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What is council tax and who has to pay

Sole or Main Residence

A person is regarded as living in a property for council tax purposes if it is their sole or main residence. When a person has more than one home we have to decide which is their main residence.

Main residence is not defined in law but over the last few years there have been a number of tribunal / court cases to decide what is and is not main residence. To decide a person's main residence, we consider the following:

Security of tenure / Rights of occupation

At each residence, whether or not they:

  • are an owner
  • are a tenant (and the nature of any tenancy)
  • are a lodger
  • in accommodation provided with employment
  • have a right to occupy a property
  • are occupying the residence under conditions e.g. residence in a country is dependant on holding a work permit

Personal ties

  • At which residence you are registered with a doctor / dentist
  • Where the majority of your possessions are kept
  • Where you return to during periods of leave or at the end of employment
  • Your long-term intentions
  • Are you already regarded as mainly resident elsewhere for council tax purposes
  • Where you are registered to vote
  • Membership of clubs and other social activities 
  • Where you receive post
  • Which property you regard as your main residence
  • How you split your time between your residences

Family ties

  • At which residence your partner / dependants live
  • From which residence your children attend school
  • At which residence you spend time with your family
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