Find answers to your most frequently asked questions:

  • What can I do if I'm unhappy about the band that my property is in?
  • While my band is being reviewed, do I have to pay Council Tax?
  • Can I get help paying my Council Tax?
  • While my Council Tax reduction claim is being dealt with, do I have to pay Council Tax?
  • I live alone. Do I still have to pay the full Council Tax?
  • Are there any other discounts available?
  • Are there any exemptions from paying Council Tax?
  • Can discounts and exemptions be backdated?
  • Can I get a reduction if I am living with dementia?
  • Can I pay my Council Tax in instalments? 
  • Why am I being charged more for my empty property?
  • How do I appeal against the council's decision to award or not award a discount or exemption?
  • Can the council charge what they want for Council Tax? 
  • Can the council choose what to spend money on?
  • What else is included in my Council Tax bill?
  • Does Medway Council get to keep money raised through Council Tax from the Police, Fire Service and Parish precepts? 

What can I do if I'm unhappy about the band my property is in?

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) values domestic properties for Council Tax. This valuation is used to set your Council Tax band. You might need to contact the VOA if you think your Council Tax band is wrong. You can find out more about when you can challenge your band and what you need to do on GOV.UK. If you challenge your band, you must continue to pay Council Tax at your current band until your appeal is decided. 

You can contact the VOA on GOV.UK. If you are unable to use the online service you can also call on 03000 501 501.

While my band is being reviewed, do I have to pay Council Tax?

Yes. If your appeal is successful you will be refunded any overpaid Council Tax.

Can I get help paying my Council Tax?

If you have a low income or are unemployed, you may be able to claim Council Tax reduction. 

Make a Council Tax reduction claim

If you are suffering financial hardship, you can also apply for Council Tax discretionary relief.

Get help with your Council Tax

While my Council Tax reduction claim is being dealt with, do I have to pay Council Tax?

Yes. If your claim is successful, you will be refunded any overpaid Council Tax. 

I live alone. Do I still have to pay the full Council Tax?

No. Single adult households can claim a discount of 25%. 

Are there any other discounts available? 

In some cases, a discount can be claimed by a household with 2 or more adults. For example, if they include full-time adult students, trainees, apprentices, 18/19 year olds at school, those receiving or providing care, severely mentally impaired, long-term hospital patients, certain categories of prisoners, members of visiting forces, certain international bodies and closed religious orders. If your property has space for someone to use a wheelchair or facilities for use by a disabled person, such as an extra bathroom, you may also be entitled to a reduction.

There is an additional reduction available for:
  • people living in annexes - provided they are related to the person liable to pay the Council Tax of the main dwelling.
  • annexes that are not separately occupied but used with the main property as part of the same residence.
  • unoccupied and unfurnished properties. You can claim a 100% discount (for a maximum of 3 months). You may also be able to claim a 100% discount for up to 12 months if your property is empty and in need of or undergoing structural or major repair work.

Are there any exemptions from paying Council Tax?

Yes. Even if the property is occupied, you may not need to pay Council Tax if every adult in the property is a full-time student, under 18, or severely mentally impaired. Claims must be made when the property is first occupied.

You may not need to pay Council Tax for self-contained annexes. To qualify, the property must be occupied by an elderly or disabled relative of the family in the other part of the building. 

Can discounts and exemptions be backdated?

Normally, we will only consider backdating a discount or exemption to 1 April of the preceding year. In all cases you must supply the relevant information or evidence for the backdated period.

Can I get a reduction if I am living with dementia?

If you or one of your household are living with dementia and in receipt of one of a number of benefits, you may be considered ‘severely mentally impaired’ for Council Tax purposes.

This could mean you are entitled to a discount or exemption depending on who else lives in your home. You may also get a reduction if you have someone living with you who you care for, or who cares for you. 

Can I pay my Council Tax in instalments?

You will normally be offered 10 monthly instalments on your annual bill but you can ask to pay over 12 months.

Why am I being charged more for my empty property?

Any property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 or more years will be charged a 100% additional premium (double the usual amount of Council Tax). Properties empty for 5 or more years will be charged a 200% additional premium (3 times the usual amount of Council Tax).

From 1 April 2022, any properties that have been empty for 10 years or more will be charged a 300% additional premium (4 times the usual amount of Council Tax).

How do I appeal against the council's decision to award or not aware a discount or exemption?

Email us at ctax@medway.gov.uk explaining why you are unhappy with our decision. You can then appeal to a valuation tribunal, if:
  • we do not accept your argument
  • we make a change you do not agree with
  • after 2 months we have not made a decision.

Find more information and appeal online at valuationtribunal.gov.uk

The Valuation Tribunal can also be contacted by phoning 03001 232 035. 

Can the council charge what it wants for Council Tax?

No. Each year the government indicates what it considers to be an excessive increase. If a council increases its Council Tax above this figure, it will trigger a local referendum. If the local electorate votes against the increase the council will have to revert to a Council Tax level that is compliant.

Can the council choose what to spend money on?

There are some services that the council has to spend money on – it has no choice – that’s what the government tells councils to do to meet central targets, for example, spending on schools. There are other services where the council can decide how much it wants to spend and how much it can afford, for example leisure centres and libraries. The council finds out what is important to residents and then it decides what to spend.

What else is included in my Council Tax bill? 

Your bill also includes charges for services that the council doesn’t provide itself, like police and fire services, and if you live in a rural area, a charge by your parish council. There are 11 parishes in Medway.

Does Medway Council get to keep money raised through Council Tax from the police, fire services and parish precepts?

No. The total that will be raised from Council Tax in 2022 to 2023 is £168 million, of which Medway Council will get £140.1million. The remaining £27.9 million goes to the police, fire service and to individual parishes. If you do not live in a parish, you do not have to pay a parish charge, but everyone pays for police and fire services.