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Council Tax and students

What is Council Tax?

Council Tax is a system of local taxation collected on domestic property (i.e. your home) by local authorities (councils). Some properties will be exempt, depending on the circumstances of the people who live there.

Do I have to pay?

Full-time students are typically entitled to some form of exemption or discount, but this depends on your individual circumstances. The Citizens Advice Bureau offers comprehensive information.

If you arrive in London before you are registered, or if you stay beyond the end date of your course, you may need to pay tax for that period.  The end date of your course is not the date of your graduation ceremony.  Check your Certificate of Registration for your course end date.  You are not eligible for exemption during the period when you are waiting for your results.

You will also need to pay if you interrupt or withdraw your studies, or if you are an unregistered student returning to LSE to re-sit exams. 

Who can give me advice about Council Tax?

Contact your Council directly with any questions in the first instance.The Students' Union Advice and Support Service (3rd floor, Saw  Swee Hock Student Centre) may also be able to offer initial advice.  International students should refer to the info below.

What should I do if I receive a Council Tax bill?

The process for paying Council Tax and applying for exemption or discount varies depending on your council. Contact them directly with questions.  

New students: Please note that you are unable to request a document for Council Tax exemption purposes until after your designated registration date. Prior to registration you may be liable for council tax.   

Current students You will need to provide proof of your student status to your council. You can do this by collecting a Certificate of Registration from the Student Services Centre. If you are a new student who was required to attend a pre-sessional course before Registration, you may also need to send the council a copy of your offer letter which indicates that an early arrival was a requirement for your degree.  

Alumni: If you need proof that you were a student in previous academic years, contact Registry to request proof of the dates that you were a student.  Please note that if you stay in London beyond the last day of the term in which you are a registered student, you are likely to be liable for council tax. 

The end date on your student ID card is for access to LSE services only and does not indicate the final date that you are a registered student.  If you need to confirm your last day of registration, contact Registry

International students

Council Tax rules apply in the same way to all students, regardless of nationality.  If you are a full-time international student who lives with your family and no other non-student is sharing your dwelling, you may not have to pay Council Tax, as long as your spouse and children have been admitted to the UK with 'limited leave' as your dependants.

This does not apply if your spouse and/ or children are nationals of a country in the European Economic Area.

Students are not eligible for Council Tax exemption after their course has ended. International students are also unable to benefit from the 25% Council Tax reduction for single occupancy. This is because this is a “public fund”.  We advise you to contact your local council about your change of circumstances at the end of your programme.  Visit UKCISA's Public Funds webpage for further information.

Please be advised that the Council Tax regulations  as they relate to international students are very complex, and this page can only serve as a general guide.  For more details, please read the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) detailed guidance note: Council Tax