Council Tax: what is it & how do I pay
How much will I pay?
The amount of council tax you pay depends on:
- The valuation band of your property
- Where you live (Winchester town or in a Parish)
- Any discounts, exemptions or reductions you are entitled to
- Any award you are entitled to under the council tax reduction scheme
When are my payments due?
At the start of each financial year you will receive your council tax bill payable in ten monthly instalments. You can request to pay over 12 instalments, provided you apply by 15 April each year. This is the time scale set by Government.
If you move into the district later in the financial year, or have an adjustment to your account during the financial year, you will be given as many monthly instalments as the council tax regulations allow, using the 'ten months' scheme as default.
Direct Debit payments are collected automatically. You can chose a payment day of the 5th, 15th or 25th of the month (or nearest working day afterwards).
All other payment method instalments are due on the 1st of the month.
Ways to pay
Go to Manage your Council Tax online to set up a Direct Debit. You will need your bank details and your Council Tax account reference number that starts with a '5'. If you have any difficulty with this then please contact the Revenues section on 01962 848 288.
The Direct Debit Guarantee protects everybody who pays by direct debit and means that you are always in control of your money. Make sure you keep a copy of the guarantee.
Direct debit saves you time and hassle and is one of the most cost effective payment methods for the Council.
You can chose a payment day of the 5th, 15th or 25th of the month (or nearest working day afterwards). And there is no need to cancel your direct debit at the end of the financial year and set up another one for the new year - we will only collect the payments advised to you on your Council Tax bill. For the next year we will create a new set of instalments for you which, again, will be included in your bill.
Using your iPhone, Android or Blackberry phone
Use the "Your Winchester" mobile phone app to make online payments from wherever you are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Currently available for iphone, Android and Blackberry phones the app is available by visiting your app download function on your phone or from the links below.
Download for your device now:
By Electronic Payment
Online using our e-capita site (debit cards only)
via a touch-tone telephone system. Telephone 01962 848 512 and have your Council Tax reference number and debit card handy. (We do not accept credit cards)
Online by using your bank's accounting facility quoting your council tax account reference. Pay to National Westminster Bank the sort code is 57-73-05 and the account number is 00000000.
It would be appreciated that wherever possible you use the e-capita or touch-tone telephone system (see details above) to pay via your debit card. However, if you are unable to do this then please call the Revenues section on 01962 848 288 who will process your payment. You must have your Council Tax reference with you to use this facility.
Post a cheque
Write your council tax account reference on the reverse of your cheque and post (with your bill AND a stamped address envelope if you require a receipt) to Winchester City Council, City Offices, Colebrook Street, Winchester, Hants, SO23 9LJ. Cheques should be made payable to Winchester City Council.
Please note that the Cash Office will be closed permanently from 11 January 2019.
From the 14 January there will be payment kiosks located within the main reception to pay either by Cash, Debit Card or Cheque.
The reception will be open at City Offices - Monday to Thursday 8.45am - 5pm, Friday 8.45am - 4.30pm.
Please note that we do not accept Credit Card payments for Council Tax.
The Handitill is located in the Reception area in City Offices. It is a quick and hassle-free way to pay. Simply complete the details on the envelope provided, place your council tax bill and payment in the envelope, and drop it into the payment slot on the machine. A confirmation slip will be printed for your records.
When will the payment reach your Council Tax Account?
Direct Debit, debit card payments and payments in person to the cash office will be credited to your council tax account the next working day. For bank payments you must allow extra time for the payment to reach us through the system, sometimes this can take up to 5 working days.
How we decide who is liable to pay
The following list is used to decide who is liable for council tax. The person(s) liable is determined by reference to the list below in descending order:
- A resident at the property, who is the freeholder
- A resident at the property who is a leaseholder
- A resident at the property who is a statutory or secure tenant, e.g. Council or Housing Association homes
- A resident at the property with a licence to occupy the property
- Any other resident
- The owner (if no one lives in the property as their sole or main residence), e.g. second homes
When it isn't clear
Sometimes we may need more information to determine who should pay the council tax bill.
When people live or work abroad, or spend their time living between two properties we have to decide which is the main home. The regulations, together with case law, will help us to work this out. If your living arrangements are not straightforward then please telephone the Local Taxes Section. If necessary we will send you a questionnaire.
The owner (rather than the resident) of certain types of property is always liable for council tax. These properties are:
- Residential care homes and nursing homes
- Properties lived in by religious communities
- Houses in multiple occupation (where the residents pay rent separately for their own room or part of the property)
- A property which is the main home of someone in domestic service and occasionally lived in by the owner.
- Homes of ministers of religion, from which they perform their duties
- Properties provided for asylum seekers.
Joint and several liability
Where two or more people fit into the same category they are jointly and severally liable for paying the council tax which means joint responsibility for paying the whole bill. For example joint owners and joint tenants are responsible for ensuring the whole council tax bill is paid and not just a 'share' each of the bill.
If a liable person has a partner (married, or living together as man and wife) then that partner is also joint and severally liable.
If the council tax bill is unpaid, or partly unpaid then the Council can pursue one or any number of the joint and severally liable persons.
What if I share a house or flat with other people?
Deciding who is liable for the council tax bill will depend on the type of tenancy agreement you have.
Joint Tenancy Agreement
If you hold a Joint Tenancy Agreement then all those named on the agreement are liable to pay (provided their sole or main residence is at the property). Provided we know all of the tenants' names, you will all be named on the bill. Remember you will be joint and severally liable.
Individual Tenancy Agreements
If each resident holds a separate agreement with the landlord, then usually the landlord is liable to pay the Council Tax.
Sometimes we may ask to see a copy of the tenancy agreement(s) if the situation is not straightforward.