Your Council Tax bill

Council Tax is charged on all domestic properties in England and Wales, including houses, flats, maisonettes, caravans and houseboats.

We send you a bill for your Council Tax in March each year for the financial year ahead (1 April to 31 March). We may also send you a revised bill if your account needs adjusting at any time in the year. 

Council Tax only contributes around 20% to help fund the full cost of council services. You can read more about our funding on the 2024-2025 budget webpage.

Our Council Tax bill explanatory notes tell you more about valuation bands, discounts, Council Tax Support and appeals. You might also find our easy read guide to Council Tax useful.

You can view your Council Tax and benefits online by setting up a My Bentax account.

What we do with Council Tax

We use money raised from Council Tax to provide local services like schools, social care, road maintenance and rubbish collection. It only contributes around 20% to help fund the full cost of council services.

Council Tax also contributes to other community services like the police, passenger transport, fire and civil defence, and pensions authority.

How much Council Tax you pay

The amount of Council Tax you pay depends on the value of your property. There are eight valuation bands (A to H) and your Council Tax is determined by the band your property is placed in. These bands are set by the Valuation Office Agency.

You can see what we charge for your area on our Council Tax bands and charges page.

Council Tax is a part-property, part-person tax. The full amount assumes that there are two or more adults (aged 18 or above) living in the property. If only one adult lives there, a 25% discount applies.

Premium charges for empty properties

All empty properties are subject to a full 100% Council Tax charge. Since April 2013, regulations have allowed local authorities to charge additional premiums for unoccupied properties that are unfurnished.

  • If a property is empty for more than one year an additional 100% premium will apply.
  • If a property is empty for more than five years an additional 200% premium will apply.
  • If a property is empty for more than 10 years an additional 300% premium will apply.

From April 2025, as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill 2023, properties that are unoccupied and furnished will also attract these additional premiums.

The empty period is calculated from the date the property first became empty and is not affected by changes in ownership.

Read more about the Council Tax empty property premium.

How to pay your Council Tax

You can pay your Council Tax in monthly instalments over a 10 monthly period. Your first payment should be paid within 14 days from when we send you the bill.

The easiest way to pay is by setting up a Direct Debit. You can also pay by card or standing order. Read more about how to pay your Council Tax.

Council Tax increase for 2024 to 2025

The council’s component of your overall Council Tax bill increased by 4.99% for 2024 to 2025. This is despite efforts to bridge the gap in funding. This is due to:

  • the year-on-year cuts from central government
  • growing demand for our services and inflation

This increase includes:

  • 2% specifically for adult social care services. This is to help continue to provide high-quality care for frail and vulnerable people. It will also help meet increasing demand as the population ages.
  • 2.99% to pay for core services, such as road maintenance, bin collections, recycling, library services, fostering, adoption and school transport.

The increase in Council Tax means that most households will pay less than a £1.50 per week extra. This will raise an extra £5 million in revenue and help us to continue protecting Barnsley’s essential services. We assure you this decision has not been taken lightly and we know that money is tight. A number of options have been explored to prevent our residents from having to dig even deeper into their pockets and to minimise the impact it has on them.

It’s also important to remember that Council Tax only contributes around 20% to help fund the full cost of council services. This is a small proportion of the total amount of money we’ll spend delivering our services.

We’ll also be looking at least £8 million in efficiencies across the council. We're looking at changing the way we deliver our services to meet our residents’ needs. This will have no impact on the services you receive.

What the 4.99% Council Tax increase means to you and your family

The financial impact of the increase will depend on the housing band in which you live. The table below shows the total weekly and annual charge based on your housing band.

If you live in an area that has a parish council, your Council Tax may be different depending on the precept added for your area. Find out more about Council Tax bands and charges.

Band Barnsley Council South Yorkshire Fire South Yorkshire Police Total 2024-25 Council Tax Weekly cost Monthly cost (over 12 months)
A- £994.82 £47.25 £139.47 £1181.54 £22.72 £98.46
A £1193.79 £56.70 £167.36 £1417.85 £27.27 £118.15
B £1392.75 £66.15 £195.25 £1654.15 £31.81 £137.85
C £1591.71 £75.60 £223.15 £1890.46 £36.36 £157.54
D £1790.68 £85.05 £251.04 £2126.77 £40.90 £177.23
E £2188.61 £103.95 £306.83 £2599.39 £49.99 £216.62
F £2586.54 £122.85 £362.61 £3072.00 £59.08 £256.00
G £2984.47 £141.75 £418.40 £3544.62 £68.17 £295.39
H £3581.36 £170.10 £502.08 £4253.54 £81.80 £354.46

Paying for adult social care as part of your Council Tax

The adult social care precept was introduced by the government in 2017-18. This is to allow councils that provide social care to raise additional funds to spend on adult social care. The number of older people living in Barnsley continues to grow. This puts a lot of pressure and demand on our social care services. This brings with it a huge cost and impact on our budget.

The government have again allowed councils to charge an adult social care precept. Because of the ongoing pressures within this service, the difficult decision was taken to charge 2%.

If you're struggling to pay your Council Tax

We’re providing additional Council Tax Support to around 24,000 households across the borough.

If you’re struggling to pay your Council Tax and can’t access local Council Tax Support, we have a Council Tax hardship support scheme. You might be able to access this depending on your circumstances.

