How To Cancel Council Tax When Moving House

How To Cancel Council Tax When Moving House Featured

Moving home is a stressful enough experience just from the logistics. Your to-do list is endless, and one must-do action item is to contact your local council.

Unless you have some sort of council tax exemption, you will have to make sure that you’re paying the right amount for the correct property. Not doing this on time when your address changes could leave you open to fines.

The good news is, though, that the process is actually not as complicated as many people think. However, there are a few steps you have to get right when moving house.

Let’s get right to it.

Canceling Your Current Local Council Tax

Whether you’re living in rented accommodation or your own house, you have to start the process by informing your current local council that you will no longer live at the address from a specific date.

You will need to go to the office at your council to fill out paperwork, which includes information about what address you can be contacted at after moving.

Keep in mind that there may be some waiting lists to contend with, so this is not something you want to leave until the day before moving (more on the timing shortly).

If you’re moving to a property covered by the same local authority, then the next step may be possible with one visit.

Registering With Your New Local Council

Man working on laptopOne thing you can check while you go through the process of canceling your current local council tax is whether the same council area covers your new address. If this is the case, then your council tax account will be updated for the new property.

However, if you’re moving to a completely different area, then you will have to go to the council offices in person to set up a new account. Your new tax account will be based on the house or apartment you’re moving to.

Within a few days of the moving date, you’ll receive a bill from the new council based on how your property has been assessed for a specific tax band. Pay close attention to the band that you have been assigned and contact the council immediately if you find there is an issue. Paying too much or too little could ultimately see you out of pocket.


How Long Does The Process Take?

Filling out the paperwork at the council office only takes about 10 minutes, but you have to allow for queuing and then the actual back-office work to complete. Overall, it is safe to say that the process could take about 4 weeks to fully update or transfer your local council tax account.

However, there are certain times of the year when the workload may increase at the council or when more civil servants could be on holiday.

The best thing you can do is contact your council as soon as you know that you’re moving to find out what the current expected time would be.

When Should You Start The Process?

Man holding moneyThe safest approach to this question is to head to your council office about 1 month before your moving date. This will ensure that you allow enough time for any possible waiting periods.

The main reason to do this so early is to avoid ending up in a situation where you end up with an overlapping period, which you may have to pay and then try to claim back.

What Information Will You Need To Provide?

It happens too often that people go to their local authority offices only to have to go back because some important information was missing. You can avoid this by having the following information at hand:

  • Some offices will require a form of ID, so make sure you have a driver’s license or passport handy.
  • You can speed things up by having your current council tax account number with you.
  • You’ll need your current and new address.
  • As a tenant, you’ll need to provide information about your last rental date and the date your new tenancy starts.
  • Also, bring the contact information for the landlord of the new and current property.
  • If you own the property, then you’ll need to provide the closing date of the purchase contract.
  • Have the contact information for any solicitor acting on your behalf at hand as well.

Can You Get A Refund On Council Tax If You Move?

Yes, you can get a refund on your council tax if your account ends up in credit after you move. This most often happens when people are under time pressure to move, or they have left it too late.

Your local authority will have all details on file, and if you have paid a tax bill that covers a period beyond a moving-out date, then you can apply for a refund to be paid out to you directly.


Working Out Your New Council Tax Rate

Man calculating taxesOnce your property tax band has been calculated, your account will reflect what you need to pay every month. But before you just start paying the council tax bills you receive, take the time to double-check the selected band is actually correct.

The bands are different throughout the UK [1], so make sure you keep that in mind when you’re trying to work out the band you’re in.

If you think that you’ve been incorrectly assessed, then contact your local authority immediately to have it rectified

Council Tax Bands In England

Tax Band Value Ranges
A Under £44,000
B £44,000 to £65,000
C £65,000 to £91,000
D £91,000 to £123,000
E £123,000 to £162,000
F £162,000 to £223,000
G £223,000 to £324,000
H £324,000 to £424,000
I Over £424,000

Council Tax Bands In Wales

Tax Band Value Ranges
A Under £27,000
B £27,000 to £35,000
C £35,000 to £45,000
D £45,000 to £58,000
E £58,000 to £80,000
F £80,000 to £106,000
G £106,000 to £212,000
H Over £212,000

Council Tax Bands In Scotland

Tax Band Value Ranges
A Under £27,000
B £27,000 to £35,000
C £35,000 to £45,000
D £45,000 to £58,000
E £58,000 to £80,000
F £80,000 to £106,000
G £106,000 to £212,000
H Over £212,000

“Your council tax band determines how much council tax you pay. It’s calculated based on the value of your property at a specific point in time. For instance, in England, your council tax band is based on what the value of your property would have been on 1 April 1991.”
– Danielle Richardson, contributor at


How do you find your council tax account number?

You can find your council tax account number at the top of page one of a council tax bill. Alternatively, if you pay your tax by direct debit, then you should also be able to see your account number on a bank statement.

Do you pay council tax if your house is empty?

Yes, you pay council tax if your house is empty, but you may be able to negotiate a discount. It’s also common to pay a higher rate if the property is empty for more than 2 years unless you’re in the armed forces.

Can you claim back overpaid council tax?

Yes, you can claim back overpaid council tax if your account is in credit. This can happen if you’ve either been assessed based on the wrong value or if you moved house and didn’t inform your council in enough time.

Can a council tax reduction be backdated?

Yes, a council tax reduction can be backdated, but this is generally limited to 6 months. That’s why it’s important to always check you are correctly assessed as it could happen that you overpay by hundreds of pounds that you may not be able to get refunded.

Bottom Line: Don’t Leave This Job Until the Last Minute

Moving house is a stressful enough undertaking without having the hassle of paying council tax on more than one property unnecessarily. With all the expenses involved in moving, this is one you can easily avoid.

As soon as you know when your moving date is, make sure you take enough time to get your tax accounts updated and set up. If there are any changes in the actual date, it’s a lot easier and faster to change the moving date, than to start the entire process from scratch.

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Anthony King

I'm Anthony King, founder and CEO of Transport Executive. I've spent the last 5 years writing, taking care of my dogs, and enjoying life as it should be. I'm also a beer enthusiast by trade and a wine connoisseur. You can learn more about me and the company here.