Find out how to get a discount on your council tax bill if you are eligible for one, and learn how to apply for the discount if you are eligible.
When may we expect a reduction in our council tax bills?
A reduction in the amount of council tax that you have to pay may be available to you if you live alone, with students, persons for whom you provide care, or with people who live in certain conditions.
In point of fact, the amount of circumstances that are eligible for a discount might surprise you. This might range from single-person savings, even if you do not actually live by yourself, to the disabled band reduction scheme.
In this article, we detail all of the discounts that can be applied to your council tax bill, as well as the exclusions that may allow you to avoid paying any council tax at all.
Who does not have to pay the council tax?
There is a council tax band assigned to each and every property, however some homeowners are excused from having to pay their share of the payment. In most cases, this is determined by the people who currently reside in the house as well as the activities that take place there.
Properties are free from taxes if all of the residents of the properties are:
just students who attend school full-time
Members of the armed forces who are under the age of 18 are the only guests allowed in armed forces housing.
people who have moved into a care home or hospital People who are living with somebody else to get care because of old age, disability, disease, past or present alcohol or drug abuse, or past or present mental disorder People who have moved into a care home or hospital
individuals suffering from a serious mental impairment
diplomats, as long as they do not have a principal abode in the United Kingdom or are citizens of the United Kingdom, those who are held in prison can visit them.
Do I qualify for a discount on my council tax bill?
The amount of the council tax bill is based on the assumption that the property is occupied as a primary residence by two individuals. The so-called “single-person discount” lowers the monthly payment by 25 percent when there is only one person living in the residence.
Even if they live in the property, certain individuals are not counted as a second resident for the purpose of calculating council tax payments. These individuals are referred to as “disregarded persons.”
If you live with other persons who are judged to be “disregarded,” you may be eligible for a single-person discount that is 25% lower than the standard rate.
If everyone residing in the home is ‘disregarded,’ you will often receive a discount of fifty percent (unless every resident is exempt, in which case there would be no payment to pay). If everyone in the home is exempt, there will be no bill to pay.
People like the following are exempt from paying council tax:
an apprentice who is working towards obtaining a recognised qualification; a young person (under the age of 25) who is participating in authorised training; an 18- or 19-year-old who is attending full-time school;
a student nurse
people who are staying in hostels or night shelters caretakers (providing at least 35 hours of care a week) monks and nuns members of visiting forces persons who are not the main resident’s spouse, wife, or civil partner people who are staying in hostels or night shelters
a full-time student (attending university or college, or under the age of 20 and studying A levels or their equivalent)
incarcerated individuals people who are seriously mentally disabled (this may include people living with dementia) people who have diplomatic privileges and immunities people who are residents of hospitals or care homes people who are severely mentally impaired
You should write to your local council and argue your case if you think you should be excluded from paying the full fee or receiving a discount on it. You can go directly to the part of our guide that explains how to submit an application for a discount.
Reductions in the municipal tax burden for households with modest incomes
If you have a low income, you could be eligible for a discount in your council tax of up to one hundred percent.
Who is qualified to submit a claim for a reduction in their council tax is determined in a manner that is unique to each local authority. The amount of the reduction is determined by your annual income, the amount of money you have saved, and whether or not you live with other adults in the same property.
Contact your local authorities to find out whether or not you are eligible for the programme.
Aid to those in need
You may be eligible for hardship relief to receive a temporary reduction in your council tax payment if you are experiencing “extraordinary” hardship as a result of circumstances that are beyond your control (for example, losing your job).
It’s possible that you’ll need to produce evidence of items like the following:
your income being less than your outgoings having no savings personal circumstances preventing you from paying applications to other help such as benefits and reductions that you don’t have access to other assets that could be used to pay your bill not having access to other assets that could be used to pay your bill not having access to other assets that could be used to pay your bill not having access to other assets that could be used to
You will need to get in touch with your municipal government if you want to find out if you qualify for the programme. They have sole authority for the discount’s distribution.
Second adult rebate
If you do not qualify for a reduction in your council tax but you share your property with a second adult who does qualify for a reduction in their tax, you may be eligible to claim a second adult rebate. This adult cannot be your spouse or civil partner.
If you are eligible for a decrease in your council tax and a second adult rebate at the same time, your local authority should give you the larger of the two amounts.
Pensioners who have achieved the age at which they are eligible for the state pension are entitled to receive certain benefits from all local authorities.
