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Discounts & exemptions

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Normally properties occupied by 2 or more adults will be subject to full Council Tax and vacant properties will be subject to a 50% charge (after an initial six months free period.)

However, reductions are available for single occupants and properties occupied by people with special circumstances and full exemption can apply to properties that fulfil certain conditions.

Discounts

If a resident of a property falls into one of the criteria listed below (see Persons Not Counted for Council Tax) then that person would not be counted as a resident for Council Tax, but to qualify for discount there must be no more than one person left counted as resident. e.g. :

  1. A property occupied by 3 adults, one of whom is a student. The student would not be counted but there would be no discount as there are still 2 residents counted.
  2. A property occupied by 2 adults, one of whom is a student. The student would not be counted and the bill would be reduced by 25% as there is only one resident counted.
  3. Single occupiers get 25% discount automatically.

If you are a low income household you may also be eligible under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme which replaced Council Tax benefit in 2013.

These are brief notes for guidance only and further conditions may apply.

Person's circumstances Comments
Under 18s Under 18s are not regarded as residents for Council Tax purposes.
See also exempt properties.
Full time students, those under 20 years of age doing a qualifying part-time course, and foreign language assistants See also exempt properties 
A non-British spouse, civil partner or dependant of a person falling within the category shown immediately above. Must be prevented from taking paid employment or claiming state benefits – see also exempt properties relating to students etc.
Student Nurses who are not full-time. Must be following a course leading to registration under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979
18 & 19 year olds, who have left school or college after 30th April. Disregarded until 1st November. 
People in respect of whom Child Benefit is payable. This applies to those 18 or over (under 18s are not regarded as residents). 
Youth Training Trainees. Must be under 25 and undertaking an approved training course.
Apprentices. Must be undertaking a training course leading to a recognised qualification and paid not more than £195.00 per week.
People living with & caring for someone. Except where the person is caring for a spouse, partner or child under 18 (if the carer is the parent). Care must be provided for at least 35 hours a week (on average). The person being cared for must be entitled to a qualifying state benefit.
Care workers on low pay. Caring for at least 24 hours a week and receiving not more than £44.00 per week.
People who are Severely Mentally Impaired. A doctor’s certificate will be required and the person must be entitled to a qualifying state benefit. See also exempt properties.
Convicted and Remand Prisoners.  Except where offence is for non payment of Council Tax or a fine. 
Person whose main residence is in a hospital. The person will be disregarded in respect of the dwelling provided at the hospital.
Person whose main residence is in a nursing/care home. Must be receiving care or treatment to be disregarded at the nursing/care home.
Members of a religious community. Provided there is no personal income or capital (receipt of a former employment pension does not disqualify).
Residents of hostels for the homeless or night shelters. The premises must be used essentially for persons of no fixed abode and the accommodation must not be self-contained.
Members and dependants of a Visiting Force. May also be a member of a civilian component of the force, or a dependant of a member, provided the dependant is not a British citizen or is not ordinarily resident in the UK.
Members and dependants of International Headquarters & Defence Organisations. Organisations designated under S.1 of the International Headquarters and Defence Organisations Act 1964. See also exempt properties.
Persons with diplomatic (or similar) privilege or immunity. Must not be a British citizen or a permanent resident in the UK. See also exempt properties.

If a disabled person (adult or child) is resident then you may be able to get a reduction in your Council Tax bill.

To qualify, the property must have one of the following features in order to meet the needs of the disabled person:-

  1. A room, other than a bathroom, kitchen or lavatory, which is predominantly used by and required for meeting the needs of the disabled person (Please note that the reduction will not apply if the room used by the disabled person would be required, by the household, for use as a bedroom or living room, even if he/she was not disabled)
  2. A second kitchen or bathroom used for meeting the needs of the disabled person, or
  3. Widened doorways or access to cater for the use of a wheel chair indoors.

If you qualify you will be charged a band below that in which your property has been assessed e.g.
If your property is in band D then the charge will be at band C rate.

If your home is assessed as band A, which is the lowest band, we can still offer you a discount if one of the above conditions are met.

To apply simply complete the online application form or contact the Council Tax section on 01554 742200.

Once you have completed the application form an officer will contact you to arrange a suitable time to visit you at your home to assess your claim.

Most empty properties will be exempt from Council Tax for the first six months, after which a 50% charge will apply. There are some exceptions to this rule, and in certain circumstances there will be no charge at all, even if the property is occupied. Please see exempt properties.

