Residents across Sussex are owed a share of millions in overpaid council tax, new figures show.

Councils across the county owe more than £3.5 million in total to 17,600 accounts, according to new statistics released by Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert site.

The figures were uncovered as part of a Freedom of Information request.

In Sussex, Mid Sussex District Council owed the most to residents with £653,211.74 currently unclaimed from 1,993 accounts.

Brighton and Hove City Council owes the most accounts, with 3,322 eligible to claim their share of a total of £582,786.54.

Full list of council tax owed per council:

  • Adur and Worthing - £541,982.93 owed to 2,327 accounts
  • Arun - £239,268.15 owed to 844 accounts
  • Brighton and Hove - £582,786.54 owed to 3,322 accounts
  • Chichester – £271,997.92 owed to 959 accounts
  • Crawley - £55,847.55 owed to 303 accounts
  • Eastbourne and Lewes - £291.694.72 owed to 1,179 accounts
  • Hastings - £150,824 owed to 816 accounts
  • Horsham - £474,295.93 owed to 1,876 accounts
  • Mid Sussex - £653,211.74 owed to 1,993 accounts
  • Rother - £361,265.47 owed to 1,570 accounts
  • Wealden - £406,922.08 owed to 1,232 accounts

How do I claim overpaid council tax?

Money Saving Expert urged anyone who thinks they are owed overpaid council tax to get in touch with their councils.

Brighton and Hove

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “In instances where residents pay their council by direct debit and have overpaid, we automatically refund them directly to the bank account it was paid from.

“In instances where residents who don’t pay by direct debit have overpaid, we issue a statement to let them know how much they are in credit by.

“Residents in credit can claim their refund via our website.”


A spokeswoman for Wealden District Council said: “If residents believe that they have overpaid their council tax they can check online themselves through our council tax portal and then email us at or call us directly to request a refund.”


A spokeswoman for Chichester District Council said: “We amend around 1,000 council tax accounts per week and customers who pay their council tax by direct debit are refunded automatically.

“Customers who pay in a different way will receive a council tax notification showing their refund, along with instructions on how to claim this online

“If a customer thinks they may be due a refund, they can check the latest account that they have received from us or log into their online account.

“If this isn’t possible, we would encourage anyone who has any questions or concerns about a refund to contact our team directly by emailing, using the subject header ‘council tax refund’.”


A spokesman for Crawley Town Council said: “Anyone who thinks they may be due a refund can check by viewing their account online or by emailing, quoting their account reference and requesting confirmation of the account balance.”


A Hastings Borough Council spokeswoman said: “Taxpayers who believe they are owed a refund can contact the council by emailing to request one.

“If the council tax was paid by direct debit, the refund will be paid back to the direct debit payer unless written authorisation is received from the direct debit payer requesting to refund by cheque or other nominated party.

“If the council tax was originally paid by cash or cheque and the account was in joint names, then the refund will be made out in joint names unless written authorisation has been received to issue the payment in one name only.”


An Arun District Council spokeswoman said: “If council tax has been overpaid, Arun District Council will automatically refund that if paid by direct debit.

“If we don’t have bank details, the quickest and easiest way is to apply for a refund online.

“Alternatively, contact us on 01903 737752 or residents will need their council tax account number.”

Mid Sussex

A Mid Sussex District Council spokeswoman said: “Any overpayments on closed accounts with live and recent direct debits will be refunded immediately, while any others will be contacted for refund arrangements.

“We will always continue to revisit untraceable residents or complex cases to ensure we refund as many residents as possible. Our efforts align with national trends and we will continue to refund as many credits as we can and remain responsive to any enquiries."

Lewes and Eastbourne

A spokesman for Lewes and Eastbourne Councils said: "Anyone who thinks they are owed council tax should contact our team and we will organise a refund. 

"Residents in Lewes district and in Eastbourne should visit our website.

"While the refund process is not automatic in every case,  if an account is closed and the customer paid by direct debit, we will issue the refund to where the payments had been received from.

"Also, if a direct debit is no longer in place or the resident is paying by cash, we would issue a refund form, but people do need to return them."