Frequently asked questions

also known as: Account enquiries.

This page contains answers to the most common questions that our council tax team are asked.


The Northumberland County Council element of the Council Tax has increased by 1.98% from last year.

You may also notice an increase in the parish element of your Council Tax.  The budgets for parishes are set by each individual parish and are not determined by Northumberland County Council.  Enquiries regarding the amount of parish precepts should be directed to the relevant parish clerk.

Parish and town councils can raise revenue to help meet their spending requirements by issuing a 'precept'.

This is the total amount to be raised through the council tax from all the dwellings within the parish area. The 'Precept' is converted into an amount per council tax band that is added onto the council tax bill.

The parish or town council notifies Northumberland County Council of the amount of their precept each year and the council collects this money on their behalf.

If you would like details of what the money is used for in your parish please contact the clerk of your parish or town council

If you have been sent a bill it means we think you are responsible for paying council tax on the property detailed on the bill.

The bill will show what needs to be paid and details of the instalments over which this amount is to be paid.

If you don’t think you should be paying council tax on this property you must contact us.

If we have received details advising of a change of circumstances it could be that we have not yet processed it.

We try to complete changes as soon as possible but during busy periods it can take up to 21 days. Provided that the information has been received an amended bill will be sent to you in due course.

Until you receive an amended bill you should pay the instalments outlined on the most recent bill you have received.

If you cannot afford these payments please contact us

This enables customers to pay their bill free of charge at any post office or pay point outlet using the barcode on their bill.

Taxpayers have the right to appeal against their council tax band.

If you think it may be incorrect you need to contact the Valuation Office. The telephone number is 03000 501501. In the meantime the amounts shown on your bill are due.

The council tax bills were processed on 23 February 2014 so it could be that you have made the payment since that date.

If you require confirmation that your payment has been received by the council please contact customer services on 0845 600 6400 or email counciltax@northumberland.gov.uk.

Council tax funds the services provided by Northumberland County Council, The Police Authority and local parish councils i.e. bins, fire service, education, social services, grass cutting, highways etc.

You do not need to complete a new form.

Your bill will state the method of payment, if it states direct debit, payment will automatically be taken.

If it doesn’t state direct debit then you will need to set up a new payment plan.

Set up a direct debit online

In order to set up your direct debit instruction on-line you will need to provide the following information through the setting up procedure. (your cheque book or debit card contains all the bank details that you will need):

  • Bank or building society name
  • Bank account number
  • Sort code
  • Branch address
  • Council tax account number (10 digits)


You can also do this on the telephone by ringing the council tax team on 01670 624884 (Mon-Fri 8.30am to 5.00pm).

Alternatively you can either complete the DD mandate which was enclosed with your bill or download a DD mandate from here.

We usually offer 10 instalments from April through to January. Each instalment is due on the 1st of each month, with the exception of bills paid by direct debit where payment on the 15th and 28th of the month are also available. The option to pay by 12 instalments is now available.

A request for 12 instalments from April 2014 to March 2015 should be made to the Council Tax Section no later than 15 April 2014.

Set up a direct debit online

If you receive a bill during the financial year then we will offer as many instalments as there are left.

The option to pay over 12 months for council tax and business rates is now available. For direct debit you can opt to pay on 1st, 15th or 28th of the month. For CASH payers we can now offer 12 months but only with an instalment date of 1st of the month. If you wish to opt to pay by 12 instalments please contact us or you can set up an on-line direct debit.

Set up a direct debit on-line

You can do this on the telephone by ringing the council tax team on 01670 624884 (Mon-Fri 8.30am to 5.00pm) who can set this up for you.

alternatively you can either complete the DD mandate which was enclosed with your bill or download a DD mandate from here

Whilst we don't offer weekly instalments as long as you are in advance of your instalment plan there's no problem with you paying weekly.

You should aim to have each instalment paid by 7th of each month to avoid a reminder being issued.

Special expenses are applied when Northumberland County Council provides a service in a parish which is provided in other parishes by a town or parish council.

The cost of this service has to be met by the council tax payers of the town or parish where Northumberland County Council is providing the service so a special expense is charged to the council tax payers of that parish.

