Moving admin made easy: How to cancel council tax when moving house

a stressed homeowner wondering how to cancel council tax when moving house

It’s a well-known fact that relocation is one of the most stressful experiences for people. The mountain of work and preparation is endless and one of those tasks involves knowing exactly how to cancel council tax when moving house.

Unless you have an exemption from paying council tax, you need to notify your council of your house move so that they can cancel your council tax payments. But the journey doesn’t end there – navigating the transition smoothly also involves informing your new local authority.

When it comes to your property expenses, staying on the right track is key. Skipping the step of cancelling your previous council tax could lead to fines – something none of us want. That’s why cancelling your council tax is a big deal, and in this guide, we’ll walk you through exactly how to get it done hassle-free.

Council tax, what is it?

Council tax is dished out by your local government and can be understood as a type of neighbourhood contribution for local services such as waste and recycling, schools and education, and general and environmental health to name a few. It came into effect in 1993 and it replaced the unpopular ‘Poll Tax’, introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government.

The amount of council tax you contribute is based on several factors: the value of your property, your personal circumstances and the level of funding the council needs for their services. If you are considered an adult, not in full-time education, and not covered by any other exemption or relief, you are required to pay Council Tax.

Council tax is calculated by from the value of your property using council tax bands which range from “A” to “H”.

A good thing to know is that cancelling your council tax is relatively straightforward. However, there are some steps that you must get right when it comes to cancelling council tax when moving house.

How to cancel council tax when moving house?

The local council is one of many entities that you need to inform that you are moving house and changing address. Neglecting to do so can lead to a host of complications, so if you want to alleviate the administrative stress associated with moving, it’s a good idea to inform your local council well in advance.

For those who are daft enough to tempt fate, the latest you can possibly leave it is two weeks before moving. It can take several weeks to process an application and cancel your council tax, but this all depends on the volume of work the council office is under at the time. As they say, better safe than sorry!

Fortunately, cancelling your council tax is easier than ever – say goodbye to the days of long queues at the council office. You now have the option to report a change of address online. Simply visit your local council’s website and locate the change of address form within the Residential section. Some councils provide an online form specifically for individuals relocating to or within their council area.

If you don’t feel confident to fill out an online form, you will also be able to ring up your local council to inform them and provide details, or alternatively, you could book an appointment at the office to do the paperwork in person.

For those moving within the same local council, the process should be a little easier. However, if you are moving into an area with a different local authority, you’ll have to register with them and set up a new council tax payment with them.

Councils will offer various convenient options to facilitate bill payments or payments for their services. You will likely need a payment reference number. Usually, this will encompass the following payment methods: online payment, direct debit, credit or debit card, and payments by cash or cheque. Instalment plans will also be available for those seeking alternative payment arrangements.

a couple canceling their council tax when moving house

How to register with your new local council

It’s all well and good knowing how to cancel your council tax, however, you need to set up council tax on your new home too!

Before you cancel your council tax, check if your current local council cover the area you are moving to. If you are not moving far, then this will likely be the case and it will mean that your council tax account will be updated with your new address.

However, if you are moving to a new area with a new local council you will need to register with them and set up payments. Your new council tax account will be based on the property you are moving into.

Within a few days of your move in date you should receive a bill from the council based on the property’s tax band.

Make sure that you check that the tax band you have been assigned is correct and if you think it may be wrong, do make sure you contact your council immediately. You do not want to pay too much or too little.

How long does it take to transfer council tax when moving?

It should only take around 10 minutes to complete the paperwork to cancel your council tax, although updating the details regarding your council tax and transferring your payments will take considerably longer.

The process of cancelling council tax when moving house and transferring payments to a new council could take around 4 weeks.

You should know there are times of the year when cancelling your council tax could be a lot quicker. For example, during periods of reduced council workload or when they have fewer staff on holiday quicker the process may be quicker.

The best way to approach cancelling your council tax is to start the process as early as you feasibly can, and this will ensure the process runs as smoothly as silk. If you are forgetful, we advise putting it in a memorable place or colour on your moving checklist.

If you are still uncertain (or feeling a bit antsy), the council will be able to give you more information on when you should cancel your council tax and how long it will take.

When should you start the process of cancelling your council tax?

As we mentioned earlier, you need to start the process as soon as possible.  It’s advised to contact your council around 1 month prior to your moving date as this allows for plenty of time for any delays.

The main reason you should cancel your council tax as soon as possible is to avoid an overlapping period. If this happens then you must pay the overlapped council tax and then try to claim it back at a later period.

What is council tax overlap when moving house?

When you change from one local authority to another and forget to notify the authorities or do so late, you could end up with overlapping council tax payments and receive two bills.

If you’ve moved from your old property and the taxes have overlapped, you will need to contact the council from where you’ve just moved. Explain the situation and tell them you were not living in the property, and they will know what to do.

Although if you own the house you are moving out of and leave it empty, you will have to pay up to 50% of council tax for the empty property.

Is it possible to get a council tax refund if you move?

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

Your council will have all your details on their system, and they will know if you have paid a tax bill that covers a period past your moving out date.

What information is required when transferring and cancelling council tax?

  • Name
  • Contact number
  • Postcode you are moving to and from
  • Existing account number (if you have one)
  • Date you are moving
  • The end date of your tenancy if you are a tenant
  • Whether the property is furnished or unfurnished
  • The date of moving furniture in or out
  • Name and address of solicitors acting on your behalf
  • Name of the property owner or the name and address of the landlord or agent you were renting from.

Get moving!

There you go: the full process on how to cancel council tax when moving house – no details missed. Understanding this critical aspect of relocation can save you from potential fines and unnecessary complications, so make sure to follow our advice and get your moving admin sorted pronto.

Check out our other handy moving guides on the rest of the VanaMango blog to ensure you stay informed and confident during the move. Your hassle-free relocation journey starts with the right information and guidance!