Fortunately for most of you readers, you don’t have to worry about council tax for another few years yet. Students, put simply, don’t have to pay council tax – the government doesn’t bother, seeing as they’d be lending you the money to pay it anyway. Bare in mind, though, that for this be applicable to you, you have to be studying for at least one year and for at least 21 hours a week. Not that anybody’s checking how much you’re working, of course, but it might be a good idea to keep to those guidelines as a student anyway.
Of course, sadly, stuff can get a lot more complicated if you’re living in a shared house with some people who aren’t students. What should happen then, if you’re wondering, is that the non-students should pay all of the council tax, whilst the students just pay the rent. Don’t let the landlord tell you otherwise.
Bare in mind, of course, that a council tax bill is per house, not per person. This means that if there’s only one non-student living in a student house, they are liable to pay the entirety of the council tax for the entire house. It doesn’t seem fair, but in the grand scheme of things students aren’t meant to be able to afford things like council tax – they should be too busy studying to find time to make money. That’s the law, and it’s why you don’t often see students sharing a house with non-students; it’s simply not the best set up as far as council tax is concerned.
The same applies even if you’re the only student living in a house of non-students. In this case it might be a little harder to work everything out. Normally the landlord will take a little extra in rent from everyone living there and use this to offset the council tax on the house. If you’ve just moved into this set up, then if you don’t want to pay the tax (fair enough), you’ll have to tell all of your new house-mates or your new landlord that they’re legally obligated to pay your portion of the tax (inadvisable). It’s probably best to not get into that situation in the first place.
If you do receive a council tax bill, then you can simply apply for an exemption here. Similarly, if there’s only one person in the house who’s meant to be paying the tax, they can apply for a discount here. Under normal conditions, this means they should be paying half of what the tax on the house would cost normally. So yeah, there’s a few exceptions. Remember that landlords can be a little crooked about this kind of thing, and make sure that they know you know you shouldn’t be taxed if you’re a student working more than 21 hours a week.
And if that 21 hours per week thing seems high to you, then you have two choices: a) study more, or b) pay council tax. Your move.