Council tax FAQ
- What is council tax?
- Who decides how much I pay?
- How do I contact the Valuation Office?
- Do I have to pay the full amount if I live alone?
- What if I am on a low income?
- What if I am disabled, can I get a discount?
- Can I pay my bill in instalments?
- How can I pay my instalments?
- Why have I received a Reminder/Final Notice/Summons?
- What do I do if I move house?
- I have other questions that are not answered here. Who can I talk to?
What is council tax?
Council tax is the financial contribution made by the borough's residents towards the cost of services provided by the council throughout Walsall. For example schools, social services, leisure facilities (e.g. libraries and swimming baths), and refuse collection.
A proportion of council tax also goes to the local transport authority, fire and police services.
Who decides how much I pay?
The council itself is responsible for setting the level of council tax. The amount payable is calculated using the banding of the property which in turn is based on the value of the property. The Valuation Office Agency decides which band your property falls into. Any new properties are reported to the Valuation Officer and we are periodically notified of any new bands or changes to bandings.
How do I contact the Valuation Office?
Contact details of your local Valuation Office are below:
Do I have to pay the full amount if I live alone?
If you live alone (or the other members of the household are under eighteen years of age) your bill may be reduced by 25 %. However, if there are adult members of the household who fall into certain categories this discount can still be granted. If you require further details, please see our discounts and exemptions page. If you would like to claim a discount on your council tax you can complete an online form.
What if I am on a low income?
People on a low income can claim council tax reduction which may mean they have less to pay. You can obtain an application form from the First Stop Shop, Civic Centre, Darwall Street.
What if I am disabled, can I get a discount?
If your property has been adapted to meet the needs of a disabled resident then you may be able to claim a discount. If granted, the discount will reduce your liability by one band. Band A properties receive a discount equal to one ninth of the Band A charge. View our council tax discounts for people with disabilities page.
Can I pay my bill in instalments?
Yes, everyone has the right to pay by monthly instalments. However, it is important to note that if you do not pay your instalments on time the right to pay by instalments will be withdrawn and proceedings will be instigated to collect the charge in full. If you lose the right to pay by instalments it will be returned automatically for the next financial year. (See also Why have I received a Reminder/Final Notice/Summons?)
How can I pay my instalments?
There are several ways to pay your council tax bill:
- By Direct Debit, this is the easiest way for anyone who has a bank account, and is the council's preferred method of payment.
- By debit card over the telephone. Ring our automated service on 0300 555 2852
- By cash or cheque at the First Stop Shop, Civic Centre, Darwall Street.
- At any Post Office by cash, cheque or debit card (no fee is payable provided you give the cashier your bill with the bar code).
- At any PayPoint outlet (cash payments only).
- At any Payzone outlet (cash payments only).
- Online - please visit http://www.walsall.gov.uk/epayments.htm and choose the link for council tax payments.
Why have I received a Reminder/Final Notice/Summons?
If you don't pay enough, pay late or miss a payment completely, we will issue a reminder. If the account is brought up to date within 7 days then the matter will not be taken any further. However, only two reminders will be issued in any one financial year. Any further default will result in the issue of a Final Notice with the right to pay by instalments being withdrawn. The full amount outstanding for the year will then fall due. At this stage simply bringing the account 'up to date' will not be sufficient to prevent legal action being taken against you. If this happens you will be summonsed to appear before the Magistrates’ Court for which you will incur further charges. If you still don't pay the amount due, we can instruct a bailiff to collect the amount or have the money deducted from your wages or benefits. If you find that you are unable to pay your instalments then contact us immediately. If you require more information about debt management then contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
What do I do if I move house?
If you move from one property to another it is up to you to inform us of the change of address. Once notified, we will apportion any charges due and issue new bills or a refund if necessary.
I have other questions that are not answered here. Who can I talk to?
During office hours you can talk to a trained member of staff by telephoning 0300 555 2851, you can email email@example.com or you can visit the First Stop Shop in the Civic Centre, Darwall Street.