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Council Tax

What is Council Tax?

Council Tax is a property tax set by Local Authorities in England, Scotland and Wales to help pay for the local services they provide, such as education, housing, roads, rubbish collection, Social Services, Police and the Fire Service.

The amount of tax may change each year and is paid from the 1st of April until the 31st of March. The amount Council Tax each property attracts depends on which band (A-H) it has been placed in. (All properties were valued in 1991 and placed into bands accordingly.)

What does it mean for me?

You must register with the local authority within which your term-time address is situated and provide them with the following details:

  • The address you are living at
  • The date you moved in
  • The names of any other occupants of the property and the institution of each occupant if  they are students
  • The name of the landlord
  • Your Council Tax exemption certificate (if not living in any of the local authority areas listed below)

Details of how to register and how to claim Council Tax exemption can be found on the relevant local authority website

If you live in a University Hall or in a house where everyone is classed as a full-time student for Council Tax purposes, you will be exempt from paying Council Tax.

  • If you live with someone who is not a full-time student, your household may qualify for a Council Tax discount because you are a full-time student.
  • If you or your household get a bill from your local Council Tax Office, they will require evidence to confirm that you are on a full-time course.
  • We automatically notify the following Greater Manchester Council Tax Offices of our students with full-time student status:
  • If your term time address is within any of the above local authority areas you will not need to ask us for a certificate, although we can of course provide one if necessary.  However, you must still send details of your tenancy to them.  The easiest way is via the above contact links.

Am I full-time or part-time for Council Tax purposes?

You are a full-time student for Council Tax purposes if:

  • You attend a university or college course lasting for at least one academic year - as long as you attend for at least 24 weeks out of the year and study for at least 21 hours per week during term time, or
  • You are under 20 and your course leads to a qualification up to (but not above) A level standard or equivalent - as long as it lasts for more than three months and involves more than 12 hours of study per week
  • You must also be studying at a 'prescribed place of education'. This will include established universities and most colleges.
  • Not all courses count towards 'full-time student' status. For example, distance learning or evening classes do not normally count. Also, a student won't be considered full-time if they are doing a course related to their job - such as day release.

So the question is whether you are studying a minimum of 24 weeks of the year and attending 21 hours per week in term time.

For example:

For a Masters programme term time is normally 48 weeks.

MMU credits comprise 200 hours of study per 20 credits and a full-time Masters course comprises 180 credits

Therefore a student doing 70 Masters credits over 48 weeks will average 700 hours of study divided by 48 = 14.5 hours per week of study. Astudent doing 90 credits will average 900 hours of study divided by 48 = 18.75 hours per week.

Neither student would be full-time for Council Tax purposes.

An undergraduate full-time degree comprises 120 credits per year.  A student doing 90 credits of an undergraduate degree would qualify since the term length is 39 weeks - ie 900 divided by 39 =average of 23 hours per week of term-time study.

Special arrangements apply to full-time students re-sitting units on a part-time basis. Please see, I am registered as a part-time student - do I have to pay Council Tax?

I am registered as a full-time student - do I have to pay Council Tax?

As a registered full-time student you are not liable for Council Tax payments. If everyone in your house is also a full-time student the property will not attract Council Tax.

I am registered as a part-time student - do I have to pay Council Tax?

Yes, if you are studying less than 21 hours per week.  Please see, Am I full-time or part-time for Council Tax purposes?

However, if you are on a full-time course and are having to take a year out, or are just re-taking a couple of units that amount to less than 21 hours per week, you will still retain your Council Tax exemption for this period provided it does not exceed 12 months.

If you are part-time and experiencing financial difficulties, you may qualify for help with Council Tax.

How do I let the Council know I am a full-time student?

The University will pass your details on to the following council tax offices:

  • Bolton
  • Stockport
  • Manchester
  • Oldham
  • Salford
  • Tameside
  • Trafford
  • Wigan
  • Halton
  • Cheshire East

We send updates of enrolled students to the above authorities each term.  The information passed to the above Local Authorities will not automatically exempt students from Council Tax but helps the Council to process exemptions more swiftly. You should still notify the local authority via e-mail indicating that you are a full-time registered student at the Manchester Metropolitan University. The Council will cross reference this with the data supplied by the University (subject to the usual exceptions, e.g., a non-student resident within the household).

If you do not live in one of the above council areas you can get a Council Tax Certificate from your nearest Student Information Point and send a copy to your council tax office with details of your tenancy. Your landlord may also require a copy of the certificate.

I am thinking of moving to Manchester a few weeks before my course starts. Will I have to pay Council Tax?

Yes. You can be disregarded for Council Tax only from the start date of your course.

One person in our household is not a full-time student. How much do we have to pay?

The property will attract a 25% single person's discount from the total bill. If that one person is in receipt of Income Support/Job Seeker's Allowance (income based),

assistance will be given through the Housing Benefit system and the person claiming the Council Tax Benefit should receive the full amount of the bill. The students tenants are not liable for Council Tax.

More than one person in our household is not a full-time student. How much do we have to pay?

There are no discounts if two or more non full-time students live in a property and the total annual charge is payable. The liability to pay is on the non-students; however you may wish to discuss this as a household.

One person in our household is not a full-time student. They have left the property without paying their Council Tax, are we liable?

No, you cannot be taken to court for the non-payment of someone else' bill.

I am thinking of suspending my studies, will I still have to pay Council Tax during my period of suspension?

If you are a full-time undergraduate student (i.e. not part-time) you retain that status from the time you enrol until the time you graduate, even if you take time out. Therefore, you remain 'full-time' for council tax purposes as long as your absence does not exceed one year.

N.B. If you withdraw or abandon your programme of study you will have to pay from the date you finished your studies.

I will be in full-time paid work during my placement year. Will I have to pay Council Tax?

No, providing your placement is part of your undergraduate programme you are still considered to be a full-time student and exempt from Council Tax charges. If you are living outside of the Manchester area for your placement you can show the council your Exemption Certificate.

I am an International Student and I have my family living with me. Are they exempt from Council Tax?

The rules for international students are the same as for home students.  If there is one adult or more in your household who is not a student then Council Tax will be charged.  Please contact the Student Financial Support Unit for advice, in the first instance.

I am a final-year student. When do I have to start paying Council Tax?

You will become liable for Council Tax from the date your University enrolment ends - usually the day after the last day of the summer term.

I am a research student. Do I have to pay Council Tax?

You do not have to pay Council Tax while you are enrolled as a full-time student. If you change your enrolment from full-time to part-time you will become liable for Council Tax from the date of this change.

If you are enrolled full-time, we deem you to have ceased being a full-time student from the date when your thesis is submitted. Your enrolment status will then be shown as 'suspended - examination only' during the period when your viva is being arranged.

Where can I find out more information?

Contact your Local Authority