What you could be entitled to
You could be entitled to a reduction in your Council Tax bill if you qualify for a discount or exemption.
Below is a list of the discounts or exemptions offered and how to apply.
If you are on a low income and need financial support, you can claim assistance via the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
Single person discount
The single person discount recognises that single adults make a reduced personal use of local services, whilst still benefiting from services that protect and enhance their property (like fire cover, street lighting, etc).
A full council tax bill is based on at least two adults living in a home. Adults are those aged 18 or over. You get 25% off your bill if you live on your own, or you live with someone who is not counted (‘disregarded’) for the purposes of council tax.
For example, a single parent with no children over the age of 18 would receive 25% off their council tax bill.
You do not pay more if you have more than two adults living there.
Single person discount review
To complete your Single person discount declaration, you will need to provide your account reference and your unique identifier number which has already been provided to you.
Change of circumstances
Let us know if you are no longer entitled to single person discount.
Households where everyone is a full-time student, do not have to pay council tax.
To count as a full-time student, your course must normally last at least one year and involve at least 21 hours of study per week. If you study for a qualification up to A-level and you are under 20, your course must last at least three months and involve at least 12 hours of study per week. The exemption extends to students’ spouses or dependents who are not British citizens, and who are prevented by the terms of their entry visa from taking paid employment or from claiming benefit.
If you are a full-time student and share a property with one or more people who are not full-time students, then they will need to pay the council tax bill. However, because students are not counted for council tax, if you are not a full-time student but share a property solely with one or more people who are full-time students, you may be able to qualify for the single-person discount, which reduces the bill by 25%.
Halls of residence for students are exempt from council tax as long as the accommodation is owned or managed by an educational establishment (such as a college or university) or where an educational establishment nominates the majority of the student residents. The accommodation must be provided predominantly for students, which does not prevent part of the accommodation from being used for staff or other people.
If you are a student and own a home that you have to leave unoccupied in order to study, then the home you own may also be exempt from council tax for as long as you remain a student.
Self-contained annex discount
Annexes to homes are generally subject to a separate council tax bill. However, if you have an annexe to your home, you may be able to obtain a 50% discount on your council tax bill for the annexe if you are using the annexe as part of your main home.
If you live in an annexe as your main home, you may get a 50% discount on your council tax bill if you are a relative of the person who is responsible for paying council tax on the main property.
Patients in care home discount
Your home will usually be exempt from council tax when it is unoccupied because you have moved into a residential care home, nursing home, hospital or hostel in which you are receiving care or treatment and is now your main residence.
To qualify for the exemption, you must have been living at the care home or hospital since you moved out of your old home and will qualify for the exemption as long as you stay there. There is no time limit for this exemption.
You are exempt from council tax if your property is empty because you are:
- detained in prison or hospital by order of a court
- detained prior to deportation
- detained under the Mental Health Act 1983
- subject to military imprisonment
If you are detained for non-payment of council tax or a fine, you will not qualify for this exemption.
You may be eligible for a reduction in the council tax banding of your property if you live in a larger property than you would otherwise need because you or another occupant are disabled. To be eligible, you need to show you have either:
- an extra bathroom, kitchen or other room that you need for the disabled person
- extra space inside the property for using a wheelchair
The property must be the main home of at least one disabled person. This can be an adult or a child - it doesn’t have to be the person responsible for paying council tax.
If you apply for the reduction and these criteria are met, then your council tax bill is reduced to the amount payable for a home in the valuation band below yours. If you are in the lowest band already (Band A) you get a reduction of one sixth of the bill.
Child benefit discount
You may qualify for a discount if you’re under 20 and you meet all the following conditions:
- you’re on a qualifying course of education
- you must attend at least 12 hours a week
- the course lasts at least 3 months
- you or your family are still in receipt of Child Benefit for you
Second home discount - job related
In certain cases, the 50% discount cannot be reduced by your council. In particular, the 50% discount needs to be applied where a second home is left empty if you are required by your employer to move elsewhere for job-related purposes. This might apply, for example, if you are a member of the armed services and you are required to move into Ministry of Defence accommodation in Great Britain as part of your posting.
You can qualify for a discount if you are employed to learn a trade or a profession and you meet all the following conditions:
- you aren’t paid more than £195 a week
- your salary is substantially less than you’d get once you’re qualified
- your training programme leads to a qualification accredited by the National Council for Vocational Qualifications or the Scottish Vocational Education Council
Visiting forces discount
Living accommodation for UK armed forces owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is exempt from council tax whether it is occupied or not. This includes barracks and other accommodation on military bases, together with married quarters, as long as this accommodation is held for the purposes of forces accommodation.
