This page provides information about Council Tax and Council Tax exemption.

What Council Tax is

Council Tax is a locally set tax payable on all domestic properties. In most cases there will be one bill per property, whether it is rented or owned and whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile home or houseboat. It is collected to help pay for local services such as police, fire, schools, roads, libraries and rubbish collection, as well as many other local services. Council Tax is not a direct payment for these services and is therefore payable whether or not these services are actually used.

Council Tax exemption

Properties only occupied by full-time students will be exempt from paying Council Tax.

How do I know if I am exempt from paying Council Tax?

If you are a full-time student and you ONLY live with other full-time students, then your house should be exempt from Council Tax.

Postgraduate Research Students (PGRS) who are in an approved extension registration period (section 4.7 of PGRS handbook) are not eligible for Council Tax exemption.

More information about exemption criteria is available on the Portsmouth City Council website.

How to let the Council know that you don’t have to pay Council Tax

If you live within the PO1-PO6 postcode area of Portsmouth, and are exempt from paying Council Tax, the University will automatically inform Portsmouth City Council that you are exempt. However if you are living in rented accommodation, your landlord may request confirmation that you are exempt, in which case you will need to obtain a Council Tax Exemption Certificate from the Academic Registry.

If you live in a different postcode area of Portsmouth, or a different council area, then you will need to obtain a Council Tax Exemption Certificate from the Academic Registry, and send this to your local council.

How to get a Council Tax Exemption Certificate

To request a Council Tax Exemption Certificate, you will need to contact Academic Registry using the following contact details below:

You will need to provide us with your full name, student ID number, whether you want the certificate emailed to you or printed out. If you want it printed out, you can collect it from the Academic Registry counter, but you must bring your Student Card with you as identification.


Telephone: +44 (0)23 9284 3426

Alternatively you can visit the Academic Registry Counter at the following address:

Academic Registry Counter

University House

Winston Churchill Avenue



Different Council Tax circumstances

  • One housemate is repeating units and not studying for the full year

They become liable to pay Council Tax as the student is not studying full-time. However, they can apply for a 25 per cent discount on the grounds that the other occupants of the house should be disregarded, being full-time students.

  • More than one of my housemates isn’t studying full-time

They become liable to pay Council Tax as above, but no discount is applicable. There may also be a liability for any students living in the property to pay a share of the bill. If a student shares a property with a person liable for Council Tax and it is not paid, the student could still be considered jointly liable and pursued for non-payment.

  • I interrupt my studies

If you interrupt your studies due to illness you are not liable for Council Tax (evidence needed) but if you withdraw from your studies you are.

  • I’ve completed my undergraduate degree and am starting a Master's degree

You stop being a full-time student at the end of the academic year of your final year, not when you graduate from your undergraduate degree, as graduation is voluntary for attendance. Once the academic year ends, you will become liable for paying council tax even if you are graduating. If you are going to start a Master's degree, this is not classed as 'continuing study', but a new course of study therefore you will be liable for paying council tax in the period between the date the academic year ends and then if you are going to be studying your Master's on a full-time basis, the date your course starts in the new academic year.

For any queries regarding to Council Tax, please contact Student Housing or the Local Taxation Office of Portsmouth City Council:

Portsmouth City Council

Civic Offices

Guildhall Square

Portsmouth, PO1 2BG

T:+44 (0)23 9282 2251

Or visit the Portsmouth City Council website.

Enter your email address to receive a notification when the article is updated
Email Address

Was this article helpful
Thank you for your feedback
How can we improve?