A council tax rule change being dubbed the ‘double council tax’ change is set to come into force from next month.

The UK government has confirmed that from April 1 there will be stricter rules for some empty houses in England.

Council tax on homes that have been empty a long time will double from next month, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said.

Councils in England will also be granted extra powers to charge more tax on second homes from April.

However, the will be some occasions where the new rules aren’t applied.

A house may be empty and not have to pay extra tax if:

  • A home has been inherited
  • A home is inhabitable due to renovations
  • A second home is not available to be lived in all year round due to planning restrictions.

Local Government Minister Simon Hoare said: “Long-term empty properties are shutting local families and young people out of the housing market as they are being denied the opportunity to rent or buy in their own community.

“So, we are taking action as part of our long-term plan for housing.”

He added: "That means delivering more of the right homes in the right places and giving councils more powers to help give local people the homes they need."

What months do you not pay council tax in the UK?

According to the Government website council tax is "usually split into 10 monthly payments" which is between April and January.

It adds: "Contact your local council immediately if you’re having trouble paying - they can help you, for example by spreading your payments over 12 months instead of 10."

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This is the same process for England, Scotland and Wales, with authorities across all the nations following this guidance.

Your council tax bill will tell you how much you have to pay for the year, how that amount has been worked out and the dates you have to pay.

Who does not have to pay council tax?

Some people do not have to pay council tax which includes:

  • under 18 years old
  • on certain apprentice schemes
  • 18 or 19 years old and in full-time education
  • a full-time student at college or university
  • under 25 years old and get funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency
  • a student nurse
  • a foreign language assistant registered with the British Council
  • severely mentally impaired
  • a live-in carer for someone who is not your partner, spouse, or child under 18
  • a diplomat