Council tax - frequently asked questions

This page contains answers to the most commonly asked questions our council team are asked.

This page helps give you extra information about council tax and what you need to do with your bill.

The Northumberland County Council element of your council tax bill is made up of two amounts; an amount to fund general expenditure and an amount to be used solely for adult social care.  For 2021-2022 these charges for a Band D property are £1638.43 and £185.32 respectively. 
The general council tax amount has been increased by 1.99% from last year. 
The adult social care element represents an offer made by the Government to increase council tax to assist the Council in meeting expenditure on adult social care. A 3% Adult Social Care precept was included in the Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases (Principles) (England) Report 2021/22.  Local Authorities were given discretion to apply the increase over 2021-22 and 2022-23.  Northumberland County Council resolved to add 1.75% in 2021-22 and 1.25% in 2022-23

The additional 1.75% in relation to adult social care is calculated from the total council tax charge for the previous year and is not a 1.75% increase on the previous year's adult social care precept.
For example, the Council’s council tax charge for a Band D dwelling in 2020-21 was £1,760.96 (made up of a general charge of £1,606.46 and an adult social care charge of £154.50) so the 1.75% additional charge for adult social care in 2021-22 is £30.82 (£1,760.96 x 1.75%).  The overall charge for 2021-22 is a cumulative figure so the £30.82 is added to the 2020-21 charge of £154.50 to give a total charge for 2021-22 of £185.32 for a Band D dwelling.

Adult Social Care charge for 2021-22 – Band D

2020-21 adult social care charge 154.50   154.50
2020-21 Northumberland County Council charge 1,606.46    
2020-21 Total 1,760.96    x 1.75% 30.82
2021-22 adult social care charge       185.32
Parish and town councils can raise revenue to help meet their spending requirements by issuing a precept. This is the total amount raised through council tax from all the domestic properties within the parish area.

The 'precept' is converted into an amount per council tax band and added onto the council tax bill. For details on what this money is used for in your parish, please contact your parish clerk here.
From 1 April 2019 the level of support for all working age claimants (18 to state retirement pension age) will reduce by 8% to a maximum level of 92%.  This means that if you are of working age and currently receive full council tax support from 1 April 2019 you will have to pay council tax and for those who pay some council tax you will have to pay more.

Pensioners will continue to receive support up to 100% as that element of the scheme is set by the Government and will not change.

Details of how to pay will be included with the council tax bill.  The bill will be issued requesting payment in 10 instalments but this can be increased to 12 providing you contact the council tax department on 0345 600 6400 when you receive your bill
If you have been sent a bill, it means we think you are responsible for paying council tax on the property detailed. If you don’t think you should be paying council tax on this property contact us by:
We try to complete changes as soon as possible but during busy periods it can take up to 21 days. Once the information has been received, an amended bill will be sent to you in due course.

Until you receive this, you should pay the instalments shown on your most recent bill. We will refund any overpayments. If you cannot afford these payments, please contact us by:
Customers can 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 by contacting the valuation office here or by telephone 03000 501501. In the meantime, you must pay the amount due on your bill. 
The council tax bills were processed after the payments from 23 February 2021 were posted.  If you have made a payment or had a payment collected from your bank account after this date it won't be shown on your bill.

If you require confirmation your payment has been received, please contact customer services on 0345 600 6400 or email
Council tax funds all the services provided by Northumberland County Council, the police authority and local parish and town councils.
You do not need to complete a new form. Your bill will state the method of payment. If this is direct debit, payment will be automatic. If it doesn’t state this, please view here for more information.
We offer 10 or 12-monthly instalments in a full financial year. Each instalment is due on the 1st of each month – except for bills paid by direct debit where payment on the 15th and 28th of the month is also available.

If you receive a bill during the financial year, we will offer as many instalments as there are left in that year.
The option to pay over 12 months for council tax and business rates is now available.
You can pay weekly as long as you are in advance of your instalment plan. You should aim to have each instalment paid by the 7th of each month to avoid a reminder being issued. This is the customer’s duty to set up and maintain, and you won’t need to notify the council tax section.
We recover an element of council tax via special expenses when we provide a service in an area the town council or parish provide in other areas.

The cost of this has to be met by the council taxpayers of the town or parish where we provide the service. For 2021-2022, Northumberland County Council has applied special expenses to one parish.
Parish 2021 - 2022  
North Sunderland 3,216.00 Play area inspection and maintenace
If you think your bill is wrong, please contact us. In the meantime you must pay the amount on your most recent bill:
Your bill may not have been issued if there has been a change in circumstances to process. If you have a query, please contact us by:
Holiday home
You will have to pay either council tax or business rates. This depends on how many days per year it is available for let to other people:
  • If available for less than 140 days per year, you will pay council tax for the property as a second home.
  • If available for 140 days or more per year, you will pay business rates for it.
Bed & breakfast
The valuation office will decide whether you pay council tax or business rates. This will be based on how many people the bed & breakfast caters for and whether this is the primary use of the property.

For further information, contact us on 0345 600 6400 or visit GOV.UK.
If you are moving house, you will need to inform the council tax department either by
A range of discounts and exemptions are available based on your personal circumstances. Please visit the discounts and exemption page for more information.
No. From 1 April 2013 second homes no longer qualify for a 10% discount.
If a dwelling has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for more than 2 years an Empty Homes Premium will be charged. From 1 April 2021 the following premiums will apply:
  • 100% for properties which have been empty and substantially unfurnished for 2 years or more, but less than 5 years. This means 200% council tax is payable.
  • 200% for properties which have been empty and substantially unfurnished for 5 years or more but less than 10 years. This means 300% council tax is payable.
  • 300% for properties which have been empty and substantially unfurnished for 10 years or more.  This means 400% council tax is payable. 
If you are having trouble paying your council tax bill, contact us immediately on 0345 600 6400 and we will do all we can to help you.
If you miss a council tax instalment, you will receive a reminder notice. This gives you seven 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 seven 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 year’s charge and removes your right to pay by instalments.
My Northumberland Account is a free, interactive and secure online service that allows you to access council tax, business rates, council tax support and housing benefit (including a landlord service), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
If you have any suggestions regarding information you would find useful on our council tax web pages, please contact us by: