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 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.

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, 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 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
Consumer Writer & Money Editor, GoodtoKnow

Sarah is GoodtoKnow’s Consumer Writer & Money Editor and is passionate about helping mums save money wherever they can - whether that's spending wisely on toys and kidswear or keeping on top of the latest news around childcare costs, child benefit, the motherhood penalty. A writer, journalist and editor with more than 15 years' experience, Sarah is all about the latest toy trends and is always on the look out for toys for her nephew or Goddaughters so that she remains one of their favourite grown ups. When not writing about money or best buys, Sarah can be found hanging out with her rockstar dog Pepsi, getting opinionated about a movie or learning British Sign Language.