When you get your council tax bill it contains all the information you need to know about how much you have to pay and why.

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Understanding your bill
Who has to pay council tax?

People who live in a property as their main home have to pay the council tax for that property. We define you as a resident if you are 18 years old or over and live in a property as your main home.

If more than one person lives in a property, we use a system called the Hierarchy of Liability to work out who has to pay the council tax. The person nearest to the top of the hierarchy is the person who has to pay. Two people at the same point of the hierarchy have the same responsibility to pay. If no one lives in the property then the owner has to pay the council tax.

For a detailed breakdown of your bill visit our understanding your bill page 

Hierarchy of liability

  1. A resident who owns the freehold
  2. A resident who owns the leasehold
  3. A resident who is an assured tenant or is a statutory or secure tenant
  4. A resident who is a licensee. This means that they are not a tenant but have permission to stay there
  5. Any resident, (including a squatter)
  6. An owner of the property who does not live there

Properties where the owner is liable to pay

There are some properties where the owner, rather than the residents, will be responsible for payment. The hierarchy does not apply to these properties. These properties are:

  • Houses in multiple occupation, that is where the residents do not form a single household and pay their rent separately for different parts of the property. The tenants will usually have separate tenancy agreements
  • Residential care or nursing homes, and some types of hostels which provide care
  • Homes occupied by Religious communities
  • Homes which are occasionally occupied by the owner and whose domestic staff are also resident
  • Properties occupied by ministers of religion, as a residence from which the minister's duties of office are carried out
  • Properties provided to asylum seekers

Joint liability

Two or more people may have to pay the council tax for a property.

The circumstances when this occurs are:

  • People at the same position in the hierarchy of liability.
  • Residents who are married to each other or live together as husband and wife or are civil partners or live together as civil partners.

Who is responsible for council tax arrears?

Where there are several people liable to pay the council tax for a property, each person is responsible for the full amount and not just a share of it.  If you pay your 'share' but the other person does not pay their 'share', we can recover the arrears from you, not just from the other person.

Any arrangements about who pays what percentage of the bill are between the payers themselves and recovery action can be taken against each liable person.

We issue an information leaflet to you each year to help you to understand your bill


Paying the right level of council tax
Council tax bands and charges
Frequently asked questions

Q: How do I order an Allpay card so I can pay my council tax by cash at my local store?

A: Email contact@warrington.gov.uk to arrange to have one posted to you, or call into our offices at 1 Times Square and one of our reception team can arrange for one to be posted to you within 10 days

Q: Can I still use the Allpay Card that I had last year to pay this year’s bill?

A: Yes, as long as the account number on your card is still the same as the one on your bill. For council tax it begins 70 and for business rates it starts 10. If your account number has changed then please email contact@warrington.gov.uk and we can arrange a new card to be issued to you

Q: Can I have an explanation of what my council tax is spent on?

A: For a full explanation of your bill visit Your Bill Explained. Your bill will also show a breakdown of charges for Parish Precepts, Police Authority, Fire Authority & Council services

Q: How do I dispute the banding of my property?

A: Contact the Valuation Office Agency on 03000 501 501 or via their website Valuation Office Agency - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Please be aware that when you challenge your banding there is always a risk that it can increase a band as well as decrease

Q: Will my Direct Debit from last year be carried over for this year’s payment?

A: Yes, if your new bill states that your method of payment is "Direct Debit" then we will amend your payment amounts accordingly and continue to take payments on the dates stated.

If you pay by Standing Order, you will need to amend the amounts to be paid yourself at your bank

Q: Can you advise me on the various ways to pay?

A: On the reverse of your new bill you will find details of how to pay, or you can read them at Ways to pay your council tax | warrington.gov.uk.

The best and easiest way to pay is by direct debit, which you can set up by clicking the link above and choosing ‘Set up a direct debit’.

Please note - You can pay by cash at a Post Office but there may be a charge if you don’t have an Allpay Card. It is also not usual practice for us to accept cash at our offices

Q: Have I been granted a Single Person Discount as I am the only person over 18 living in my property?

A: On your bill, around half way down the page, it will state “Less 25% discount as only one adult is resident”, which means you are receiving the reduction.

If you feel you may be eligible for this discount and it hasn’t been applied, apply online at Apply for single person discount | warrington.gov.uk

Q: I have notified you of a change in my circumstances, but it is not showing on my bill?

A: Due to a current backlog of work, we have not actioned all changes before the bills were sent. We will action your changes as soon as we can, and send you an updated bill. If we need further information from you, we will also contact you – you don’t need to call us.

My bill shows a 5% increase why was there not a referendum?

We set the council tax increase for 2024/25 at 4.98% (2.98% council tax general precept and 2.0% adult social care precept) please see page 2 of our budgetary document for the full breakdown.

Unfortunately, regulations require the percentage increase in council tax revenue to be displayed to one decimal place on a council tax bill. Thus, an increase of 3% is shown for Council Tax and 2% for Adult Social Care totalling 5%, which would appear to trigger a referendum, when in fact the increase is 4.98%, which does not.

The council tax caps for police and fire are £15 on a Band D property and £5 on a Band D property, respectively.

Council tax and ‘Freeman of Land’

The Freeman-of-the-Land movement and similar groups, broadly believe that they are bound only by statute laws they consent to.

Being a ‘freeman’ does not exempt any person from the liability to pay council tax.

The liability to pay council tax arises under the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and subsequent regulations. This is a statute created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown.

Liability to pay council tax is determined in accordance with the statutory regulations

The council tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 gives local authorities the right to demand council tax which  is used to fund essential local services.

Payment is not optional nor is it contingent upon either the consent of the council tax payer or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council.

Any argument that the absence of consent or a contract precludes liability to council tax has no legal basis.

Note that we will not respond to correspondence that seeks to rely upon specious arguments that have no basis in statute.