The council tax system
The council tax system was introduced in England, Wales, and Scotland in 1993 as a successor to the
Community Charge, also known as the poll tax. Although council tax exemptions are determined based
on personal characteristics e.g. students, people living with a disability, it is primarily a property tax.
Dwellings in England are placed in one of eight bands (A to H), based on property value. The values used
were assessed by the Listing Officer on April 1, 1991. A revaluation in England was planned for 2007, but
postponed in 2005 by the Labour government and subsequently postponed indefinitely by the Coalition
In Wales, a complete revaluation of properties was conducted in 2005. While many homes were placed
in different bands, the overall impact of the review was revenue neutral i.e. it neither boosted nor
diminished tax receipts.
In England, payment amounts for band D are set by local government and payment amounts for all other
bands are calculated as a proportion of the band D payment. Property value bands and payment ratios
are outlined in Table 1.
Table 1: Council tax bands in England
Source: Council tax information from the National Archives
England council tax receipts in the 2013/14 fiscal year accumulated to £23.4 billion. The Office for Budget
Responsibility (OBR) projects that receipts will rise to £24.0 billion in 2014/15 and reach £27.2 billion by
Property value (in
Tax amount as
Tax amount as
£40,000 or under
© Centre for Economics and Business Research - Report Commissioned by Howard Cox for the FairHomeTax.UK Campaign