Council Tax

What is Council Tax?

Council Tax is a system of local taxation collected by local authorities. It is a tax on domestic property. Some property is exempt from Council Tax. Some people do not have to pay Council Tax and some people get a discount.

Students and Council Tax

Most students are entitled to some form of exemption or discount, but this depends on your individual circumstances.

Full-time Students

Properties only occupied by full time students will be exempt from Council Tax. If you live in university halls or live in non-university accommodation where everyone in the household is a full-time student there will be no Council Tax to pay once your local authority have received proof that all residents are full-time students.

A full-time student is classed as someone who:

  • attends a course at a prescribed educational establishment or institution and;
  • who is undertaking a full-time course of education:
    • which lasts at least one academic year
    • requires attendance for at least 24 weeks in each academic year
    • normally requires an average of 21 hours a week study, tuition or work experience or a combination of such during periods of attendance.

Students who are exempt from paying Council Tax will be disregarded for Council Tax purposes for the period beginning with the first day of the full-time course and until they have completed the course or abandoned it or been dismissed from it.  Should this be the case you may become liable for Council Tax.

If you study full-time but you live with an adult who is not a full-time student your household will be issued with a Council Tax bill. However, if you prove you are a full-time student a 25% single persons discount should be applied to the bill. As a full-time student you are not legally responsible or liable for the bill but may want to discuss how the bill will be paid with the person you live with.

If you study full-time and live with more than one adult who are not a full-time students your household will be issued with a Council Tax bill. No discount will be applicable.  As a full-time student you are not legally responsible or liable for the bill but may want to discuss how the bill will be paid with the people you live with.

Taking time out of your studies

If you take time out of your studies for personal reasons such as illness you would remain exempt from Council Tax as long as you remain registered as a student with the University.

Part-time Students

Part-time student are not exempt from paying Council Tax under the student rules.  The university will determine your student status and the number of hours of attendance required for your course. If you are a part time student who has a low income you may be eligible to apply for the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme /or be eligible to receive a 25% discount if you live alone.

Overseas Students and their Spouses

International students are treated like UK students when it comes to liability for Council Tax.  Spouses of non-EEA international students will have the student's exemption extended to include them if they are non-British and non-EEA citizens and the terms of their visa exclude them from working or claiming benefits.  More detailed information can be found on the UKCISA web site.

Council Tax Liability

If your household is required to pay Council Tax you can decide in your household who will contribute to the bill but should you be a full-time student you are not legally responsible or liable for the bill.

Applying for an Exemption or Discount

If you think that you are exempt from paying council tax will need to submit a Student Discount/Exemption application form to your local council as well as submitting a Council Tax Exemption Certificate which provides details about you and your course.

Application forms for students who reside in Newcastle and students who reside in Gateshead can be obtained online.

You can print a council tax exemption certificate yourself from S3P, the Student Self-Service Portal

If for any reason you are unable to print the certificate yourself, you can also obtain one from the following locations:

  • HASS and SAGE students: Student Services, Level 2 , King's Gate
  • Medical students: Medical Faculty Student Office
  • Dental students: Dental School Office

Changes in your Circumstances

Whenever your personal circumstances change you need to let your Council Tax department know.  Your Council Tax account may need to be updated, depending on the nature of the change, or may need to be closed down if you move house.  There is a useful website which provides a helpful service when you are preparing to move – the address is You should always contact the Council if you are unsure about whether or not to inform them about a particular change

Contact Details

If students require detailed information about council tax or council tax exemption they are advised to contact their local authority.

Newcastle City Council:
Tel: 0191 278 78 78 (Monday –Friday 8am-6pm)

Gateshead Council:
Tel:  0191 433 3600 or 24 hours information service 0845 9400 440