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Council Tax 2020/21

Council Tax Annual Billing

As of 29 February 2020, an overview of council tax accounts was taken, ready for our new year billing procedure. This means that any changes or payments made to your council tax account after 29 February 2020 will not show on your 10 March 2020 council tax bill, which is the bill for the new council tax year, 2020/21.

If you have submitted any change in circumstances in respect of your benefit claim or council tax account, and you have not received an amended bill prior to 29 February 2020, then you will receive a bill and entitlement letters dated 10 March 2020 based on how your claim or account was prior to that change.

We will not be producing any council tax bills or benefit entitlement letters between the period of 29 February 2020 to 12 March 2020. Therefore, any amended claims or accounts will not receive an updated bill or entitlement letters until after 12 March 2020.

Please note, if you have made a council tax payment after 29 February 2020, this will not show on your 10 March 2020 bill. You will need to deduct any payments that you make after this date from the balance for 2019/20 stated in the "memorandum note" towards the bottom of the bill.

Find out more about adult social care and how this affects your bill.

If you receive multiple council tax bills or benefit notifications the correct bill and letters will always be the one with the most recent date and will supersede any previous bill or letter which has been sent.


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Frequently Asked Questions

+ When will I receive my bill?

You should receive this after 10 March 2020. If you receive multiple council tax bills the correct bill will always be the one with the most recent date and will supersede any previous bill which has been sent.

+ What do I need to do now?

Please read your bill carefully to make sure you know what you need to pay and whether the correct discounts, exemptions and council tax support have been applied to your account.

+ I pay by Direct Debit, do I need to set this up again?

Please check your bill where it says how much each instalment is. Your bill will state how you are due to pay. If it tells you that the instalments are collected by Direct Debit you do not need to do anything as we will automatically change your payments to make sure the right amount is taken.

 If you do not currently pay by Direct Debit and you would like to, please complete a Direct Debit form

+ Do I need a new Allpay card?

No, if you still live at the same address and have the same council tax account number you can continue to use your existing payment card. Please note with effect from 21 October 2019 plastic Allpay cards will no longer be ordered for payment. Instead, a barcode will be printed on your Council Tax and Business Rates bills which you can use instead for scanning at all the same places you used your card.

+ What does 'precept' mean?

In respect of council tax, a 'precept' is a charge collected on behalf of Ashford Borough Council, Kent County Council, The Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, the Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority and our parish councils. We collect the council tax on behalf of all these authorities. Please see the our council tax information leaflet for information about how your council tax is calculated and divided between these authorities.

+ What if I disagree with my council tax bill?

You cannot appeal against the general levels of council tax set by the council each year. Visit the queries and appeals page for more information.

+ Why do I have to pay council tax?

Council tax is used to pay for things such as education, social care, highways and transport, cultural, environmental and planning schemes, refuse collection and to provide other services in your area.

+ What will happen if I do not pay my council tax?

The council tax is a priority bill that must be paid by everyone who is liable. If council tax is not paid as and when it is due, recovery action will be taken which could mean costs being added to your account.

More information regarding this is on the if you don't pay on time page.

+ Why has the council tax gone up?

The average increase in council tax is 3.1% for the Ashford Borough Council element. This increase is to meet the general inflation costs that the council incurs and will also help manage government cuts to our funding.

Visit Kent County Council's website for more information.

+ Why has my council tax gone up by more than 7%?

The overall increase in council tax is 3.9% (this includes the increase for Ashford Borough Council's element, Kent County Council, Adult Social Care, Police & Fire elements). How much the additional increase that you will pay is depends on what parish you live in.

+ Why is the instalment date the first of the month?

The council agreed some time ago to make all payment methods the same payment date. This is to save money by receiving the payments earlier and investing the money to earn interest. It also improves the council's cash flow and will prevent cuts in services.

+ Why do I have to pay some council tax when I am in receipt of benefits?

The Council Tax Reduction scheme aims to help those on low incomes to pay their council tax. The maximum level of support that is now available for working age applicants is 80%. This means that even if you are in receipt of benefits you would still be asked to contribute at least 20% of your Council Tax bill. Ashford is proud to be the only Local Authority in Kent that also offers a slightly higher discount to those households who are considered disabled, or who have caring responsibilities. The maximum discount available to those households is 90%.

+ My property is a second home, why haven't I got a second home discount?

The 10% council tax discount for second homes ended on 31 March 2013. From April 2013 second home owners have to pay 100% of the council tax bill.

+ My property is empty and unfurnished, do I get an exemption?

From April 2013 owners of empty and unfurnished properties may qualify for a six week discount, which will apply from the first day the property is empty. The six week period relates to the property. If there is a change of ownership subsequently, the new owner is only entitled to the remaining part of the six week period, as appropriate. If the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished after the six week period has elapsed, then full council tax becomes payable. Please note, if you have a property that is unoccupied and unfurnished and requires or is undergoing structural alterations or major repair works to make it habitable, you may be able to get a 100% discount on your council tax bill for up to 12 months.

+ My property is empty and unfurnished, why am I being charged double or treble council tax?

Properties that have been empty and unfurnished for a total period of two years or more will attract a 100% surcharge from 1 April 2019. This effectively means the council tax bill will be double. The surcharge was previously 50% but in February 2019 this council approved a resolution to increase the surcharge to 100% from 1 April 2019, in line with new legislation allowing councils to do this.  With effect 1 April 2020 any property remaining empty and unfurnished for a period of 5 years and more attracts a surcharge of 200%. With effect 1 April 2021 there will be a 300% surcharge for properties empty and unfurnished for ten years or more.