Finance · 4 min read

Council Tax: Do Students Pay?

Do Students Pay Council Tax?

If you’ve just moved into a uni flat with your friends and are trying to navigate the world of council tax, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Let’s start by going back to the basics.

What Is Council Tax?

In the UK, most households have to pay an annual fee to the local council which helps finance the services that they provide. Council tax pays for things like maintaining roads, collecting rubbish and street lighting.

Whether or not you have to pay this fee depends on who is living in the property. For example, full-time students, carers, diplomats and under 18s don’t need to pay this annual fee, regardless of who they live with.

Do I Have To Pay Council Tax As A Student?

In general, full-time students do not need to pay council tax. If you’re a part time student you will have to pay the tax, although you might be eligible for a deduction.

In households where everyone is a full-time student, you don’t need to pay at all.

To qualify as a full-time student, your course must last for at least a year and have 21 or more study hours per week. That’s a lot of library time.

But if you aren’t physically in Uni for 21 hours a week, don’t worry. You can still pass these requirements even if you study remotely. However, you must be enrolled in a full-time course. Post-graduate and PhD students are also eligible for an exemption.

If someone in your household does not qualify as a full-time student, unfortunately, you will need to pay council tax. But, you may still be eligible for a discount.

If only one person in your 4 person household is not a student for example, you may be able to receive a 25% discount. But, you still need to fill in a form to notify the council and claim this.

In cases where there are two or more non-students in your house, you will not receive any discount and will have to pay as normal. Bummer.

Am I Automatically Exempt From Paying Council Tax?

If you live in University owned accommodation, you are automatically exempt from paying council tax. Students living in halls of residence do not need to fill out any council tax forms. Phew.

However, if you live in privately owned accommodation, or a student house, you might receive a council tax bill. You do not need to pay this bill, but you do need to apply for an exemption on GOV.UK.

What Do I Do If I'm A Student And The Council Chase Me For Council Tax?

First of all, don’t worry! You only need to apply for an exemption if you have received a bill from the council.

Applying for an exemption as a student is a really easy process. You simply have to ask your university or college for proof that you are a full-time student. They will give you a certificate which is valid up until a year after your course finishes. Then, you upload this document, along with answers to other short questions, to an online form via this link:

Apply for a Council Tax discount - GOV.UK (

Once you have filled in this form, the council will approve your exemption and you will not need to pay the bill.

You will also need to follow the exact same process if you are applying for a discount. However, you must declare if not everyone in your household is a full-time student.


In summary, most properties in the UK must pay council tax, but full-time students never need to pay. If you are living in University owned accommodation, you do not need to worry about doing anything. However, if you live in privately-owned accommodation, you might need to apply for an exemption.

Using government websites should help you navigate through the rules and regulations, so you can stop worrying about taxes and get back to enjoying university life.

Want to improve your financial literacy and work towards your savings goals? Get started with Prograd today.

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