Council Tax for Students: Don’t pay what you don’t have to!

Posted February 21, 2014 by Student Profit Staff

Depending exactly where you live, council tax can be very expensive but students DO NOT HAVE TO PAY!

But as always with anything involving tax, it’s not always straight forward, so here’s our guide to dealing with it…

Council Tax Bill

Only for FULL TIME students

First things first, council tax exemptions are only for full time students. That’s defined as studying a course which lasts for at least one year and involves at least 21 hours study per week.

If you live in student halls…

This the best case scenario: You won’t be billed or pay for council tax! Awesome, relax and stop reading this and check out some of our other money saving articles.

If you live with other students…

If you live in private student accommodation or any other house with only other students you don’t have to pay but you must tell the council this else you’ll probably get a bill sooner rather than later.

You’ll need some sort of proof of your course so speak to Uni and they’ll provide you with a Council Tax Exemption certificate or similar.

Every person living at your house will need one and once you’ve got them send them off to your local council’s relevant department. You’ll want to make sure they write back confirming that your bill is £0.

If you live with students and part-time students/non-students…

Here is where it gets slightly complex. If you’re living in a house with students and non-students (which also includes part time students) you will need to pay council tax.

HOWEVER…If there is only one non-student living with you, they can get a 25% discount. That discount is fixed regardless of the numbers of students living at the property.

Regardless of whether or not council tax is owed, full-time students are not generally liable for paying any such bill, only the non-students are. Of course, you may wish to help chip in…

(BUT… You may be liable to pay council tax even as a student if it is shared with a non-student and you have a greater legal interest in the property. For example, if you own the property as a student and have a non-student lodger. As we don’t expect any students will own their own place though we won’t get into that special case here…)

Already paid?

Then you may be due a refund! If you paid council tax when you didn’t have then you can get a refund. You can also get a partial refund if you a single non-student who hasn’t applied for the 25% discount – speak to your local council!


Depending on your personal circumstances both students and non-students may be able to claim other relief from council tax. Speak to your local council about what help is available.