Can I reduce my council tax?
The full Council tax bill assumes there are two adults (over 18) living in a property. There are various types of discounts and exemptions available to Council Tax payers which would reduce the amount of council tax to be paid. These do not depend on income but instead are granted if certain conditions are met.
From April 2013 the range of discounts and exemptions has changed. You can find out more about these by following this link: April 2013 changes
Single Occupancy Discount
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.
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.
Unoccupied and Unfurnished Discount
From April 2013 there is a 100% Council Tax Discount on any property that becomes unoccupied and unfurnished (immediately following a period when the property was occupied for a minimum of 6 weeks) for a period of up to 1 month. After this time, a 25% discount will be applied for a further 5 months. If the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished after this period then a 100% council tax charge will be applied for a period up to a maximum of 2 years (from the date the property first became unoccupied)
Long Term Empty Property Discount
From April 2013, once a property has been empty for a period of 2 years or more a charge of 150% of the council tax liability will be applied. This will remain in place until the property is either occupied or removed from the Council Tax Banding list.
Unoccupied and Furnished Discount
Properties that are unoccupied but furnished and properties that are no-one's 'sole or main residence' - i.e. 2nd homes and unoccupied furnished lets - will be charged 90% council tax whilst the property remains unoccupied. If you were in receipt of this discount prior to 1st April 2013, it will automatically continue on your new council tax bill.
If you have applied for a discount you should continue to make payment in line with your current council tax bill. If a discount is then awarded you will be issued with a further bill and new payment instructions. This will take account of any payments you have already made.
A full exemption from council tax is possible under certain qualifying circumstances. These are listed below and in the council tax guide book [7Mb].
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.
Current exemption classes available:
- Class B - owned by a charity (exempt for up to 6 months only). Charity registration number required on application.
- Class D - the tax payer is in prison (except for those in prison for non-payment of fines or Council Tax)
- Class E - the tax payer has left it to go and live in a care home
- Class F - the tax payer has died (exempt for up to 6 months after probate granted)
- Class G - can't be lived in by law
- Class H - held for a minister of religion
- Class I - the tax payer has gone to live elsewhere to receive personal care
- Class J - the taxpayer has gone to live elsewhere to provide personal care
- Class K - left empty by a student
- Class L - the mortgagee has possession
- Class M - student halls of residence
- Class N - all occupiers are students, school or college leavers or non-British dependants or partners of students
- Class O - UK armed forces accommodation
- Class P - visiting forces accommodation
- Class Q - the taxpayer is trustee to a bankrupt
- Class R - unused caravan pitch or boat mooring
- Class S - all occupiers are under 18
- Class T - unoccupied annexe to occupied property
- Class U - all occupiers are severely mentally impaired
- Class V - main residence of a person with diplomatic privilege or immunity
- Class W - the annexe to a property occupied by a dependant relative.
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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