Council tax explained

Council tax explained

Where your money goes and a guide to your council tax bill.

Council tax and your bill

Council tax is your way of helping to pay for many local services like emergency services, rubbish collection, libraries, schools, street lights and much more.

Council tax is charged on the household. It's based on the value of the property and not on what the household earns. The band is decided by the Valuation Office. See council tax charges and bands

The amount of council tax you have to pay depends on which property band your home is in.

Your final bill will be changed if you qualify for any of the council tax discounts or exemptions.

Council tax in detail

Find out how council tax is calculated and where your money goes in our council tax explained documents:


Our medium term financial plan

  • sees an overall revenue budget (money spent on things related to running the council and overheads) for 2021/22 of £424.1 million  
  • sees a capital budget (what we spend on investment, infrastructure projects or our Housing Revenue Account) for the next five years of £890.1 million 
  • aims to balance increasing costs and service demand 

Council tax for 2021/22 has increased by 4.99%, which includes a 3% increase for funding adult social care.  

The Avon Fire Authority has increased the amount it needs from council tax payers by 2%. 

The Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner has increased the amount it needs from council tax payers by 5.9%. 

For example, the total charge for a band D property for 2021/22 is £2,163.65, compared with £2,061.03 for 2020/21. This includes: 

  • £1,846.02 for council tax, compared with £1,758 for 2020/21
  • £241.20 for the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, compared with £227.81 for 2020/21
  • £76.43 for the Avon Fire Authority, compared with £74.94 for 2020/21


Our total spending on council services, as well as schools and welfare benefits, in 2021/22 will be £1,040 million. In 2020/21 this was £1,026 million. Spending by schools and on benefits is largely funded by the government.

Council services are also paid for by income from business rates, grants, service users, other organisations and our investments. 

Adult social care precept 

The Secretary of State gave adult social care authorities the option to charge an additional ‘precept’ on its council tax without holding a referendum, to help them cover their costs for adult social care from the financial year 2016-17.

It was originally made for the financial years up to and including 2019-20. If the Secretary of State chooses to renew this offer in respect of a particular financial year, it will be subject to the approval of the House of Commons.  

Note: Adult social care authorities are local authorities which have functions under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014. This include county councils in England, district councils for areas in England for which there is no county council, London borough councils, the Common Council of the City of London and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.  

For 2021/22, following public consultation, we've agreed to take up the offer and increased council tax by 3% to help cover the costs of social care

Levies on the council

The Environment Agency (EA) and the Lower Severn Internal Drainage Board (IDB) charge the council a levy for flood defence and land drainage. The Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) charge a levy for the management of the local marine environment.

Levies on the council in 2021/22
Region Gross expenditure (£m) Total levy requirement (£m) Levy on the council 
EA Severn and Wye RFCC




EA Wessex RFCC




Lower Severn IDB




Devon and Severn IFCA




Levies on the council in 2020/21
Region Gross expenditure  (£m) Total levy requirement (£m) Levy on the council 
EA Severn and Wye RFCC




EA Wessex RFCC




Lower Severn IDB




Devon and Severn IFCA




Council tax notice 

The Council Tax Notice for 2021/22 (pdf, 97KB) (opens new window)  shows the council tax bands commencing from 1 April 2020.

Emergency services

Get information on spending plans for the Police and fire brigade and details of how the budgets are finalised:

Related links