Your Council Tax explained

Posted on Monday 9 March 2020

You should receive your council tax bill from BCP Council within the next seven days. We have put together some commonly asked questions that we know you’ve been asking, and hopefully these will help explain more about your council tax bill.

What is council tax?

Council tax is a local taxation which helps fund local services provided by BCP Council, Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority and your Town/Parish Council (if applicable). Like other types of taxation, payment is required even if you do not personally benefit from all the services BCP Council provides.

BCP Council is responsible for setting your council tax (based on the amounts that are needed to fund local services) and then passing on the funds collected to the organisations mentioned. Further information about your bill can be found online or in your ‘Guide to Council Tax’ which is enclosed with your bill.

Why does BCP Council collect council tax?

Council tax makes up 77 per cent of our income. Like all councils across the country, we face significant financial pressures, and this is set to continue. We now receive just 1 per cent of our funding from central government, in the form of a revenue support grant.

Due to demands on adult social care and children’s services, our costs continue to rise, so we are more dependent than ever on the revenue we receive from council tax.

What does my council tax pay for?

Council tax enables us to deliver services for all our residents. These services include maintaining roads, care and education of children, waste collection, housing, libraries, parks, adult social care and much more.

Why do residents in the BCP Council area pay different amounts for council tax?

Following local government reorganisation across Dorset in April 2019, residents of the BCP Council area inherited differing levels of council from previous councils. The Shadow Authority – the body of councillors taking decisions about BCP Council, prior to the local elections for the new council in May 2019 – had decided to alight council tax levels slowly, taking up to seven years.

In May 2019, at the first Cabinet meeting of the new council, it was recommended that council tax across the area should be harmonised at the earliest sensible opportunity, to be fairer to all our residents. Therefore, this year (2020/21) Bournemouth and Poole residents will pay an increase, whilst Christchurch residents will see a reduction. However, from April 2021, our financial forecasting indicates that all residents will pay the same rate of council tax.

What important services are being invested in?

Last month, BCP Council set a responsible, fair and sustainable budget which will see:

  • an additional £1.4m to invest in our Corporate Priorities
  • an extra £14m for Adults and Children’s Services.
  • savings of £20.6m per annum due to local government reorganisation alone

To find out more about the first year of BCP Council, along with more information about this year’s budget, view this helpful leaflet

How is Council Tax charged and valued?

Council tax is charged on the household and is based on the value of the property. The amount of Council Tax you pay depends on which property band your home is in, and any discounts or exemptions that apply. If you believe the band of your property is incorrect, you can appeal to the Valuation Office Agency.

If you have further questions about your bill, would like to sign up to e-billing or to pay your council tax by direct debit, then please go to our website