Take a look at our More Money in Your Pocket webpages to find support available for:

  • Food and housing costs
  • Utility bills
  • Managing your money
  • Employment and improving your skills

Council Tax liability

Only people aged 18 or over have to pay Council Tax. If more than one person aged 18 or over lives in your home, the one nearest the top of this list will be responsible for paying Council Tax:

  • Resident freeholders (owner occupiers)
  • Resident leaseholders (this includes assured tenants under the Housing Act 1988)
  • Residents who are statutory or secure tenants (rent payers)
  • Resident licensees (those who have a contractual licence to occupy the property)
  • Residents with no legal interest in the property
  • Owners (if the property has nobody living in it)

Joint and several liability

This is a legal term. It means if more than one person is liable for the Council Tax at a property, each of them will be liable for the whole amount, not just a share of it. This could be the case if there are joint owners or joint tenants for example. Each of them can be asked to pay the full amount outstanding.

Married couples or people who live together as a couple are held jointly responsible.

If any of your circumstances change that could affect your Council Tax liability, tell us straight away. See how to do this on our change in circumstances page.

Liability of owners

If you own a property, you’ll be held liable for the Council Tax during any period when the property is unoccupied. However, you may be able to apply for certain discounts or exemptions.

Owners of properties like the ones below will be held liable for Council Tax even though the property is occupied by others:

  • Care homes, independent hospitals and hostels
  • Those inhabited by religious communities
  • Those occupied by resident domestic staff
  • Those inhabited by ministers of religion
  • Those occupied by asylum seekers
  • Houses in multiple occupation

If you own a rental property and it becomes unoccupied due to a tenant leaving, a 100% discount will apply for up to one month from the date the last tenancy ended.

Challenge your Council Tax liability

You can use our online form if you think that you may have been made liable for Council Tax incorrectly. Please explain why you believe you're not liable, and attach any evidence you have.

Further legal information

You can find out about how Council Tax is spent by viewing our accounts or the budget report.

Payment of Council Tax isn’t dependant on you receiving information about how it’s spent, or if you agree with how it was and is spent.

We’ll proceed against you for non-payment of Council Tax if you fail to pay it.

Find out more about Council Tax on GOV.UK.

Council Tax legality and 'Freeman on the Land'

In the UK, liability for Council Tax is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This statute was created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown. Together with subsequent statutory regulations, the act sets out a local authority’s right to demand Council Tax to fund services within that local authority’s area and who is liable to pay.

The Freeman on the Land movement and similar groups commonly believe that people are only bound by the contracts and laws they have consented to. However, contract law and alleged rights under common law are not the same as legislation relating to the administration and collection of Council Tax.

Liability for Council Tax is not dependant on, and does not require, your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council. Any such assertion to the contrary is incorrect and there is no legal basis upon which to make this argument.

Anyone who withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them.

If you have any concerns over the charging of Council Tax, please seek legal advice, rather than relying on internet sources or forum statements which may be incorrect or misleading.

Council Tax legislation

The legislation that covers Council Tax is freely available from the government website, including:

Some taxpayers have asked whether Acts and statutes of Parliament are an obligation on them, and about the difference between a statute and law, and other similar questions regarding legal matters. Acts of Parliament are statutes which are set out in law. If you have questions regarding other Acts of Parliament or laws, these should be directed to a legal professional, not the council.

Very occasionally we get people who are convinced that they do not have to pay Council Tax and there are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of Council Tax. Anyone drawing on these for advice should exercise caution and seek legal advice before using them as a defence against Council Tax liability based on contract, consent, and common law.

Whilst we do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about Council Tax, we reserve the right to refuse to respond to lengthy spurious enquiries that focus on hypothetical arguments that have no basis in statute which use our resources at the expense of other taxpayers.

Legal information frequently asked questions

"Provide an autographed lawful contract, with both our signatures."

Some residents consider that Council Tax is a contract and requires a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement. As explained, Council Tax is statute, and a contract is not required. Therefore, any reference to the Companies Act, Contract Act, Bills of Exchange Act or other acts regarding companies or contracts is irrelevant.

A variation of this question is 'please provide evidence that I have agreed with you that you can lawfully collect an alleged debt from me'. Again, this is inconsequential, as there hasn’t been an exchange of contracts or agreement. Neither is this required for the levy and recovery of Council Tax.

"Provide evidence that I am lawfully obliged to pay Council Tax."

The hierarchy of who is the liable part to pay Council Tax is contained in the Local Government Finance Act 1992, C14 Part 1, Chapter 1, Section 6-9. Individual agreement of this liability is not necessary or relevant.

"Provide documents containing a wet ink signature."

A signature is not necessary for the billing of Council Tax and no wet ink signature is mandatory on a court summons. Previous case law has clarified that the use of an electronic signature is valid for the purpose of the court signing a summons.

"I’m a Freeman on the Land and am not liable."

Being a Freeman on the Land does not mean someone can choose which laws they adhere to and which they ignore.

"Where a liability order was granted, I require a copy of the liability order for which the notice of liability order was received."

Following the magistrates court hearing at which liability orders are granted, a full list of those granted is produced. The list contains the names and addresses of those taxpayers against who an order was granted together with the amount they owe. This list is produced electronically, and a copy is kept by both the local authority and the magistrates court in which the orders were granted.

The granting of a liability order is a legal process and is not a document, and as such cannot be evidenced in the form of a document.

Please be aware that it is the council's policy to seek the recovery of legal costs, as allowed by statute.