Council tax for canal boats

A question often asked by non-boaters is “do you pay council tax?” and the answer in most cases is, quite simply, no. If you live on a boat, you’re not in a house, and council tax is based on the notion of conventional land-dwellings.

Of course, if you own a boat and a house, you’ll be paying council tax as usual on the home address.

There is one exception in that if you have an official residential mooring, you will pay Council Tax because it’s classed as a normal domestic residence albeit that it happens to be a boat. Generally such moorings are given a Band ‘A’ classification, which is the lowest.

If it seems unfair to be ‘getting away’ without paying council tax, remember that you do instead pay roughly the same amount each year to the Canal & River Trust or other water authority for your boat licence, which covers maintenance of your environment, water supply and waste disposal – so it’s arguably equivalent to at least some of the functions for which council tax is collected.

On the other hand, you’re not contributing towards local libraries, parks and whatever else it is that local councils do.