Students on most full-time courses are exempt from paying Council Tax but are required to provide evidence that they are exempt to their council and must not ignore any bills.
When your local council calculates the Council Tax bill for the property you are living in, it will count the number of adults living in the property. Most full-time students are exempt from paying Council Tax. Those who are exempt will remain exempt until they complete, withdraw or are dismissed from their course.
Students can claim exemption from Council Tax if they meet one of the requirements below:
- Under 18 years of age
- 18 or 19 years of age and studying a Further Education course that is at least 12 hours of study per week and lasts at least 3 months (e.g. Foundation Diploma in Art and Design)
- Any age and studying a course that is at least 21 hours of study per week and lasts at least 1 year. This includes all of UAL's full-time BA, BSc, Integrated Masters and MA courses, but it does not include Presessional Academic English Preparation courses.
Note that if you own your home and do not live alone, or have a higher legal interest than the other residents in the property, then you may have to pay Council Tax even if you are a full-time student.
Getting a Council Tax exemption letter/certificate
Your council will not accept that you are exempt from paying Council Tax until you tell them. You can do this by providing them with a personalised Council Tax exemption letter/certificate from UAL. Once you have your letter/certificate, provide it to your council using the method(s) shown on your council's website. Find your local council website.
If your exemption is linked to your age, you will also need to provide evidence of your date of birth using a separate document, e.g. a copy of your passport.
You can get your Council Tax exemption letter/certificate after you have enrolled on your course using one of these methods:
Most students can get a Council Tax exemption letter online.
Current, enrolled undergraduate (e.g. BA) and postgraduate students can download, save and print a personalised Council Tax exemption letter from their online portal. Click on the 'Enrolled Students' menu and then click 'My Study Details'. You will find a PDF version of your letter available to download. You can also update your address and other contact details using this system.
Note that you may not be able to get a letter online during the summer vacation.
College administration office
All students can get a Council Tax exemption letter from their College administration office.
Instructions for each College are in the table below.
If requesting your letter by e-mail, be sure to include your full name, student ID number, term time address, accommodation type (i.e. student hall, shared flat or owned house), name and year of your course, and whether you will be collecting your letter or you would like it to be e-mailed or posted to you.
Make your request at the Student Centre at the Peckham Road site or email email@example.com. Call 020 7514 2106 if you have any questions about getting a letter. The Student Centre is open Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm.
Go to the Student Contact Desk on the 2nd floor of E Block. Call 020 7514 7820 if you have any questions about getting a letter.
Central Saint Martins
Go to room C001 (Student Centre) at King’s Cross or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 020 7514 7202 if you have any questions about getting a letter.
London College of Communication
Go to the Information Centre, e-mail email@example.com or call 020 7514 6599.
London College of Fashion
Go to room 211 at John Prince’s Street or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 020 7514 7461 if you have any questions.
Go to the Contact Desk and complete a ‘letter request form’. The letter can take up to 3 days to produce. Alternatively, email email@example.com. Call 020 7514 9641 if you have any questions.
Students living in the London Borough of Camden can use their Camden resident account.
- If you already have a Camden resident account, log in and complete the 'student exemption' form.
- If you do not have a Camden resident account, you may wish to find out more and create one.
Questions and common scenarios
Below are answers to common questions and instructions for what you need to do if you encounter a range of common scenarios.
What is Council Tax?
Council Tax is a local tax paid directly to the local council, which helps to pay for local public services like policing and rubbish collection. There is 1 bill for each home and the amount due is based on the value of the property and the valuation band it is in. Halls of residence are exempt from Council Tax, so no bills are issued.
Receiving a Council Tax bill
Never ignore a Council Tax bill
If you receive a bill and you think that it is incorrect or your student exemption hasn’t been applied, contact your local council immediately to check what the issue is. You may need to resubmit your Council Tax exemption letters for all the tenants so that the council can issue a corrected bill. You may also need to provide additional evidence of your date of birth (eg. A copy of your passport) if your exemption is partly due to your age.
If you fail to respond to a bill or a reminder letter, it can have serious legal and financial consequences, even if you are exempt. The council will apply to the court for a Liability Order and you will be issued with a Court Summons.
Seek advice from the Student Advice Service if you need help in dealing with the situation.
Receiving a Court Summons
Never ignore a Court Summons
Phone your local council and find out what the problem is immediately, then arrange Council Tax exemption letters if that is what is required. When the council starts legal action, court costs will start to be applied to your account even if you are exempt from paying Council Tax. If the court issues a Liability Order, the council will then try to recover the debt by sending bailiffs or enforcement agents to your home to take possessions up to the value of the outstanding bill. The bailiffs will also have their own charges which may need to be paid. Seek advice from the Student Advice Service if you are issued with a Court Summons or if a bailiff issues an Enforcement Notice.
Living with non-students
If you live with people who are not students or they study part-time, there will be a Council Tax bill issued for the property. If you have given the council your Council Tax exemption letter, your name should not appear on the bill and you will not be jointly liable to pay the bill with the other tenants. However, the other tenants may want you to contribute to the bill, but this would be a personal agreement between you and the other tenants rather than a legal requirement to pay Council Tax.
If you live with only 1 non-student then they must pay the whole bill, but they will get a 25% single occupancy discount. If they are also on a low income they may be able to apply to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
Before and after a course
You will start being exempt from paying Council Tax on the date your course officially starts. Your exemption will stop on the date your course officially ends which is the last day of term, not the date you graduate.
Summer holidays, placement years and time out
You remain exempt from paying Council Tax during the summer holidays between each academic year of your course. Students on placement years, and those who are taking time out of their course, are also exempt.
Gap between a Further Education course and an Undergraduate course
If you are 18 or 19 years of age, you will remain exempt from paying Council Tax until 1 November following the end of your Further Education course or until your 20th birthday – whichever comes first. Your course must finish after 30 April. You must provide the Council with proof that you are exempt from paying Council Tax under these rules, such as proof of your age and proof that you completed a Further Education course. If within this timescale you start an undergraduate course that meets the Council Tax exemption rules, then you will remain exempt until you complete that course.
If you are aged 20 or over, you are liable to pay Council Tax once you finish your Further Education course. You will be considered exempt again if you start a new course that meets the exemption rules.
Gap between an FdA and a BA Top-up
You are liable to pay Council Tax during the summer between completing an FdA and starting a BA Top-up. This is because they are viewed as separate courses and you are not considered to be a student during this time. A bridging course, commonly studied between the 2 courses doesn’t count as a full-time course as it is less than 1 year in duration.
Need help or advice?
Contact the Student Advice Service for more guidance and support.