Serving the people of Long Ashton & Leigh Woods

Precept FAQs

A parish council precept is a tax that parish councils charge their local electors to meet their budget requirements. It is added to the council tax bill and is shown alongside other additions such as police, fire and social care. The precept is based on the number of properties in a parish that are liable to pay council tax, and the amount varies depending on the spending plans and needs of each parish council.

  • How is the precept calculated? The precept is calculated by multiplying the council tax base (the number of properties in a parish that are liable to pay council tax) by the precept rate (the amount per property that the parish council decides to charge).
  • How is the precept spent? The precept is spent on providing services and facilities for the benefit of the parish, such as maintaining public spaces, supporting community groups, or funding local projects.
  • How can I find out how much precept my parish council charges? You can find out how much precept your parish council charges by looking at your council tax bill, or by contacting your parish council directly.
  • What is the Council Tax Base? The Council Tax Base is effectively the number of properties in a particular area that are liable to pay Council Tax.
  • When is the Council Tax Base determined? The Local Government Finance Act 1992 requires every billing authority to calculate its Council Tax Base in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012 and must do so at some point between 1st December and 31st January leading up to the next financial year.
  • Why is it expressed as Band D equivalents? The legislation referred to above dictates that the Tax Base must be expressed as Band D equivalents, as a single measure of the number of properties liable to pay Council Tax.
  • How is it calculated? All properties are valued by the Valuation Office Agency (an Executive Agency of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) in to 1 of 8 Bands, A to H. The number of properties in each Band after taking account of discounts, exemptions, and the Local Council Tax Support Scheme in a particular area are converted to Band D equivalents using the following proportions:

A 6/9ths
B 7/9ths
C 8/9ths
D 9/9ths
E 11/9ths
F 13/9ths
G 15/9ths
H 18/9ths

Band A therefore is equivalent to 6/9ths of a Band D and, at the other end of the scale, Band H is equivalent to 18/9ths or more simply 2 Band D's.

    • What factors influence the movements from one year to the next? As referred to in the previous question, not all properties are liable to pay the full amount of Council Tax as they may be entitled to a discount, exemption, or help through the Local Council Tax Support Scheme. Changes in discounts, exemptions & Local Council Tax Support, as well as new build properties and demolitions, all affect the level of the Council Tax Base.
    • Can the Council Tax Base change even if no new houses have been built in the Parish? Yes – the Council Tax Base could change as a result of changes in discounts, exemptions & Local Council Tax Support.
    • Why is the Council Tax Base important when setting the Parish Precept? The Council Tax Base is important as, in effect, it will be the number of properties the Parish Precept is levied against.
    • How is the precept reflected on Council Tax Bills? The Parish Precept will be divided by the number of Band D equivalents in the Council Tax Base and then applied to Council Tax Bills in the proportions previously referred to. Both the old and new precept figures applicable to the relevant Band will be reflected on the face of Council Tax bills with a percentage increase from one year to the next rounded to 1 decimal place.
    • What factors should be considered when setting the total Parish Precept? The Parish Council will need to consider what funding is required to pay for the provision of services it is proposing to undertake in the forthcoming year. It will also need to consider the number of Council Tax payers (Council Tax Base) that the precept will be levied against. A combination of these 2 factors will determine the impact upon individual Council Tax bills.
    • Is there a limit as to the annual increase in a precept? Local Authorities have for a number of years been restricted to a 2% increase in Council Tax levels for Band D equivalent dwellings before which a referendum would be required to agree anything higher. No such restriction applies to Parish Councils although the Government has stated in past Local Government Financial Settlement Consultations that it would keep this under review and take action if necessary. The consultation for the 2018-19 settlement can be found via the following link – (note that Pg16, Q.10 Para 4.2.1. specifically refers): The focus of the consultation is on Parish Councils exercising restraint when setting precepts. Any revised proposals will be included in the Provisional Local Government Financial Settlement due later in the year.
    • What information is required in support of the precept? Parish / Town Councils are required to complete the formal Precept demand form, which quantifies the precept required & will contain an authorising signature, and a Budget pro forma statement. The latter provides an estimate of expenditure & income which should balance back to the precept requested, and will also require an authorised signature.

Last updated: Tue, 22 Aug 2023 19:23