Council Tax Officer

Councils raise revenue in the form of a local tax charged to occupiers of property, based on the value of that property.  Council tax officers determine the liability of local residents to pay tax, calculate it and administer the systems for requesting and collecting payment.

Work Environment
Council tax officers are normally based in council offices.

Daily Activities
Council tax officers deal with the whole council tax process from initial billing, to the collection of tax.  Duties include:

  • keeping the computer database showing taxpayers' details up to date, for example, when they receive new information about someone moving into or out of a property or claiming a council tax exemption or reduction;
  • preparing and dispatching council tax bills, reminder notices, summonses and other important correspondence;
  • setting up and amending direct debit instructions;
  • negotiating, agreeing and monitoring arrangements made with taxpayers who have had difficulties with payments;
  • reviewing discounts and exemptions to check who is entitled to what;
  • liaising with the Benefits Section to ensure that customers are awarded any council tax benefit that they are entitled to;
  • where necessary transferring and reallocating cash between and within accounts along with preparing refunds;
  • preparing paperwork and documentary evidence if a resident appeals against the amount of tax to be paid and they go to a tax tribunal;
  • both interviewing defaulters and acting as an advocate to seek to obtain liability orders atMagistrates Court hearings; 
  • working with a wide range of contacts including members of the public, solicitors, other Councils, Universities, employers, the Benefits Agency, the Official Receiver, social services, the public utilities (gas, water, electricity) and other sections within the council to both ensure that council tax records are accurate and up-to-date along with obtaining information about debtors;
  • taking telephone calls from people who have enquiries regarding their council tax accounts - they may sometimes have to deal with difficult customers, particularly those who have had recovery proceedings taken against them;
  • dealing with more complex enquiries regarding liability for the charge such as making a decision over where a persons "main" residence is or whether a property should be designated as a house in multiple occupation;
  • processing and balancing lists of changes to both bandings and properties  received from the Valuation Office Agency;
  • checking prelists of accounts and deciding which accounts should receive a summons in line with guidance given.

A council tax officer's work has annual peaks, for instance in March and April when the annual bills are prepared and sent out.

Skills & Interests
Council tax officers need to:

  • be accurate with good attention to detail;
  • be able to follow precisely and understand detailed procedures and carry out complex calculations;
  • have good written and verbal communication skills, in order to communicate tactfully with a wide range of different people;
  • be able to work both on their own initiative and as part of a team;
  • be able to prioritise work in order to meet deadlines;
  • demonstrate knowledge of council tax legislation and data protection;
  • have excellent ICT skills.

Senior staff who appear at court and tribunals need confidence in public speaking.

Entry Requirements
There are no standard entry requirements.  Most councils, however, ask for a minimum of four GCSEs grade at C or above, including English and Maths. Equivalent qualifications such as NVQs/SVQs or intermediate GNVQ/GSVQ business are usually acceptable alternatives.  Some councils might ask for previous relevant experience.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
There might be prospects of promotion to senior council tax officer or council tax manager.  With more experience in the role, council tax officers could progress into other management roles within the wider revenues and benefits team, or within the finance department as a whole.  With further experience and qualifications, there would be a chance to take up specialist accounting jobs.

Further Information & Services
Association of Accounting Technicians 
Chartered Instituteof Management 
Institute forthe Management of Information Systems 
Instituteof Chartered Accountantsin Englandand 
Instituteof Revenues, Rating and Valuation 
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants 
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( in your local library, careers officeor school careers library.

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