Council tax is an important tax payment that executors have to deal with when taking care of a deceased person’s property.
The responsibility for paying council tax can continue even after the owner’s passing.
It is the duty of the executors to reduce the impact of tax on the deceased’s estate to ensure that any exemptions or reliefs from tax are lawfully claimed.
Six-month council tax exemption
Local councils hold the authority to release properties from the council tax which are not occupied or are ‘substantially empty’.
After the owner’s death, the local authorities usually exempt the property from council tax. A Class F exemption, while awaiting probate. Following the granting of probate a further six months may be possible, unless the property is occupied.
When Class F exemption period begins
Misunderstanding can arise about this six-month exemption period, i.e. when it has to begin. The reason for this misperception is that the local authorities hold the power to make their own rules about the exemption period from council tax, and hence it begins in accordance with the rules set by each local authority. These policies can differ slightly throughout the country.
In most regions, councils agree that the exempt six-month period begins on the granting of probate issued by the Probate Registry. However, some councils settle on the beginning of six-month exempt period right after the person’s death date (thankfully very few).
Sole occupier discount
In cases where there are two adults occupying a property and one of them passes, the responsibility for tax payment is routinely passed on to the other occupant. In that case, a sole occupier discount of 25% is granted. Also, note that if there are more than one person living in the house after the death of the owner and they are above 18 years, they become liable to pay the council tax, with a 25% reduction.
If you ever come across this situation, it is best to contact the council in order to avoid paying any more than what’s necessary. Moreover, you will have to provide a copy of the deceased’s death certificate.
Also, note that a 50% premium for properties that are unoccupied for more than 2 years can apply. It means that that if you own a property that has been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, you will pay an extra 50% council tax, in addition to the full council tax for the property. This means that you will be liable to pay a council tax of 150%.
The only way to avoid this punishing tax is to sell the property or rent it.
Information the council requires
In case, you are dealing with the affairs of someone who has passed away, you need to provide the following information to your council as soon as possible:
- The full name and address of the late person
- Their exact death date
- The full name, address and phone number of the executors dealing with the person’s estate
- The full name(s) of anyone who still resides at the address provided
Press on this link to Find your local council.
365 Property Buyer offers a free probate service, saving you both time and money, once we agree to buy your property prior to the granting of probate along with covering the cost of your legal fees when selling to us.