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Council Tax Student Status Information

What is Council Tax?

Council Tax is set by and payable to local councils as a contribution to cost of the services that they provide. The Council Tax bill for a dwelling depends on its value and the number of adults living there. Some dwellings are exempt, which means that no Council Tax is payable and there will be no bill for the dwelling. In other cases certain people are disregarded when counting the number of adults in a dwelling and there may be a reduction in the bill.

How does Council Tax affect Students?

To qualify for exemption as a student you must be undertaking a full-time course of education.

This is defined as a programme of study:

  • On which students are normally required to attend for a period of at least 24 weeks in the academic year and
  • Would ordinarily require, in the opinion of the University, a student undertake tuition, study or work experience amounting to an average of 21 hours per week.

Students on full-time programmes of study who are repeating years on a part-time or “exams only” basis can also qualify for exemption if the repeating year is consecutive, i.e. immediately following a full-time year of study with no break in attendance at university.

Postgraduate research students who are in their writing up year can qualify for exemption from Council Tax if they meet the criteria outlined above.

University Halls of Residence are exempt from Council Tax, which means that students who live there will not have to prove their student status.

Students living elsewhere than a University Residence may be asked by the Council to prove their student status (e.g. in order to prove that at property where all residents are full-time students is entitled to exemption or to apply for a discount on the Council Tax bill where there are less than two adult residents in a property. )

London Borough of Camden has commenced a new system from November 2012, which SOAS has joined, which means that students living in the Borough of Camden do not need to obtain a Council Tax letter.  We provide the Borough of Camden with lists of enrolled students who live in their borough and they validate Council Tax exemption from this. Further details for SOAS students living in Camden

All students must ensure that contact details held by SOAS are up to date, particularly the term time address as we will not issue Letters for Council Tax for addresses not on our database. If you have recently changed address please inform us by completing the Change of Address form before you proceed with your application for a Council Tax letter.

How can I apply for a Council Tax Letter ?

A Council Tax Letter can be requested online through the Request an Official Certification Letter form. Normally Council Tax letters can be prepared within 3 working days from the receipt of the application and will be posted to you at your term time address. However, due to the large demand at the start of term a letter is likely to take at least 5 working days to be processed. 

You must have completed all elements of enrolment with SOAS for the year before we can provide your Council Tax letter.

If you have any enquiries concerning your request, please  e-mail: registrar@soas.ac.uk.