on 1 April 1991. This takes into account the location and state of the property. If the property was built after 1991 the Assessor makes an estimate as to what the market value would have been. If you do not agree with the band your property has been put into you should contact the Assessor for Central Scotland, Hillside House, Laurelhill, Stirling FK8 2NA (telephone 01786 892200).

The Council Tax is a local property tax. It is based on two adults living in a property. If there is one or no adults living in a property, you may be able to claim a reduction on your Council Tax bill. More information can be found on the Council Tax Reduction section|.

The Council Tax Reduction Scheme replaced Council Tax Benefit from 1 April 2013, and helps people on low incomes pay their Council Tax. It does not cover Water and Waste Water charges. All tenants and owner occupiers who are liable to pay Council Tax can apply.

Housing Benefit is also available to help social sector or private sector tenants on low incomes pay their rent.

More information on how to apply for help can be found on the Housing Benefit & Council Tax Reduction page|.

There are other status discounts/exemptions that you may also be able to apply for to reduce the amount of Council Tax you have to pay. More information can be found on the Council Tax Reduction section|.

Council Tax liability

A bill is issued to every liable person at the start of each financial year to let you know the amount you are due to pay and when the payments are due.

If there has been an award/amendment or cancellation of exemption, discount, disabled person's relief or reduction, a bill is issued to confirm the adjusted amount you are due to pay.

If you have moved into a property in the Falkirk Council area a bill will be issued.

A Council Tax bill is sent to every property on the Valuation List. To decide who is liable to pay the Council Tax, you go through the list below until you find the first statement that fits a member of your household who is 18 years of age or over. That person or person(s) will have to pay the Council Tax and are called the "liable person(s)". They are the

  • person(s) who own and have their sole, or main residence in the property.
  • person(s) who have their sole, or main residence in the property and is the tenant(s).
  • person(s) who have their sole, or main residence in the property and is the sub tenant(s).
  • person(s) who have their sole, or main residence in the property.

If no one has their sole, or main residence in the property, then the liable person is either

  • the sub-tenant with a lease over 6 months
  • the tenant with a lease over 6 months
  • the owner.

In the majority of cases the owner or tenant are normally the people who are due to pay the Council Tax. If a house is empty or if it is no one's main residence, the owner of the property will usually be the person who has to pay the Council Tax.

Sole or main residence

In most cases the decision regarding your sole or main residence is straightforward. This is because the majority of people only have one house and they live in it, so this is their sole and main residence.

Where you are involved with more than one property for any reason, then the council has to establish which property is your "sole or main residence".

If you are associated with two homes, then we will ask you to complete an application form and provide any information we need to help us determine what property is your main residence. Examples of the information we need to help us make this decision are, what your connection is to the properties you are associated with? e.g. owner, tenant, linked to employment, where your partner and children reside, go to school etc., and do you have an intention to return to the property.

Once we have gathered all the information, we will determine what we regard as your sole or main residence and notify you of this.

Joint and several liability

When we are deciding who is liable to pay the Council Tax using the above list, and we establish that more than one person matches the statement on the list, we hold all these people liable for Council Tax. e.g. if two brothers jointly own a property and both live in the property, they are both liable for the Council Tax.

Married couples or people living together as husband and wife are also jointly liable for Council Tax. Being jointly and severally liable does not mean that you only pay a proportion of the Council Tax. We only send one bill to the property no matter how many people are liable. It is up to the people named on the Council Tax Bill to decide how much each individual pays.

There are three special cases where the joint and several liability rules do not apply:

  • Severally mentally impaired people are not held jointly liable.
  • Full time students are not held jointly liable.
  • Couples of the same sex are only jointly liable if they both match the same statement on the hierarchy list, e.g. they are joint tenants.

Council Tax reductions

There are circumstances in which you may be entitled to a reduction on the amount of Council Tax due.

Can I claim a discount / exemption on my Council Tax?

You may be eligible for a reduction on your bill, this depends on your individual circumstances, and you should contact us for more information. Here are some of the more common reductions.

  • Where there is only one adult resident a 25% discount can be awarded (Single Person Discount Form). In addition to this certain categories of people are not 'counted' when establishing how many adults are resident. These categories include full time students, apprentices, severely mentally impaired persons, carers, recent school leavers and people in hospital or care homes. If someone in your household falls into one of these categories you should contact us for more information.
  • Where there are no adults resident can be awarded. Historically a 50% discount was awarded in these circumstances however, from 1st April 2005 unoccupied properties only receive a 10% discount by default. There are certain situations where an exemption (see below) or a 50% discount can apply. If you are liable for a property that is no-one's sole, or main, residence you should contact us for more information.
  • Exemptions can be awarded in certain circumstances where the property is unoccupied and unfurnished. Or where it is unoccupied because the previous occupant is in hospital/care home or prison. There are also special circumstances where the property can be occupied, but an exemption may be awarded, these are where all of the occupants are full time students, severely mentally impaired or aged under 18. If you think you may be entitled to an exemption please contact us for more information.
  • Disabled relief can apply when someone who lives in your property has a permanent and substantial disability. In addition to this disability they must either use a wheelchair indoors or have an additional bathroom/kitchen or room within your property specifically for their needs. If you think you may qualify contact us for more information or download an application form.
  • Council Tax Reduction is a means-tested financial assessment and is targeted at helping on low incomes pay their Council Tax. More information can be found on the Housing Benefit & Council Tax Reduction page.

Council Tax valuation bands and charges

The Council are responsible for setting the Council Tax each year. The Waste and Water charges are the responsibility of Scottish Water.

The Council is required to bill and collect the Water and Waste charges for Scottish Water. 

Details of the current Council Tax and Scottish Water charges per band are detailed within the Council Tax Guide (PDF, 1.2MB)|. Other useful details are also contained within the guide.

A history of Council Tax charges in Falkirk is shown below for reference:

 Council Tax band D history
Year Annual band D Tax

      Increase      

                       

£

£

%

2014/15

1070

0.00

0.0

2013/14

1070

0.00

0.0

2012/13

1070

0.00

0.0

2011/12

1070

0.00

0.0

2010/11

1070

0.00

0.0

2009/10

1070

0.00

0.0

2008/09

1070

0.00

0.0

2007/08

1070

25.00

2.4

2006/07

1045

46.00

4.6

2005/06

999

48.00

5.0

2004/05

951

45.00

5.0

2003/04

906

43.00

5.0

2002/03

863

50.00

6.2

2001/02

813

56.00

7.4

2000/01

757

38.00

5.3

1999/00

719

20.00

2.9

1997/98

680

56.00

9.0

1996/97

624

76.00

13.9

Council Tax arrears

Council Tax must be paid in accordance with the instructions on your bill.

When one instalment or part of one instalment is missed a reminder will be issued.

If you bring your account up to date and keep it up to date no further action will be taken.

If you do not pay per the reminder you will receive a final notice.

When a final notice is issued you have lost the right to pay by instalments and your full balance is due.If you receive a final notice it is not enough to bring your payments up to date, you must pay the full balance on your account or contact us to discuss an alternative payment plan.

If you do not pay per the final notice, the Council will apply to the Sheriff Court for a Summary Warrant.When a Summary Warrant is obtained you incur a surcharge of 10% of the outstanding balance.

Please remember to make your payments by the 1st of each month to avoid recovery action.

If you do not make payments as directed on your bills and reminders or do not maintain arrangements you have made with us you will be charges a surcharge.

Council Tax appeals

For information on Council Tax appeals please download our "All you wanted to know about Council Tax Appeals & Appeal Form" (PDF, 49KB)|.

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