HOUSEHOLDS up and down the country will be stung with council tax hikes of up to 15%, adding up to £295 to bills.
Councils were given the green light in last year's Autumn Statement to raise the levy by as much as 5% from April.
But some authorities have been allowed to hike bills even more than this – in some cases, by as much as 15%.
Local authorities were previously only allowed to raise council tax by 2.99% – anything higher would have required a local vote.
The amount you'll pay is determined by the local council and depends on which "band" the property you live in falls under.
Your home's band is based on its value – the more expensive the property, the more council tax will be charged.
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We list 18 locations where councils have approved bumping up rates, and explain how much you'll be paying.
Croydon Council has been given permission to hike council tax bills by 15%.
That's because the local authority is currently battling to pay off £1.6billion of debt.
Residents on council tax band D pay £1965.66 a year, which means a 15% rise would add an extra £294.85 to bills.
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Households could therefore be paying £2260.51 a year from April.
The council said it plans to "increase the support" given to those on low incomes, and we've asked the authority to share details of what this help could look like.
Aside from Croydon Council's mega 15% hike planned, London councils can increase bills by 10%.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has set out plans to increase council tax to fund an extra 500 Police Community Support Officers.
He is planning to raise the precept – his share of council tax bills – £38.55 a year from April for the average band D properties.
The precept is a separate amount that the major can add to everyone's council tax bills to help for services provided by the Great London Authority (GLA0).
The Mayor is proposing to increase his share of council tax bills from £395.59 a year to £434.14 for Band D households.
This is for residents of the 32 boroughs – an overall increase of £38.55.
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth City Council is in talks over a council tax increase of 2.99%.
On top of that, the authority is also considering a 2% precept to pay for social care.
That could mean a rise of 4.99% in total.
The average annual council tax bill for a home in Plymouth is currently £2,008.23.
A 4.99% rise would see bills increase by £100.21 to £2,108.44.
Slough Borough Council
Residents in Slough Borough Council's catchment area could be hit with a council tax bill sting of 9.99%.
Berkshire council is reportedly facing a £760million hole in their books.
The council said that additional support will be given to more than 9,000 households who qualify for a council tax reduction.
We've asked for more info on what this support looks like and will update this story when we know more.
Residents pay an average of £1,850.09 a year for their council tax currently.
A nearly 10% increase would make this jump to £2034.91, adding £184.82 a year to bills.
Bedford Borough Council
Bedford Borough Council is considering a council tax increase of 2.9%.
This includes a core council tax increase of 0.9% as well as 2% for the government's Adult Social Care precept.
The increase would mean an average Band D council tax of £1,737.92.
This is an increase of £50.39, with bills currently standing at £1687.53.
Stratford Upon Avon District Council
Residents in a Band D property will see a 3.2% jump to their council tax if they live in Stratford Upon Avon.
The Band D rate will now be £159.12 for the 2023/2024 tax year.
If you live in the Stratford Upon Avon District Council Catchment area, your bill will also include charges made up by your parish or town council, Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Police.
The average Band D council tax bill in the region stands at £2,007.76.
North Yorkshire Council
North Yorkshire Council's proposed budget could see council tax bills rise by 4.99%.
This would be an increase of £83.64 a year for an average Band D property.
The current Band D council tax bill in the region is £1,467.35.
This could go up to £1,550.99.
A council tax rise of 4.99% is in the works for Lincolnshire residents.
The jump compromises a 2.99% increase in council tax and a further 2% increase in the adult social care levy.
How much you pay for your council tax depends on who your local council is.
For example, those living in the City of Lincoln Council area pay an average of £1,999.26 a year.
A 4.99% jump means residents will be paying £2099.02 a year, which is £99.76 more.
Skegness Town Council
Skegness Town Council is considering increasing its precept by 5.42%.
This will increase the Parish's precept – its portion of the Council Tax bill – to £106.48 for Band D property.
This is an increase of around 11p per week on last year's charge – or £5.72 a year.
The rest of the council tax bill will also include East Lindsey District Council, Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Police.
Bradford District Council
Bradford District Council is proposing an increase of 4.99%.
The bill for a Band D property currently stands at £1,837.39.
This means the annual bill could jump by around £73.49.
But households, depending on where they are located, will also have parish or town councils precepts added to their bills.
You should check the council website to see if this applies to you.
Colchester City Council
Colchester City Council is considering a 3% rise in council tax.
This would be an increase of its precept, which is also made up of contributions to Essex County Council, fire and rescue and police.
An annual council tax bill for a Band D home is currently £1900.44.
East Sussex County Council has approved a 4.99% council tax bill hike.
Depending on which catchment area you fall under, your bill will vary.
For example, the average council tax bill in Hastings Borough Council is £2,219.29.
That means a 4.99% increase would take annual bills to £2330.03 – which is £110.74 more.
Coventry City Council
Coventry City Council is considering raising council tax by 3% and an adult social care precept of 2%.
This would mean a rise of 5%.
The final council tax increase will be subject to council approval next month.
Haringey London Borough Council
Haringey London Borough Council is considering increasing council tax by 1.99%.
This is a rise in the amount of money the borough requires from taxpayers in the area.
A Band D property currently pays £1,879.72 a year in council tax.
This is split between the Greater London Authority, adult social care precept and Haringey.
Council tax for a Band D property is currently £1,820, rising to around £1,910 – a £90 increase.
Nottingham City Council
Nottingham City Council is considering raising council tax by 5% – including a 2% precept towards adult social care costs.
