East Lothian Council

Council tax

Frequently asked questions

Housing question mark icon

My house is placed in valuation band C, what does this mean?

Houses are placed in one of eight valuation bands, depending on their open market value at the 1st April 1991. The council tax you pay depends on the band your house is placed in. This is decided by the Assessor for Lothian Valuation Joint Board

If you disagree with the decision, you can email enquiries@lothian-vjb.gov.uk or you can write to:

Assessor for Lothian Valuation Joint Board
17a South Gyle Crescent
Edinburgh
EH12 9FL

Alternatively, you can call 0131 344 2500.

Further information can be found on the following website http://www.lothian-vjb.gov.uk/

Who decides what water and sewerage charges I must pay?

We have to bill and collect unmetered water and sewerage charges on behalf of Scottish Water. We are not responsible for setting water and sewerage charges. If you would like further information about your water and sewerage charges, please contact Scottish Water on 0845 601 8855 or you can write to:

Scottish Water
PO Box 8855
Edinburgh
EH10 6YQ

Further information can be found on the following website http://www.scottishwater.co.uk/

Which properties are exempt from council tax?

Empty properties that may be exempt include those that are being structurally repaired, those that are unfurnished for less than six months and those where the person responsible for paying council tax has died.

Occupied properties that may be exempt include those where only people under 18 live, those where only students live and those where only people who are severely mentally impaired live. A qualifying period applies to some of these exemptions. Exempt properties are those that you do not have to pay council tax on.

Further information can be found on the following link: Information about discounts and exemptions

Who qualifies for council tax discount?

We may award a 25% discount if a person lives alone or if there are two people living in the property, but one is not counted.

We may award a 50% discount if everyone living in the property is not counted. Some examples of people we do not count are those aged under 18, those in long-term care or the severely mentally impaired who live with other adults.

Further information can be found on the following link: Information about discounts and exemptions

Do people with disabilities qualify for a reduction?

If anyone within your household needs to use an extra room or needs extra space because of their disability, you may be entitled to a reduction in your council tax charge.

Further information can be found on the following link: Disabled person reduction

Who qualifies for the council tax reduction scheme? (previously council tax benefit)

The Council tax reduction scheme (previously council tax benefit) is available to help people on low incomes. We can only award the council tax reduction scheme from the Monday after we receive your completed application form. Some people receiving the council tax reduction scheme may qualify for a reduction in their water and sewerage charges. If you qualify, we will show this as a 'water and sewerage reduction' on your bill.

Further information can be found on the following link: Housing benefit and council tax reduction scheme

How do I apply for any of these reductions?

If you would like more information or wish to apply for a council tax discount or exemption, please select Information about discounts and exemptions

What assumptions have been made?

If we have reduced your charge, we do it on the assumption that the reasons why you are entitled to a reduction continue to the end of the financial year. If the reduction is incorrect, or you are no longer entitled to the reduction, or your circumstances change, you must tell us immediately.

If you would like to inform us of a change in your circumstances, please complete our change in circumstances form.

Who pays council tax?

The person or people named on your council tax bill are liable to pay council tax. Any husband, wife or partner will also be responsible for paying the council tax.

How do I pay?

For more information about our methods of payment, please select the following link: Paying your council tax

What happens if I don't pay?

We must receive your council tax payment on or before the instalment date. If we do not, we will issue a reminder and ask you to pay the missed instalment within seven days. If you do not pay the outstanding amount you will lose the right to pay by instalments and a final notice will be issued for the full year's charge. If payment is not made within 14 days a summary warrant will be raised to recover the debt. At this stage a 10% surcharge is added to the outstanding balance on your account.

Further information can be found on the following link: Council tax recovery process

Important information about Universal Credit

From 23rd March 2016, Universal Credit has been extended in East Lothian to include ALL new claimants of working age.

If you are of working age and were intending to make a new claim for housing benefit, you may now be required to claim help towards your housing costs as part of your Universal Credit claim.

You will NOT be able to claim for help with your council tax as part of your Universal Credit claim.  You MUST make a separate claim to East Lothian Council for this.

You can make a claim for council tax reduction online.

East Lothian Council, PO Box 13251, Haddington, EH41 3HA

Telephone: 01875 824314

Help us to reduce paper and costs and receive your future council tax bills by email.

How we use the information you provide.

Benefits are changing. Find out how this may affect you on our Welfare Reform information and advice pages.

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.