If you are wondering how much your council tax is going to rise this year - use this fantastic widget to find out just how much you will be paying.
It comes as Staffordshire County Council is poised to approve tax hikes of almost five per cent to tackle the social care crisis, research revealed today. Our survey shows Staffordshire County Council has lined up a 4.95 per cent council tax rise in April - almost the maximum allowed without putting it to a referendum.
That will mean a rise in council tax of £54 for a Band D property in the county, bringing the total up to £1,600 per year in East Staffordshire - not including precepts set by bodies like the police and fire service. Stoke-on-Trent is planning to raise council tax by three per cent.
In South Derbyshire, the council tax will rise by 3.99 per cent. This will mean a Band D property bill will go up £46 to £1,635 per year.
Nationwide research shows just four councils have proposed freezing council tax completely, and just four more are planning a rise of less than three per cent. The Department for Communities and Local Government has announced £900 million for social care, giving councils £7.6 billion total dedicated funding over four years.
But local councils have warned the money is not enough. A DCLG spokesman said: "Council tax is expected to be lower in real terms at the end of this Parliament than it was in 2010, and we are giving councils almost £20 billion to provide the services that local people most value."
Using our tool, enter your postcode to bring up a page of results. Then:
1. Use the drop-down box to select your 'band' of home - which can be found on your last council tax bill or by searching here. If you're still not sure just put Band D, which represents the 'average' home.
2. This is the percentage council rise, including any general rise (up to 1.99 per cent) AND any specific rise for social care (up to three per cent), that has been recommended to councillors. It is the basis for the rest of the calculator - however, it may change as councillors give their budgets final approval.
3. This is the total bill for your home, including all elements of council tax, in the year beginning April 2016.
4. This is the projected total bill for your home in the year beginning April 2017. It includes smaller elements of council tax, such as police, parish and fire payments, but excludes any increases to those small elements over the last year. That means our total may be slightly lower than what you actually pay.
5. This is the date councillors are, or were, due to approve the final rate in your area.
How does council tax work?
One council tax bill is charged on every home - but with discounts for single occupants, students, carers and the disabled. Council tax is made up of 'precepts'. If your council tax bill is a pizza, each precept is a slice.
The biggest precept by far is for your local 'social care authority'. These are county, unitary, metropolitan or London borough councils. Smaller precepts are then added on top for parish councils, the police and the fire service.
All of these are allowed to rise too, but because they're smaller you'll notice the change a lot less.
If you live under a county council - for example Kent or Surrey - then you also have a district or borough council precept on top. Their bills aren't allowed to rise as steeply in percentage terms as county councils', because they don't have social care on their books.
What council tax band am I?
Council tax bands in England are calculated using an odd system that hasn't changed for decades. Your house is valued on the basis of what it would've sold for if it was around on 1 April 1991.
Your area's 'Band D' council tax is then divided into ninths, and multiplied by a set number to calculate your final bill.
Here's how that works.
Band - Fraction of Band D bill - Home value in 1991
A - 6/9 - up to £40,000
B - 7/9 - £40,001 to £52,000
C - 8/9 - £52,001 to £68,000
D - 9/9 - £68,001 to £88,000
E - 11/9 - £88,001 to £120,000
F - 13/9 - £120,001 to £160,000
G - 15/9 - £160,001 to £320,000
H - 18/9 - more than £320,000
What if I think your calculator is wrong?
Seven of 151 councils had no publicly available figure when our first round of research ended on 15 February 2017. They appear as 'TBC'.
And some of our figures will end up being out-of-date over the next few weeks if councillors reject the rates suggested to them.
If you know of a council where the rate has changed compared to the one in our research, we are happy to update our calculator. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Council tax calculator 2017".
Calculator last updated: 16 February 2017