Can I reduce my council tax?
A full council tax charge assumes there are two adults (persons over 18) living in a property. There are various discounts and disregards (persons not counted for the purpose of council tax) that you can ask us for in certain circumstances.
From April 2013 the range of discounts and exemptions are changing. You can find out more about these by following this link: April 2013 changes
If you are the only adult living in your home you can claim a 25% reduction to your council tax. You will need to tell us about this, either when you first register for council tax liability, or when your circumstances change.
You must also tell us if you are receiving a single occupancy discount and another adult joins you in the property. We will then end the discount from the date the change occurred.
We review all accounts where a discount is in place at regular intervals and may contact or visit you to ensure the circumstances remain unchanged. We may also impose a financial penalty of £70, as provided for by law, if you do not inform us about a discount you should not be receiving.
When the property is not your main home, but is furnished, we will give you a 10% discount. You will be asked to prove that you pay council tax at your main home.
If a property is unfurnished and unoccupied for a period of more than 6 months, you can claim a 50% discount.
If you or anyone in your home is a full time student, student nurse or an apprentice, you may be able to claim a 25% discount.
A full exemption from council tax is possible under certain qualifying circumstances. These are listed in the Council Tax leaflet sent with your bill.
If your bill shows an exemption and your circumstances have changed, you must tell us. We can charge a penalty if you do not inform us about an exemption you should not be receiving.
An exemption is granted to the property, not the respective responsible parties. For example, if an exemption had been in place for 3 months before you purchased a property, you could only have the remaining 3 months of a 6 month exemption, if you did not immediately move in. Please note that if your property is occupied for less than six weeks between exempt periods, you can only be granted the remainder of any exemption period.
We review all properties where an exemption is in place at regular intervals and may visit to ensure the circumstances remain unchanged.
The most common reasons for exemption are listed below:
Unoccupied and Unfurnished (Class 'C')
A property can stand unoccupied and unfurnished for a total period of 6 months and be fully exempt from council tax. After this time, a full bill will be issued. If the occupancy circumstances remain unchanged, a 50% discount can then be applied for.
In need of structural repair (Class 'A')
When it is not possible to live in a property because major structural work is required, an exemption can be applied whilst the work is ongoing. The property will require a visit by a council tax inspector who will discuss the level of work with the liable party and a date will be agreed when this is due to start. The exemption will run from that date for up to a maximum of 12 months or up to the date the work is complete, whichever is earlier.
The taxpayer has died (Class 'F')
When a property is left unoccupied following the death of the taxpayer, a full exemption will be applied from the date of death. This can remain in place until 6 months after the date probate is granted, if the circumstances remain unchanged.
The taxpayer has left to live in a care home (Class 'E')
When a property is left unoccupied because the taxpayer has left to live in a care home, a full exemption can be applied from the date they originally left their home. This can only be applied once confirmation is received that their care is to be on a permanent basis, but can then be backdated to the date they left.
You may be entitled to a reduced council tax bill if you, or someone who lives with you have needs arising from a disability for:
- A room
- An extra bathroom or kitchen
- Extra space
The bill will be reduced to that of a property in the band immediately below the one you are currently charged in. If you are in band 'A', a reduction of one ninth of band 'D' will be made to qualifying accounts.
If you think you might qualify for disablement relief, we can arrange for a visiting officer to see you at your home, and discuss whether your circumstances mean you are eligible for this reduction.
If you think you might be entitled to any discount or exemption, please let us know. Our contact details can be found in the top left hand corner of this page.
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