Paying council tax after someone dies
Council tax is the cornerstone of every month’s utility bill review, and often the bane of many people’s existence. But after a partner dies, or if you go into hospital for a short time before you die, you’ll be eligible for a council tax reduction. Here’s a look at how death affects council tax.
What if someone goes into hospital or residential care?
If you go into hospital to live out your final days, or equally in a nursing home or residential care, you’ll get a reduction on council tax bills.
Normally, to be entitled to a reduction in council tax (what’s known as CTR) you have to be living in your home. But if you’re at pensioner age, you’re allowed to spend a certain amount of time away from home and continue to get CTR.
If you go into residential care – just to try it out, or for respite care from an illness or fall – you’re liable for a reduction in council tax for up to 13 weeks. Go to the Council Tax Reduction page on GOV.uk to start the process.
Paying council tax when a property is empty
If over time a house becomes unoccupied, due to a death or an owner moving into residential care, then the property will be exempt from council tax until someone new moves in.
The property still remains exempt from council tax after the probate process kicks off. If the home remains empty and it has not been sold, it may be exempt from council tax for a further six months, or until someone new moves in.
After those six months, if the home is still empty and has not been sold, the Executor becomes responsible for paying the Council Tax from the estate of the person who has died.
What happens if the person who paid the council tax dies?
Council tax is a huge chunk of our monthly and yearly outgoings, and can take up a large amount of space in our utility bill budgeting. So when the person who usually deals with council tax dies, those left behind might be surprised by the costs they have to make up.
If just one person still lives in the house and they are over 18, these people become responsible for paying council tax. But if you’re the only one living there, you’re eligible to given a single person discount. This is a 25 per cent reduction off the bill. Go to the GOV.uk website to apply for a council tax discount.
If there’s more than one person still living in the home over the age of 18, then all of you become responsible for the council tax bill.
What if a home is passed on as inheritance through a will?
Once the home has been legally transferred to another person, that new owner becomes responsible for the council tax bill.
Watch out – if you don’t pass on a property and leave it empty for two years or more, there’s a premium charge. If a property has been unoccupied, or what the Government calls “substantially unfurnished”, for a long period of time, you might be charged 150% of the council tax liability.
Find out more
The GOV.uk website has a specific area where you can apply for Council Tax Reduction
At DEATH.io we encourage you to get your death in order. Get the practicalities of this huge area sorted with
A look at the legal side of death with our Legal Matters page
Can’t get enough of death and taxes? See our article on inheritance tax here