In the UK a planning application fee is paid to the local authority with the rates being set by the government. The fees were introduced to allow for a fairer system with the applicants covering the costs rather than a tax payer, however, the overreaching planning system is funded by the local authority via council tax, government grants and business rates.
Most applications require a fee to be paid but there are exceptions including listed building consent where no fee is paid. Different types of applications have different costs all of which have no vat charged and need to be paid at the time that the application is submitted.
The fee for householder applications for alterations/extensions to a dwelling house including work within the boundary is currently £206 and a full application for up to 50 new dwellings is £462 per dwelling. A full list of the current fees is available here or can use the fee calculator here
Most local authorities now ask for electronic submissions via the Planning Portal who request a service charge of £25 inc. vat for applications with fee over £60.