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bigduckontax, Accountant
Category: Tax
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Hello,can you help please. Is council tax payable on the unoccupied

Customer Question

Hello,can you help please.
Is council tax payable on the unoccupied part of a listed building which has been converted to residential ie empty flat above a shop.The shop pays business rates in the normal way.
Your help would be appreciated
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  bigduckontax replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I'm Keith and happy to help you with your question.

Bad news, I'm afraid, you would appear to be liable. Government guidance is as follows:

'Empty properties
You’ll have to pay Council Tax on an empty and unfurnished home, but you may qualify for a discount. It’s up to your council to decide whether you get a discount and how much you get.

Some homes don’t get a Council Tax bill for as long as they stay empty. They include homes:

of someone in prison (except for not paying a fine or Council Tax)

of someone who’s moved into a care home or hospital

that have been repossessed

that cannot be lived in by law

that are empty because they’ve been compulsory purchased and will be demolished

You may get a discount if your home is undergoing major repair work or structural changes (eg your walls are being rebuilt).

Properties empty for 2 years or more

Your Council can charge up to extra 50% Council Tax if your home has been empty and unfurnished for 2 years or more (unless it’s an annexe or you’re in the armed forces).

Completion notices

Local councils usually send completion notices to new homes and properties that have had major home improvements. A completion notice tells you the day the council thinks your property was finished.
You have to start paying Council Tax from this date.'

You can see that discretion is is largely at local authority level and I need not remind you that they are short of cash! However, you may get some respite from the 'Completion Notice' rules.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Keith -thanks for answer so far,however dont think it covers my question - key here is whether this applies to a LISTED property,where to the best of my knowledge no rates are payable if the property is unoccupied.Please clarify.This is the question I need answered.Thank you.

Expert:  bigduckontax replied 4 years ago.
Guidance from English Heritage [edited]is:

'Local taxes are payable in respect of all historic buildings except listed or scheduled buildings that are unoccupied. Complications can arise, however, when the listed or scheduled building is only part of the site and/or part of the site is occupied.'

It is possible that this property is subject to the caveat.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Keith,


The property was listed grade 2 by English Heritage in 1953.


The upper floor have been converted to residential, but remain unoccupied, is this not exempt from council tax until occupation takes place


Please can you confirm this point?

This property is not subject to any caveats.


Thank you.

Expert:  bigduckontax replied 4 years ago.
I regret to have to tell you that it is not exempt from council tax although you may receive a discount at the discretion of the local authority. Please note the comment regarding possible relief through council completion notices.