For 2014/15 Northumberland County Council has applied special expenses to 10 parishes.

Details of the parishes affected by Special Expenses for 2014-15

If you feel your council tax bill is wrong then you must contact us immediately.

In the meantime however payments should still be made in accordance with the most recent bill you have received.

It could be that you have signed up for electronic billing or there is an outstanding change in circumstances to process and your bill has been referred.

If you have signed up for online billing you will have been sent an e-mail from a company called Onevu advising you that your bill is available to view on-line at your website. If you would still like a paper bill to be sent to you please contact customer services and they will arrange with the council tax section for one to be issued.

If you have a holiday home you will have to pay either council tax or business rates for it. The distinction depends on how many days per year it is available for let to other people. If throughout the year it is available for less than 140 days per year then you will pay council tax for the property as a second home.

If the property is available for 140 days or more throughout the year then you will pay business rates for it.

If you have a bed & breakfast then the decision on whether council tax or business rates are payable rests with the Valuation Office. Their decision is based on how many people the bed & breakfast caters for and whether being a bed & breakfast is the primary use of the property.

For further information contact us on 0845 600 6400, or visit GOV.UK.

If you are moving house you will need to contact the council and supply information relating to your move, (you may be entitled to a refund if you are moving out of the Northumberland area).

We will need to know:

  • Who you are.
  • Where you are moving from
  • Where you are moving to
  • The date you are moving
  • Whether you were / are the tenant or the owner of the property
  • If you own the property you are leaving / moving into, we need to know the completion date and names of the new / previous owners
  • If it has not been sold, but you have moved out, we need to know if it is furnished or unfurnished
  • If you have bought the property, but not moved in, we need to know if it is furnished or unfurnished
  • The name and address of your solicitors
  • If you did not own the property you are leaving / moving into, we need to know the name and address of the owner
  • The date your tenancy ended / began (if applicable)
  • Whether it has been let furnished or unfurnished
  • If you are moving out because your home has been repossessed please make sure you let us know the date the property is being repossessed and the mortgage lender who is taking it over
  • Click here to download a change of circumstances form

If any of the above information is not provided it may mean a delay in processing your change of address.

The easiest way to register a change of address is by phoning the contact centre on 0845 600 6400. This ensures all council departments are notified of your change.

A range of discounts are available based on your personal circumstances. A range of property exemptions are also available. Visit the discounts and exemption page for more information.

Alternatively you can call the contact centre on 0845 600 6400.

From 1 April 2013 second homes no longer qualify for a 10% discount. The 2014/15 annual bills have been issued showing a full charge.

With effect from 1 April 2013 if a property has been unfurnished and substantially unoccupied for more than 2 years an empty homes premium may apply, this is an extra 50% charge meaning customers who are charged a premium will pay the equivalent of 150% charge.

There are no longer class A and class C exemptions. Class A was where a property required or was undergoing major repair works and lasted for up to 12 months.

Class C was where a property was unoccupied and unfurnished and lasted for up to 6 months. If you were getting an exemption which would have gone beyond 1 April 2013 you would have been charged full council tax from 1 April 2013.

If you are having trouble paying your council tax it is important you contact us immediately on 0845 600 6400.

If we are aware of your situation we will do all we can to help you. Please do not ignore your bill. This will lead to formal recovery action that will add further costs to your account. You may be entitled to a discount or help through Council Tax Support. Rescheduling your payments may also help you.

Please contact us immediately if you require any further information.

If you miss a council tax instalment you will receive a reminder notice. This will give you 7 days to pay the outstanding amount.

If you do not pay this amount the full annual charge will need to be paid. If it is not paid within a further 7 days formal recovery action will be taken.

You will only receive two reminders within a financial year. On the third missed payment a Final Notice will be issued. This will demand the remainder of the years charge and removes your right to pay by instalments.

Now you can save time, hassle and paper by managing your bills securely online - for free. Find out more here.

 

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If you have any suggestions regarding items that you would find useful on our Council Tax web pages please email QualityAssurance@northumberland.gov.uk who will consider any suggestions for improvement.