Council tax

Whether you are liable for council tax will depend on which category of student you are:

Registered full-time student in University accommodation

You do not have to pay council tax, and exemption is automatic.

Registered full-time student in private sector accommodation

You don't have to pay council tax but exemption is not automatic.

You must tell your local council that you are studying full-time. Failure to do so may result in a court summons and having to pay court costs.

If you live in York, you should apply for a student council tax discount or exemption with City of York Council (see below). If you live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), it is your landlord's responsibility to deal with any discount or exemption application.

Full-time student living with non-students

If you live with non-students you will usually still be personally exempt from paying council tax, and the non-students in the household will be the ones liable to pay. However, there are some exceptions:

  • If you live with a partner or adult children and you are the home-owner or only named tenant; or
  • If you have lodgers and you are the home-owner or only named tenant.

Part-time student

You do not qualify for exemption and you must pay council tax.

Attending a full-time course on a part-time basis

If you are registered on a full-time programme and attending part-time as a reasonable adjustment, you are eligible for exemption from council tax. This is because you would normally be required to attend your course full-time. 

Tier 4 visa holder

You don't have to pay council tax. Your dependents will also qualify for exemption if they are prevented by the terms of your visa from either taking paid employment or from claiming benefits.

Exemption is not automatic. You must tell your local council that you are studying full-time (see below). Failure to do so may result in a court summons and having to pay court costs.

Further information about council tax and international students is provided by UKCISA.

International Pathway College student

If you are living in University accommodation, you will not have to pay council tax.

If you live in private sector accommodation, and your course is shorter than 24 weeks, you must pay council tax.

Please note the Entry to Pre-masters and Pre-masters programmes are considered to be one programme of more than 24 weeks. However, you are only exempt from council tax if you progress onto the Pre-masters programme.

PhD student writing up a thesis

You have to pay council tax if:

  • you were studying part-time for your PhD
  • you will not be working on your thesis full-time in your writing up period - even if you were studying full-time immediately before your writing up year

You do not have to pay council tax if you were studying full-time immediately before your writing up year and you will be working on your thesis full-time (at least 21 hours per week for at least 24 weeks of the academic year).

You will need to provide confirmation from your supervisor that you will be studying full-time. Download a form from e:Vision for your supervisor to complete.

  • If you do not live within the City of York, your local council may require further supporting evidence that you meet the requirements for exemption.

Leave of absence

You must pay council tax if you are taking time out from a part-time programme of study.

If you are taking time out from a full-time programme of study you will not have to pay council tax during leave of absence. This is because you would normally be required to attend your course full time.

Exemption is not automatic. If you are eligible you will need to apply for exemption (see below).

Withdrawing student

You no longer qualify for exemption and you must pay council tax, even if you are waiting to start another full-time programme. You will be liable to pay council tax from the date you confirm withdrawal.

Graduate

You no longer qualify for exemption and you must pay council tax, even if you are waiting to start another full-time programme. You are liable to pay council tax from your course end date. 

How to apply for council tax exemption

Students living in York can apply for a student council tax discount or exemption online. All full-time students in a house must register as exempt. If you have a joint tenancy, it is important that you register as a group rather than individually.

Your exemption will not be confirmed until after the start of term. Until your exemption has been finalised you may still receive a council tax bill showing the full amount of council tax for the property. If you receive a reminder bill or a court summons, contact City of York Council: revenues@york.gov.uk.

If you live outside York or are on leave of absence

If you live outside York or are on leave of absence, request an exemption certificate via e:Vision. You can ask for the certificate to be sent to you by email or you can collect a hard copy from the Student Hub. You will need to send/show the certificate to your local council tax office. 

Council tax support

If you are a UK student liable to pay council tax and you are on a low income, you may be able to claim council tax support to help with payment of council tax.

If you would like further advice about claiming benefits and tax credits, make an appointment with a Student Adviser in the Student Hub.