Properties which are Unoccupied but Substantially Furnished
If a property is unoccupied but remains furnished there will, generally, be no exempt period, nor will there be any discount allowed.

A discount will only be granted, in respect of unoccupied properties which are furnished:-

  • If the council tax payer is liable for the council tax in respect of another property, where he lives for the better performance of his duties and it is the type of employment where the employee is, generally, required to live at a specific property.
  • If a caravan or boat has been left unoccupied.
  • If the personal representatives of a deceased person are liable to pay the council tax (further conditions and a time limit can apply).

These are brief notes for guidance only and further conditions may apply.

Criteria for exemption Comments
Property becoming unoccupied and substantially unfurnished. The exemption is limited to a period of 6 months regardless of a change of owner or council tax payer. Thereafter a charge of 50% is due (if the property remains unfurnished).
Unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings where major works are required, under way or recently completed. The exemption is limited to a period of 12 months regardless of a change of owner or council tax payer. Thereafter a charge of 50% is due (if the property remains unfurnished).
Properties left empty by patients in hospital or care homes. This does not apply to short stays.
Dwellings left unoccupied by persons receiving care (other than in a hospital/care home). Dwelling must have been the main residence of the person receiving care. Does not apply to short periods of convalescence.
Dwellings left unoccupied by persons providing care. Dwelling must have been the main residence of the person providing care.
Council Tax Payer has passed away and property has been unoccupied since then. Exemption applies in respect of deceased owners (when there is no current owner) and to deceased tenants when the personal representatives are still liable to pay rent. Exemption will cease when 6 months have elapsed after obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration (but a discount may apply after this).
Repossessed properties where mortgagee is in possession. Property must be unoccupied.
Unoccupied annexes Only where the annexe cannot be let separately from the main home due to planning restrictions.
Empty dwellings owned by charities. For a maximum period of 6 months provided the property was being used for the purpose of the charity.
Empty Clergy dwellings. Exempt only if held for the future occupation by a minister of religion
Dwellings left unoccupied by Prisoners. The dwelling must have been, or would be, their main home (does not apply if offence is for non payment of Council Tax or fine).
Dwellings which are prohibited by law from being occupied. Does not apply if the property is occupied illegally.
Empty properties where the owner is a student. Must have been last occupied as the main residence of the student owner. The owner must have been a student since leaving, or become a student within 6 weeks of leaving.
Dwellings left empty by bankrupts. Allowed only where the liable person is a trustee.
Dwellings consisting of a caravan pitch or mooring Only when not occupied by a caravan or boat
Halls of residence for students Accommodation must be owned or managed by a prescribed educational establishment or by a body established for charitable purposes only.
Dwellings occupied exclusively by relevant persons i.e. full time students, those under 20 years of age doing a qualifying part-time course,  or foreign language assistants or by certain non-British spouses/ civil partners / dependants of the above, or by certain school / college leavers. Part-time students must be under 20 years of age doing courses usually carried out during the day and which are not courses of higher education, The non-British spouses/ partners/dependants must be prevented from taking paid employment or claiming state benefits,and the school-leavers must have left after 30th April and before 1st November in any year .
Dwellings occupied exclusively by persons who are Severely Mentally Impaired or where relevant persons are also occupying. Does not apply if the person who is severely mentally impaired would not, otherwise be liable e.g. a nursing home when the owner, and not the resident, is liable. A doctor’s certificate will be required and the person must be entitled to a qualifying state benefit. Exemption still applies if a relevant person is also occupying (see above category for relevant persons).
An Annexe occupied by an elderly or disabled relative. Must be the main residence of a person aged 65 or more, or who is severely mentally impaired, or who is substantially and permanently disabled. Must also be related to a person who is resident in the main dwelling.
Dwellings occupied exclusively by those under 18. Exemption will continue until an occupier becomes 18.
Armed Forces Accommodation.   Exemption applies to dwellings owned by the Secretary of State for Defence whether occupied or unoccupied.
A dwelling occupied by a person with diplomatic (or similar) privilege or immunity Exemption does not apply if that person would not, otherwise, be liable. The person must not be a British citizen or a permanent resident in the UK.
Dwelling occupied by a member (or dependant of a member) of a Visiting Force. Exemption does not apply if that person would not, otherwise, be liable. Also applies to a member of a civilian component of the Force, or a dependant of a member provided the dependant is not a British citizen or is not ordinarily resident in the UK.

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Page updated on: 31/01/2017

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