Council tax FAQs


Why has my bill increased?

West Sussex County Council have increased their charges of the Council Tax Bill for this year by 2.99% equating to £45.18 at band D equivalent, including a precept to fund adult social care. The Police and Crime Commissioner has increased their charges of the Council Tax Bill for this year by 4.65% equating to £10 at Band D equivalent.

Horsham District Council have increased their part of the Council Tax by 2.9%, equating to 4.57 at band D equivalent.

This means the overall increase on your Council Tax Bill equates to 3.17% or £59.75 at band D equivalent, before any parish or unparished area precepts.

Other reasons could be a change in your discounts or reductions if you are in receipt of them.

I paid my Council Tax by Direct Debit last year. Do I need to sign a new Direct Debit instruction?

No. Your Direct Debit instruction from last year will automatically be carried forward to your new account. You can confirm this by looking at the payment details at the bottom of your bill. This section shows how you have chosen to pay, how much your new instalments will be and the dates they will be taken from your bank account. Set up a Self-Service account  so you can check your Direct Debit details on there. 

Can I pay on an alternative date?

Yes. When you set up a Direct Debit (link to direct debit set up page) you can choose to pay on the 1st, 15th or 25th of the month. 

Can I pay my Council Tax weekly or four weekly?

Yes. We can arrange weekly or four weekly payments to clear your account by 1st March 2023. To arrange this, please email us at

Can I extend my instalment payments to next march 2023 instead of next January 2023

Yes, but only if you notify us before the 1 April*. This is to ensure your payments are spread over the 12 months. Your payment plan will then be amended and you will receive 12 monthly instalments for future year’s charges unless you ask us to amend your instalments back to the statutory 10 months.You can request to pay over 12 months by using our enquiry form

*If you are paying by Direct Debit and your instalments are due to be collected on 1st or 15th of the month, we will not be able to amend your instalments in time to reduce the April one but your remaining instalments will be adjusted over 11 months.

I'm not using Direct Debit, how do I pay my bill?

Other options are detailed on the back of your bill. You can view alternative payment options on our website.

I've got arrears to pay and I can't afford to pay my new bill as well?

You must pay your new bill on the due instalment dates. If you can’t afford to pay the arrears as well, it’s important to pay your current bill now and call us on 0808 164 8610 about your arrears. We will then do whatever we can to help. 

I have received a reminder notice/court summons, what do I do?

You can find details about reminder notices, final notices, and court summons on our What happens if you don’t pay your bill webpage.

I'm on a low income and will struggle to pay the new Council Tax Bill. Is there any help available?

If you are on a low income you may be entitled to Council Tax Support to assist with payment of all/part of your Council Tax bill.

I am living on my own, am I entitled to a discount?

Yes. You can apply for a 25% single person reduction by completing our online claim form

I don't use all the services, do I still have to pay this amount?

Yes. The council tax is not a charge for services, it is a tax. The tax system is set by central government and local authorities have no power to change the way it operates. Council Tax funds services provided by Horsham District Council, West Sussex County Council and Sussex Police.

Why have I received a Council Tax bill when I receive full Council Tax Support and have nothing to pay?

If you are the person liable for the Council Tax Bill, we are required to issue a bill showing the amount due. Your bill shows the amount of Council Tax you are liable to pay, any discounts you have been awarded and any Council Tax Support you are entitled to.

I advised you of changes, why haven't I received an amended bill yet?

You will have received your Annual Bill based on the information that the Council held on your account as at the close of business on 23rd February 2022.

If you have notified us of any changes after that date, you will receive an amended bill after 9th March 2022.

There is more than one name on the bill that I have received, what does that mean?

Under Council Tax law persons who are married/partners or have an equal interest in a property can be held jointly or severally (separately) liable for the charges that are due. Therefore, any persons who are named on the bill have a responsibility to ensure that the charges are paid. This potentially means that an individual could be held liable for the whole of the charge.

I think my Council Tax band is incorrect. Who do I appeal to?

You can appeal against your banding if you became the new owner within the last 6 months or if there has been a material change in the property. 

In the meantime you are required to pay your Council Tax bill until any appeal is settled. If your appeal is successful you will be entitled to a refund of any overpayment.

I overpaid my Council Tax last year. Can I now claim a refund?

Yes, you can, however your current instalments take into account your credit for last year and once this has been refunded to you your monthly instalments will increase. If you still wish to claim a refund, call us on 0808 164 8610.

I receive a disability reduction. Why does my bill not display the correct band?

If you qualify for disabled relief your Council Tax Bill will be reduced to that of a property in the band immediately below the band shown in the valuation list. For example, if your home is in Band ‘D’, your Council Tax Bill will be reduced to the equivalent of a Band ‘C’ dwelling.

I can see the monthly instalments on the bottom of my bill but don't know what payment method I am currently on

Check the bottom of your bill above the list of monthly instalments. The most convenient way to pay is to set up a Direct Debit

Why has the empty property discount been reduced to nil?

The Council has the discretion to vary the discount percentage and the time period for Class C (Empty Properties) that were left empty and unfurnished. It has been agreed at Full Council to reduce the time period to nil days. Therefore, there is no discount for empty properties. 

My neighbour has received their bill, why haven't I received mine yet?

We send out over 60,000 bills so they’re mailed over a number of days.

If you haven’t received your bill by 24th March, please use our enquiry form

Is there a discount for properties requiring/undergoing structural alterations/major repairs?

No. The council has the discretion to allow discounts.  Properties which are vacant and are undergoing ‘major repair work’ or ‘structural alteration’ no longer attract a discount.
This does not affect other exemptions e.g. registered charities, people in care homes, prisoners, student examples, carers. 
More information is available on our discounts-exemptions page

Why is there a premium charge for empty properties?

The Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill 2018, allowed councils to increase the empty property premiums from 1 April 2019.The increases in the premium charges are intended to encourage owners of long term empty domestic properties to bring them back into use and to increase the amount of Council Tax income raised from those that continue to leave their properties empty.

From 1st April 2021 properties empty for 10 years or more will attract a 200% premium.

Why is there “another balance for other periods due” on my bill?

If you pay the current financial year’s council tax over 12 instalments, this will be the amount due to be paid in March as per your previous council tax bill for 2021/22.