The majority of homes in the UK are subject to paying Council Tax. Due to the large volume of payees, Council Tax makes up around a third of all local government funding. The tax goes towards paying for services such as rubbish collection, libraries and emergency services.
Households are assigned Council Tax bands based on how much the property would have been worth in 1991 (the year Council Tax was formed). Some occupants are given discounts or exemptions for reasons such as having a disability or because the household only contains full-time students. Tax bands range from letters A to H, starting from properties worth that would have been worth under £40,000 and up to properties worth more than £320,000.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the characteristics of the various London boroughs that have the highest council taxes in the area.
Which London boroughs have the highest council tax?
32 local authority districts form the inner and outer boroughs of London. Combined, they make up the ceremonial county of Greater London and have a population of nearly 9.5 million. The boroughs used in this study are based on properties in Band D (properties that would have sold for a price between £68,000 and £88,000 in 1991). This is the average tax band set by local authorities.
Kingston upon Thames tops the list as the London borough with the highest Council Tax. Households that fit in Band D have to pay £2056.47 in the tax year 2021/2022. Second on the list is Richmond upon Thames, which charges slightly less at £1,958.66.
Continue reading to see which of the London boroughs made the list for having the highest council tax. Along with the individual Council Taxes listed, the Greater London Authority has an additional £332.07 onto each band charge.
Kingston upon Thames
This ancient market town is located in the Royal Borough of Kingston-Upon-Thames in Greater London. 18 million visitors visit the town every year, largely due to it being one of the biggest retail centres in the UK.
Currently, the Band D rate of Council Tax is set at £2056.47. Band A, the lowest band, is set at £1370.98 and Band H, the highest band, is set at £4174.94. Every tax band in this borough has increased from the rates set in 2020/2021 at a rate of 4.99%.
The individual boroughs of London have separate councils and hold their own elections, which occur every four years. As such, the London boroughs have differing council taxes that are subject to change on a yearly basis. Councils are allowed to raise the Adult Social Care precept by 3% in the tax year 2021/2022 if they so wish.
Richmond upon Thames
At £1958.65, Richmond upon Thames has the second-highest Council Tax in Band D. This is an increase from £1539.57 in the tax year 2020/2021. The lowest band is set at £1063.33 and the highest is £3189.99.
Richmond Council chose to increase the tax by 3.6%, specifically to cover rising costs in adult social care and general expenditure. Combining this rise with the Greater London Authority element has increased the overall tax due by 4.6%.
This southwest town is the only borough to be positioned on both sides of the River Thames. As well as having a high council tax, Richmond upon Thames was also voted the happiest place to live in London in 2020. The town is home to attractions such as Richmond Park, the largest park in London and Hampton Court Palace.
Third on the list for most expensive Council Tax is Harrow. The town is perhaps most widely known for the famous Harrow School, which has educated the likes of Winston Churchill, Robert Peel and Lord Byron.
As of the tax year 2021/2022, Harrow has a Band D tax rate of £1962.37. This band is the basis of all other band rates as the valuations are calculated based on a proportion of Band D. As with all Council Tax rates, the amount is calculated from how much a house would have been worth in 1991.
The Council Tax rate in Harrow is set at £1,962.36 for Band D once it has been combined with the additional Greater London Authority charge.
This borough is the easternmost in Greater London. It is largely suburban and has a population of around 259,552. Houses that fall within Band D must pay a Council Tax rate of £1529.64 (£1,893.30 full charge combined with the Greater London Authority).
Single occupants receive a reduced Council Tax rate of £1,419.98 in Band D. Every tax band has increased by 5.4% from the previous tax year of 2020/2021.
The overall Council Tax for houses in Band D located in Croydon is £1678.35. This includes £363.66 that goes towards the Greater London Authority, plus the £170.47 that is contributed to adult social care. Croydon’s council tax has seen an increase of 4.99% from the tax year 2020/2021.
Croydon is London’s southernmost borough. It covers 33.6 square miles and is currently one of London’s leading centres for business and finance. For a number of years, Croydon has petitioned to have city status, where it would join the likes of Westminster and the City of London.
This London borough proudly boasts some of the lowest crime rates in London. It also has some of the highest GCSE school rates in the country.
Residents living in Sutton will have to pay a Council Tax fee of £1856.57 if their house falls within the Band D rate. The Council Tax rate has seen an increase of 4.50% from those set in 2020/2021.
It is possible to appeal the set Council Tax if it seems like a property has been incorrectly placed in a tax band. To do this, visit the Valuation Office Agency.
Waltham Forest borders five other boroughs in Greater London, as well as Essex. As of the tax year 2021/2022, the Council Tax for houses in Band D is set at £1863.17. This rate is charged from 31 March 2021 onward until 1 April 2022.
Everyone aged 18 years or over have to pay Council Tax, whether they rent or own a house. However, there are some discounts for people on benefits or full-time students.
This borough forms part of Outer London and is located in the South East of the region. As of the tax year 2021/2022, the total Council Tax for houses that fall in Band D is £1846.72.
The borough was formed in 1965 government districts including Bexley and Erith. Bexley currently has a total population of around 250,000.
Haringey lays within both inner and outer London and covers more than 11 square miles. There are many famous landmarks in Haringey, such as Alexandra Palace and the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
As of the tax year 2021/2022, the Council Tax in Haringey is set at £1804.70. This includes £164.82 of the Adult Social Care precept and the £1,276.22 set for the borough’s individual Council Tax rate.