Dorset Council answers your questions on Council Tax

DORSET residents should now have received their Council Tax bill for the 2019/20 financial year. 

To answer some commonly-asked questions and explain how your tax will be spent, the new Dorset Council has produced the following guide to  Council Tax.

What is Council Tax?

Council Tax is a type of local taxation which helps fund local services provided by Dorset Council, Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority and your town/parish council.  Like other types of taxation (e.g. income tax) payment is required even if you do not personally benefit from some or all of these services.

Dorset 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 on the details included in your bill can be found by clicking here.

Why does the council collect Council Tax?

Council Tax makes up 82% of Dorset Council’s income. Like many councils across the country, the council is continuing to face significant financial pressures. It no longer receives any funding from central government in the form of revenue support grant. This used to make a significant contribution to council income.

Dorset Council’s costs continue to rise due to inflation and increasing demand for social care for vulnerable adults and children, so it is more dependent than ever on the revenue it receives from Council Tax. 

What does my Council Tax pay for?

Dorset Council delivers more than 400 services. Council Tax enables the council to deliver and protect the most important services for residents. These services include maintaining roads, care and education of children, waste collection, housing, libraries, parks, social care for vulnerable, older and disabled people, and much more.

Why should I pay more Council Tax for reduced services?

Despite facing significant financial pressures, Dorset Council maintains that is has not cut any services. Nationally, councils are being squeezed by loss of central government funding, inflation and rising demand for social care and special educational needs support. This means that an increase in Council Tax is often necessary to provide and protect these services.

I thought that merging the councils would save me money?

By moving to one council, Dorset Council is reducing duplication and management overheads, so it can ensure that resources are used where they are needed most – to provide the day-to-day services Dorset residents rely on.

Why did Dorset Council harmonise Council Tax rates?

From April 1 2019, all residents in the new Dorset Council area will pay a standard Council Tax rate for their property band. This is called Council Tax Harmonisation. This is considered to be the fairest approach as everyone (in the same property band) will contribute the same amount for council services (previously, Council Tax rates varied across the five district and borough councils).

What important services are being invested in?

We’ve been able to invest significant extra money into social care services for the growing numbers of adults with dementia, children with special educational needs, and other vulnerable people in Dorset.

  • An additional £5.8m for the care and education of children
  • An additional £900k to increase the number of foster carers
  • An additional £1.372m for rubbish collection, recycling and street cleaning services delivered by Dorset Waste Partnership
  • An additional £1.5m for social care services for vulnerable disabled and elderly adults
  • An additional £150k towards tackling homelessness

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 check the Council Tax section of the Dorset Council website. 

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