The MoD does, however, charge their residents contributions in lieu of council tax, which are paid to the local authority. These contributions are calculated
and administered by the MoD and are set to broadly match the amount of council tax which would otherwise have been payable.
If you are a member of the armed services, you may be entitled to receive a discount of 50% where your main job-related accommodation is provided by the MoD in Great Britain as part of your posting.
Properties are also exempt if the occupier is associated with a visiting overseas force. A dwelling may also be exempt if any one of the persons who would be liable to pay the council tax is associated with a visiting force.
Youth training discount
A person normally resident in the property but who is a Youth Training Trainee will be disregarded if they satisfy the conditions set below:
- under the age of 25; and
- undertaking training:
- pursuant to arrangements made under section 2 of the Employment and Training Act 1973(a)
- which is funded by the Learning and Skills Council for England
Severely mentally impaired discount
The rules say the person must be 'severely mentally impaired' (SMI). This includes people who:
- have been diagnosed as suffering with severe and enduring mental health issues including Alzheimer's disease
- suffer from other forms of dementia
- have had a stroke(s)
Their condition must be confirmed by a doctor.
The mentally disabled person must also qualify for one of the following benefits even if they don't receive it, for example, because they are pension age:
- short-term or long-term Incapacity Benefit (IB)
- employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Attendance Allowance (AA)
- Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)
- the highest or middle-rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Personal Independence Payment Daily Living Component at either standard or enhanced rate
- an increase in Disablement Pension for constant attendance
- the disability element of Working Tax Credit
- Unemployability Supplement (abolished in 1987 but existing claimants remain entitled)
- Constant Attendance Allowance payable under the Industrial Injuries or War Pension schemes
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Income Support which includes a disability premium because of incapacity for work
- the ‘limited capability for work’ or ‘the limited capability for work related elements’ of Universal Credit
If in receipt of one of the benefits listed, please provide evidence such as the award letter/s showing when the award was first in payment and that it is still in payment.
A mentally disabled person in your household does not always lead to a reduction in Council Tax. No reduction will be given where two or more adults (who are counted for Council Tax purposes) are resident.
If only one person, or a number of people, live at the property and they are all mentally disabled this is covered by a different rule and the property may be exempt from Council Tax.
In addition, an annexe will be fully exempt (which means you don’t have to pay council tax) if it has a dependant relative living in it as their main, or only, home. A relative is dependent if they are:
- aged 65 or over
- substantially or permanently disabled, or
- severely mentally impaired
An exemption may also be granted where an annexe is empty and cannot be let separately without a breach of planning permission. This exemption can be granted regardless of whether the property is furnished or not and continues as long as nobody is living in the annexe.
An annexe would also not be liable for council tax if it was occupied by someone under the age of 18 or who was in full-time education.
When a property becomes empty after the death of the owner, the property is exempt from council tax for as long as it remains unoccupied and until probate is granted.
Following a grant of probate, a further six months exemption is possible as long as the property remains unoccupied and has not been sold or transferred to someone else. However, the full council tax due will need to be paid by the executors of the estate at the end of this period.
If you are the beneficiary of a will and have inherited a property, you may wish to discuss liability for council tax with your solicitor as the interaction of council tax and inheritance law is complex and depends on the particular circumstances.
A property owned by a charity is exempt from council tax if it is unoccupied and has been so for a period of less than six months, and was last occupied for the purposes of the charity.
Care workers discount
A person may be disregarded for the purposes of discount if:
- he/she is providing care or support or both to another person or persons and either
- he/she is providing care or support on behalf of a local authority or charitable body; or
- is employed to provide such care or support by the person to whom it is provided and to whom he/she was introduced by a local authority or charitable body
- is engaged or employed to do so for at least 24 hours a week; and
- is in receipt under the engagement or employment of not more than £44 a week; and
- is resident in premises provided by or on behalf of the local authority or charitable body, or by his/her employer, for the better performance of his/her work
To meet the criteria for a carers discount, the person providing care must:
- be a resident at the same address as the disabled person
- be providing care for at least 35 hours per week
- not be the husband, wife or civil partner of the person
- not be the parent of the person, if they are under 18
The people being cared for must also receive one of the following benefits:
- Attendance Allowance
- highest or middle rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- an increase in the rate of disablement pension
- an increase in the rate of Constant Attendance Allowance
- standard or enhanced rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Armed Forces independent payment
Please note - You do not have to be in receipt of a Carer's Allowance to claim a discount.
Member of a religious community discount
If you are a member of a religious community, for example, if you are a monk or nun, you may qualify for a council tax discount.
To qualify for a discount:
- you must be a member of a religious community where the principal occupation is one or any combination of the following:
- the relief of suffering
- each person must have no income, with the exception of any occupational pension due to former employment, or capital of his or her own
- all persons must be dependent upon the community for their material needs.