Council Tax precept setting

Parish and town councils have the right to raise money from their parishioners via the Council Tax process. They do this by 'precepting' on the principal council (St Edmundsbury Borough Council) who levy on tax payers in that parish or town as part of the Council Tax billing. A Council Tax payer's bill will typically include a Council Tax charge for the county council, police authority, district or borough council and the parish council.

Timetable for the precept setting -  process and deadlines

Timing Process
End October Anglia Revenues Partnership collect information on the tax base for each parish and pass to the district or borough council
By 30 November Paperwork (precept setting form) and provisional tax base sent to parishes
December Tax base formally approved by St Edmundsbury Borough Council full council
By 31 January  (NB legal requirement is by 1 March) Parish and town councils hold precept meetings - formally agree precept; sign form and return to St Edmundsbury Borough Council. Information is requested by end January to feed into tax and budget setting meetings in February.
February St Edmundsbury council tax and budgets approved by full council. Information passed to Anglia Revenues Partnership (ARP).
20 days before 1 April Council Tax bills issued to bill payers

How the tax base is calculated by West Suffolk councils

The tax base is the number of properties that the councils are able to levy a Council Tax charge from. The tax base is expressed in terms of 'band D equivalent properties' and is calculated at a point in time (around October) taking into account all chargeable properties, this is then adjusted for:

  • any known development in the forthcoming year
  • any known discount or exemptions
  • an anticipated collection rate

How the precept is set by each parish or town council

Each parish or town council sets its precept (how much money it would like to raise from its tax payers), based on its budget requirement.

Once the parish council knows how much it needs then they will instruct the district or borough council using the annual 'precept form'.

Each parish or town council will have received this precept setting form electronically.

We offer assistance with using the form. Please contact Karen Bedford on: 01284 757248 or email at or Lyn Cornish on: 01284 757263 or email at   

Precept forms can be returned as signed and scanned documents; or an unsigned version can be sent electronically as long as a signed version is sent in by post.

How the council tax charge for each band in a parish or town is calculated

Once the district or borough council has established the tax base and precept for each parish or town council, the Council Tax that applies to each band of property in the parish is calculated. This is done by dividing the precept by the tax base to establish the charge for an average band D property. This charge is then added to the charges from Suffolk County Council, the relevant district or borough council and the Suffolk Police Authority and a ratio applied to calculate the charges for all other bands. Anglia Revenues Partnership, (which manages Council Tax collection on behalf West Suffolk councils), then apply discounts and exemptions for individual properties in order to issue bills to taxpayers. Examples of these processes are shown in the Council Tax charge presentation