This would be an increase of around £102.57.
A Band D council tax bill is currently £2,225.76.
Bracknell Forest Council
A 4.99% council tax increase has been rubber-stamped by this local authority.
Exactly where you live in this catchment area will dictate how much your bill will be.
Those living in Binfield pay an average of £1,835.98 a year.
A 4.99% increase means bills will jump by £91.62 a year to £1927.60.
Derby City Council
Derby City Council is considering a rise of 4.99%, with 2% of this made up of the adult social care precept.
This means a household living in a Band D home would be likely to see their bill increase by £78.74 a year.
A household currently living in Band D property pays £1,698.10 currently.
This could increase to £1,776.84.
Newham Council's draft budget proposal includes a potential council tax rise of 4.99%.
This would work out than an average Band D property in Newham would pay around £1.09 a week more.
But this does not include other charges in the council tax bill.
A current Band D council tax bill in the area is £1,532.26.
This includes contributions to Newham Council, adult social care charges and the Greater London Authority.
Check how much your council tax bill will go up by
Councils publish their budget plans for the 2023/24 financial year.
This will detail any council tax rises planned.
Keep an eye on your council's website for information on this.
Check which council tax band your property falls under to work out how much the increase will cost you.
You can find your local authority by using the gov.uk search tool.
You'll then be sent a council tax bill in April outlining how much you need to pay.
Residents can choose to make payments over a period of 10 months.
You can also opt to pay instalments over 12 months if you prefer – although you won't benefit from a pause in payments at the end of 2022.
What support is available?
Council tax discounts
There are a number of discounts you could get – but it will vary depending on your circumstances.
Factors such as your household income, whether you have children, and if you receive any benefits, will influence what you get.
To apply for any of the below discounts, go through the government website.
You'll need your national insurance number, bank statements, a recent payslip or letter from the Jobcentre, and a passport or driving licence when filling out the details.
If you are not sure which local authority you live in, you can check the government's council locator to find out.
If you live on your own, you can get 25% off your council tax bill.
This also applies if there is one adult and one student living together in a property, or if there is one adult and one person classed as severely mentally impaired in the home.
If you live with someone who doesn't have to pay council tax, such as a carer or someone who is severely mentally impaired, you could get a larger reduction too, of up to 50%.
And, if you live in an all-student household, you could get a 100% discount.
A full list of circumstances that exempt you from paying council tax can be found on Citizens Advice.
Pensioners may also find themselves eligible for a council tax reduction.
If you receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you could get a 100% discount.
If not, you could still get help if you have a low income and less than £16,000 in savings.
And a pensioner who lives alone will be entitled to a 25% discount too.
If you are on a low income or receiving benefits, you could eligible for a reduction on your council tax.
Whether you are eligible will vary depending on where you live.
You could also get a deferral if you're struggling to pay your bill, or you can speak to your council about setting up a payment plan to manage the cost.
But one thing to remember is if you are struggling you should contact your council as early as you can.
Challenge your band
You might be able to reduce the amount of council tax you pay by challenging your band.
Properties across the UK are put into a band from A to H, and this informs how much council tax you pay.
The bands were created based on property values back in 1991, so many households may find that based on today's prices, they should be in a different band.
It's worth checking yours to see if you could get a discount.
First, you need to find out what band you are in.
You can find this out by checking with your local authority or on the postcode checker.
Use the council tax band checker tool to see which band properties along your street are in.
If they are in a lower band than you are, you could successfully make a challenge and get yours lowered.
How do I challenge it?
Contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in England and Wales or the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA) in Scotland to do this.
Gather together evidence showing you're paying more – this could be having addresses of similar properties to yours in a lower band, for example.
If the VOA agrees that your property is in the wrong band, it will contact you to let you know your band will be changed.
It can take up to two months for the VOA to review your case.
But be warned – challenging your band might not work.
While you could get moved to a lower band and pay less, there's also the chance the VOA could find you're not paying enough.
This could mean you're moved to a higher band – and your neighbours' too.
If you disagree with the VOA's ruling, you can appeal your case – but only if you've been told that you can when you get the decision.
You must appeal within three months of your decision – to do this, get in touch with the Valuation Tribunal Service.
If the Valuation Tribunal agrees with you, it will get the VOA to change your band – and your bill will change.
Other council tax bill help
If you're not eligible for a council tax discount – or you can't move bands – there are other ways to get help.
Section 13A relief
You can make an application for what is called "discretionary relief" for your council tax bill by filling out a Section 13A application.
This means councils can reduce or completely wipe off a council tax debt you might have.
A Sun investigation last year found that councils have been wiping clean a record level of council tax debt in recent years over the Covid pandemic.
Nearly £2.7million worth of council tax debts was scrapped by local authorities over 2020/21.
Ask your council for the Section 13A form.
Once you’ve sent your Section 13A application over to your local authority, you should be told about a decision within 14 days.
Check if you've overpaid
Thousands of homeowners have moved house and are unaware they are still paying council tax bills.
A whopping £33.7million is sitting in closed or dormant council tax accounts, according to data analysed by The Sun.
The highest amount owed back was £27,150 to one household from St Alban’s Council.
Larger councils are likely to have a higher amount of unclaimed credit because of the higher number of people living in their catchment areas.
Contact your council if you think you’re owed.
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Many authorities have different procedures when it comes to dishing out refunds.
While some give them out automatically usually, in some cases you have to apply for a refund.
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