People who receive the element of pension credit known as the guarantee credit might not be required to pay any council tax at all. Those individuals who are eligible for the savings component of pension credit or have a low income and less than sixteen thousand pounds in savings may be eligible for a discount on their council tax bill.
Make sure to get in touch with your local council so that you can find out what services they provide in your region.
Tax on vacant homes paid to the local council
Councils have the ability to offer discounts of up to fifty percent for properties that are unoccupied and have no furniture.
However, local councils in England and Wales have the authority to levy an additional premium on top of the standard council tax if a property has been unoccupied for more than two years. This additional premium can be up to one hundred percent of the standard council tax.
This premium can be increased in England to a maximum of 300 percent if the property has been vacant for more than ten years as of April 2020, and it can be increased to a maximum of 200 percent if the property has been vacant for five years as of April 2020. Both of these increases take effect in April.
Beginning in April 2023, the existing second house premium in Wales will be enhanced to a rate of 300 percent, up from the current level of 100 percent.
If your home is vacant for more than a year in Scotland, the insurance company may assess a premium of one hundred percent.
The time frames apply to the property, not to each individual owner; therefore, when you buy somewhere new, you should check how long the property has been unoccupied if you don’t plan on moving in right away. If you do plan on moving in right away, you can ignore this step.
Exempt empty properties
There are some properties that are exempt from paying council tax for as long as they are unoccupied. These properties include those that are:
undergoing significant repair work to render the property habitable or structural alteration (exemption ends after 12 months); comprising part of the estate of a person who has passed away (for up to six months after the grant of probate); being repossessed, taken into possession by a mortgage lender; or being owned by a liable person who is a trustee in bankruptcy.
You will need to submit a request to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in order to have a property removed from the council tax valuation list in order for it to be exempt for any of these reasons.
discount on the council tax for a second home
There is a possibility that councils will provide rebates for equipped second houses or holiday homes. The amount of the reduction is up to the discretion of your council.
The majority of owners of vacation homes are eligible for a rebate on their council tax of ten percent.
People who are tenant publicans or members of the clergy who are given with lodging as part of their job may be eligible for a discount on their second property that is equal to or greater than fifty percent of the original price.
A discount of fifty percent should be applied to the price of your second property if you are unable to live there because your company insisted that you relocate to another location. You will still be required to pay the full amount of council tax on the property that serves as your primary residence, but you can submit an application for a discount to the local authority that oversees your secondary residence.
Annexe discounts and exemptions
If you build an annexe on your property, you should expect to get a separate charge for the council tax associated with that structure.
On the other hand, if you live in an annexe as your primary residence and a relative is the person who pays the council tax on the main property, you may be eligible to receive a discount of fifty percent off of the annexe’s portion of the main property’s council tax.
If the person who lives in the annexe is considered to be a dependent of the person who owns the main home, then that person will not be required to pay council tax. People are categorised as being dependent if they are:
over the age of 65 and significantly or permanently disabled as well as severely mentally challenged.
Residents of the annexe who are free from the tax are those who are either under the age of 18 or who are students attending school full-time.
If an annexe is unoccupied and cannot be rented out separately due to restrictions imposed by planning approval, the owner may be eligible for a reduction in their council tax.
The band reduction scheme was turned off.
If a person with a disability lives in your house and your property contains characteristics that are vital for that person’s well-being, your council tax bill may be eligible for a reduction. These may consist of an additional bathroom, a kitchen that has been particularly modified, or additional space inside the home to accommodate the use of a wheelchair.
Those households that are qualified for the discount have their council tax bill reduced by one band. At least one disabled person, either an adult or a child, must call the house they are purchasing their home.
Write a letter to your local council and ask for an application form if you want to submit an application for a discount under the scheme.
How can I submit my application to receive a discount on my council tax?
It is possible that the councils will be unaware of your entitled to a discount until you inform them of it.
When you get a council tax bill, if you think you might qualify for a reduction in your rate because you are a single person or an exemption, write to your local council.
Your council will request that you present proof in support of your claim. Within the next two months, it is obligated to let you know whether it has decided to offer you a discount or not.
You have the option of appealing the decision of the council to a valuation tribunal if you do not agree with it. To obtain the address of the tribunal, you can either get in touch with your local council or go online to the website of the Valuation Tribunal Service.