Why have I paid council tax in February?

Here's why you might have paid council tax in February instead of having a break

Annual council tax bill with pile of pound coins spread over the top
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wondering why you've paid council tax in February when you thought you didn't need to?

Many people don't have to pay council tax (opens in new tab) in February and March, which can be good news for those who are trying to get their money back on track after the expense of Christmas. It's also incredibly handy during these colder months when energy bills are higher than ever before, especially if you are in a higher council tax band (opens in new tab).

But whether you get a couple of months off paying council tax depends on how you pay.

Why have I paid council tax in February?

The most likely reason you have paid council tax in February is that you are paying in 12 instalments rather than 10. Those who pay their annual bill in 10 instalments pay in each month between April and January.

But if you split your annual bill into 12 instalments (which can be more affordable for a lot of people), then you will pay council tax every calendar month without a break.

For example, if you're annual council tax bill is £2,000 and you pay in 10 instalments, you will pay £200 each month between April and January, with a break in February and March. 

But if you have the same annual council tax bill, and pay in 12 monthly instalments, you will pay £166.67 each month, with no break in February and March

If you want to change how you pay council tax, you'll need to get in touch with your local council.

How much council tax do I pay and is it going up?

How much council tax you pay depends on what council tax band your property falls in to and how much funding your local council needs. 

Council tax tends to go up every April (opens in new tab), which is the start of the new tax year. This year, the amount of council tax you pay could go up by up to 5%, but it won't be the same amount for everybody - it depends on where you live and which council area your property falls under. 

Local councils have the power to raise council tax each year, but maximum limits are set by the Government. Every year the Government publishes ‘referendum thresholds’ for council tax increases. If local authorities want to raise council tax above these levels; they’re legally obliged to put it to a vote.

In last year's Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt (opens in new tab) announced that councils could raise council tax rates by up to 3% without holding a vote. On top of this, they can also add another 2% for social care.

Sarah Handley
Money Editor, Goodto.com

Sarah is Goodto.com's Money Editor. Sarah is an experienced journalist and editor with more than 10 years of experience in the Homes industry, working across brands such as Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living and Real Homes. After segueing into the world of personal finance, acting as launch editor of GoodtoKnow's sister brand TheMoneyEdit.com, Sarah became Editor in Future’s Wealth division with a focus on property-related finance and household bills, working across brands including GoodtoKnow and Ideal Home. She is passionate about helping people cut through confusing jargon to make the right financial decisions when getting on the property ladder and turning a house into a home.