1. Council Tax billed and received
|Year to which bill refers||Net amount billed (£000s)||Amount recv'd (£000s) as at 31 March 2020||Amount uncollected (£000s) as at 31 March 2020||Percentage received as at 31 March 2020 a|
|Latest Year to 31 March 2020||2019-20||2,558,699||2,450,537||108,162||95.8|
|Total for previous years||1999-00 to 2018-19||37,219,403||36,170,143||1,049,261||97.2|
|Total for all years to 31 March 2020||1999-00 to 2019-20||39,778,102||38,620,680||1,157,423||97.1|
Source: Information supplied by local authorities to Scottish Government on the Council Tax Receipts Return (CTRR).
a Years prior to 2018-19 are closer to final collection rates as local authorities have had longer to collect late payments. The 2018-19 collection rate is understandably lower since it is effectively the in-year collection rate (i.e. before any late payments).
- All figures are net of discounts (e.g. single person discount), exemptions and surcharges (although not all local authorities can exclude surcharges – see below). The figures are before any amounts written off for bad or doubtful debt. They reflect any correction to liabilities following billing.
- Figures for amounts billed and collected up to and including 1995-96 include Council Water Charges.
- Dumfries and Galloway has only provided figures from 1996-97 onwards.
- Local authorities are asked to exclude surcharges, although this is not always possible. For years prior to 1996-97, surcharges have been included for Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Eilean Siar, Fife, North Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders and Shetland Islands.
- Figures from 2005-06 onwards include additional amounts in respect of reduced Second Home/Long Term Empty property discounts.
In Table 1, the net Council Tax billed across Scotland and the amount received by 31 March 2020 are shown dating back to 1999-00. Earlier years, from 1993-94 when Council Tax was introduced to 1998-99 have been archived as collection data for these earlier years are now fairly static. The archived net Council Tax billed and the amount received to 31 March 2019 for these earlier years is available in the publication tables.
The net amount billed rose sharply from £1.244 billion in 1999-00 to £1.931 billion (in cash terms) in 2007-08, principally due to increases in Council Tax levels, but with an additional smaller increase due to growth in the tax base (mainly due to an increase in the number of dwellings). In 2007-08 Council Tax was frozen, which is reflected in the data where the net amount billed flattens off between 2007-08 and 2016-17. The smaller increases in this period are due to growth in the tax base only, as a result of changes in the number and pattern of use of dwellings, as well as changes in household composition and awarding of Council Tax Benefit/Reduction. After 9 years of the Council Tax freeze, the Scottish Government secured the agreement of local authorities to cap locally determined council tax increases to 3 per cent in cash terms in both 2017-18 and 2018-19. In 2019-20 Council Tax increases were capped at 3 per cent in real terms, which was 4.79 per cent in cash terms. The increase in net amount billed between 2016-17 and 2019-20 reflects increased charges for properties in Bands E-H effective from April 2017 and the end of the Council Tax freeze. This pattern is shown in Chart 1.
It should be noted that Table 1 shows the amount and percentage collected as at 31 March 2020. For earlier years local authorities have had a longer time to collect any late payments, for example payments relating to the 2009-10 billing year have been collected over the last 10 years whereas for more recent years (particularly 2019-20), there has been less time for collection. This is the main reason why the 'percentage received at 31 March 2020' data show slightly lower percentages received for the later years. For the earlier years, it is unlikely that much more Council Tax will be collected; hence, for these years, the percentages received are close to final collection rates. Excluding the effect on later years described above, the collection rate for all years tends towards a value of just over 97 per cent.