I read recently, but forgot where, that someone is saying that the current system of how council tax is calculated isn't fair, and it should be a percentage of the property value.

I was wondering how can that be implemented?

  • 3
    "it should be a percentage of the property value" It is calculated from the property value. It's just that it's calculated from the value in 1991.
    – Caleth
    Sep 29, 2021 at 8:14
  • @Caleth: the band it's in is calculated from the property value; however, the amount due for each band is set by the local council. Wikipedia has a stark illustration of this: band D rates in London in 2018 varied from £711 to £1772 per year, depending on which borough a property is in. Sep 29, 2021 at 8:22
  • @SteveMelnikoff isn't that equivalent to letting each local authority set the % that they are charging?
    – Caleth
    Sep 29, 2021 at 9:19
  • 1
    @Caleth: yes and no. If I've understood the Wikipedia summary correctly, councils get to choose the amount payable for Band D - and then all other bands are calculated from that. So I guess it could be regarded as a very rough approximation of the property's value - but based on its value in 1991 or 2003. Sep 29, 2021 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, taxes can only be established by Parliament through legislation. The council tax was implemented in the Local Government Finance Act 1992, and so it would take Parliament to amend or replace this act for the current system to change.

Note that any scheme linked to the price of property - which is the case both now, and in the system suggested in the question - has one weakness: how do you know how much a property is worth?

Property revaluations are now long overdue. The last ones for England and Scotland were done in 1991, and for Wales in 2003. Significant changes in house prices since then mean that many people may be paying a lot more, or a lot less, than the current nominal value of their property would suggest.

  • 4
    It has another flaw - someone may be sitting in a home they have owned for 40 years, bought for pennies, that is today worth significant money due to market rises and gentrification - but that doesnt mean that person has a large income. It might even mean they would lose the property. Property price appreciation doesnt automatically make someone rich.
    – user16741
    Sep 29, 2021 at 8:54
  • 5
    @Moo: depending on the philosophy of taxation, forcing someone to sell in such circumstances may be regarded as a desirable effect. The whole point of property taxes is to make [more] "efficient" use of land, in some views. www1.worldbank.org/publicsector/decentralization/… Sep 29, 2021 at 10:34
  • @Moo that's certainly the argument used in california (prop 13). In practice it's been a complete disaster.
    – eps
    Sep 29, 2021 at 14:13
  • 1
    @Fizz how is selling a terraced house to other buyers “more efficient use of the land”?
    – user16741
    Sep 29, 2021 at 18:55
  • @Moo: the scenario that I think it refers to is: if the house is occupied by an older person or couple whose kids moved out years ago, who could move to a smaller place so that a family with kids (who are renting, and/or living in a place that's too small for them) could move into this property. In other words, everyone has a property that is the right size for their needs. Having said that, this sounds like a modern justification, as property taxes are not new; apparently they were first introduced in England in 1601. Sep 30, 2021 at 8:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .