Reducing your Council Tax
There are a number of reasons why your Council Tax payment could be reduced.
You may be entitled to a discount:
- If you are the only resident in a property
- if the property is empty
- if all, or all but one, of the adult residents can be 'disregarded for discount purposes'
The council has a discretionary council tax reduction scheme, which includes council tax support. You may be able to claim council tax support if someone in your household receives Universal Credit, or has a low income (even if they are self-employed). To find out more, go to Council Tax Support or read more in our Discretionary Reduction in Council Tax Policy 2016/17 [346kb]
Single Persons Discount
A dwelling which only has one resident aged 18 or over is subject to a 25% discount from Council Tax.
Please note that when a discount has been granted, a revised Council Tax bill will be issued (after any necessary adjustments to transitional relief or council tax support which may already have been awarded). I would advice you that you are under a duty in law to notify the Council if there is any change in circumstances giving rise to the discount.
Please also note that information collected for the administration of Council tax may be used for other Council purposes, provided this complies with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Sole or Main Residence Questionnaire
Except in certain cases, a property which is deemed to be a second home ie not occupied by anyone as their sole or main residence.
If you feel that there are any other factors which may be relevant or which are not fully explained in your answers to the following questions, please give details on a separate sheet.
Once you have replied, the Council will inform you of its decision as to your main residence. If you do not agree with the Council's decision you may appeal against it in writing in the first instance to the Council Tax Manager. Sole or Main Residence Questionnaire [50kb]
Empty Properties Discount
A property which is empty and unfurnished may be exempt for a period of up to 6 months and certain properties could be completely exempt even if they are occupied (although special conditions apply). See Council Tax Exemptions. Empty Home Discount application [13kb]
The valuation band of a dwelling reflects its market value, and the disability reduction scheme provides for the amount of liability to be reduced if a disabled person resides there and the dwelling includes specified facilities required to meet their needs.
A disabled person is someone who is substantially and permanently disabled (whether by illness, injury, congenital deformity or otherwise).
The person who receives the reduction is the person liable for the dwelling, who need not be the disabled person, and to receive the reduction he or she must make a written request to the billing authority. Disabled Discount Application [21kb]
Some people will not be counted when looking at the number of adults resident in a property, provided they meet certain conditions. These people are said to be 'disregarded for discount purposes'. A list of all disregarded adults is below. If you think you fall into any of the categories then you can download a printable version of the relevant form.
- Full Time Students/ Student Nurses: to qualify for a discount because a resident of your household is a student this person must be either:
a) enrolled at a prescribed educational establishment, undertaking a qualifying course of education or,
b) employed as a foreign language assistant (registered with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges).
If you think that you may qualify for the discount, please complete and return the attached form and ensure that you forward the Certificate of Student Status, which is issued by the college to the student.
Students Discount Form [43kb]
- School or College Leavers/ Persons still in receipt of Child Benefit: You may qualify for a discount because a member of your household is aged 18 or 19 and is (or was recently), in full-time further education, or child benefit is paid to you in respect of this person.
If you think that this discount is applicable, please complete and return the attached form.
Under 20s in Full Time Education Discount Form [44kb]
- Apprentices: You may qualify for a discount because a resident of your household is employed as an apprentice. To qualify, the person must be:
a) employed for the purpose of learning a trade, business, profession, office, employment or vocation;
b) undertaking a programme of training leading to a qualification accredited by the National Council for Vocational Qualifications;
c) employed at a salary and/or in receipt of an allowance, which in total is:
i. substantially less than he/she would receive if they were qualified; and is
ii. no more than £195.00 per week.
If you think this discount is applicable, please complete the attached form ensuring that the employer's declaration has been signed.
Apprentice Discount Form [14kb]
- Hospital Patients/ Patients in Nursing and Care Homes: A discount/exemption may be given if a person is disregarded for Council Tax purposes because:
a) He/she is solely or mainly resident and being cared for in:
an NHS (or NHS Trust) hospital
a registered residential care home, including those run by the Abbeyfield Society
a registered nursing home or mental nursing home
a hostel (by reasons of old age, disablement, alcohol or drug dependence, or mental disorder)
b) He/she is resident in a bail or probation hostel.
If you think this discount is applicable, please complete the attached form.
Hospital/Homes/Hostels Discount Form [15kb]
- Prisoners: You may qualify for a discount because a member of your household is a person in detention. To qualify, the person must be detained in any of the following categories:
a) Those detained in prison, hospital or any other place by order of a court, except those serving sentences for non-payment of Council Tax or fines.
b) Those detained pending deportation under the Immigration Act 1971.
c) Those detained under Part II of the Mental Health Act 1983.
d) Those detained under the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 or the Naval Discipline Act 1957.
If you think that a discount is applicable, please complete the attached form and forward it to the person's place of detention.
Detention Discount Form [14kb]
- Religious communities: You may qualify for a discount because a resident of your household is a member of a religious community.
To qualify, the person must be a member of a religious community, the main occupation of which is prayer, contemplation, education or the relief of suffering. The person also must be dependent on the community to provide for his material needs.
If you think that this discount is applicable, please complete the attached form.
Religious Communities Discount Form [13kb]
- Persons who are severely mentally impaired: You may qualify for a discount because a resident of your household is severely mentally impaired.
To qualify for this discount, the person must fulfil all the following conditions:-
1. He / She is severely mentally impaired;
2. He / She is entitled to at least one of the benefits listed on the attached form;
3. He/ She is stated to be severely mentally impaired in a certificate completed by a registered medical practitioner.
If you think that the discount is applicable, please complete the attached form.
Severe Mental Impairment Discount Form [21kb]
- Carers: You may qualify for a discount because a member of your household is cared for by a second person resident at the property.
The carer will not qualify for discount status if he/she is the spouse or partner of the cared for person, or is a parent caring for a child below the age of 18 years. The cared for person must also be in receipt of one of the benefits listed on the attached form.
If you think that you may qualify for the discount, please complete the attached form ensuring that documentary evidence of the benefit paid is provided.
Carers Discount Form [22kb]
- Care Workers: You may qualify for a discount because a member of your household is employed as a care worker.
The discount may be given where a person is employed in the provision of care and/or support to another person or persons.
To qualify for the discount all the following conditions must be met:
a) The employer must be a charity or a public authority, or the person cared for must have been introduced to the carer by a charity.
b) The income of the carer must not exceed £30.00 per week.
c) The carer must provide care for more than 24 hours per week.
d) The carer must reside in the premises in which he/she is employed.
If you think that this discount is applicable, please complete and return the attached form.
Care Workers Discount Form [13kb]
Other disregarded adults include diplomats, spouses of certain students and members of international headquarters and defence organisations.
From 1 April 2014 annexes which are used by the occupier of the main house, either as part of the main house, or occupied by a relative of the person living in the main house, will be entitled to a discount of 50% in respect of the council tax payable on the annexe.
The 50% reduction is in addition to any other discount you or your relative may be entitled to. For example, if your adult son is living in the annexe on his own, he will be liable for council tax and be entitled to a 25% single occupier discount, plus a 50% annexe discount.
The criteria for an annexe discount are:
The annexe must form part of a single dwelling, which includes at least one other property.
the annexe is being used by the resident of the main house, as part of their main home,
the annexe is lived in by a relative of the person who lives in the main house. For this purpose a relative is defined as: a partner, parent, child, step child, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece ( also includes great grandparent, great grandchild etc).
If you think that you might be entitled to the discount, please complete the form and return to this office.
Claiming the Discount
The person responsible for paying the bill can make the claim. If all but one of the adults in the property fulfil the criteria in any one of the categories listed in the table above, the discount will be applicable, and will be 25%. If all the residents are disregarded the discount will be 50%.
How Long the Discount Lasts
The discount continues for as long as the qualifying criteria are met. You must tell the Council of any change that could affect the discount within 21 days - if you don't you could incur a penalty. We will write to you regularly to check that your circumstances are still the same. If you haven't previously told us about a change it will be backdated and you will need to make prompt payment of any arrears.
Unoccupied dwellings may be exempt from council tax. The list includes:
- Owned by a charity
- Newly erected dwelling or one that becomes vacant
- Left empty by a person detained elsewhere
- Left empty by a person living in a hospital or care home
- Owner is the personal representative of a deceased person
- Occupation prohibited by law
- Held for minister of religion
- Left empty by a person needing personal care
- Left empty by a person providing personal care
- Left unoccupied by a student(s)
- Mortgagee in possession
- Owner is a bankrupt
- Vacated caravan pitches and boat moorings
- Unoccupied annexe in an occupied dwelling
Some occupied dwellings may also be exempt from council tax including:
- Halls of residence for students
- School or college leavers or certain spouses or dependants
- UK armed forces accommodation
- Occupied only by persons aged under 18
- Occupied by the severely mentally impaired
- Main residence of someone with diplomatic privilege or immunity
- Occupied annexes
Some exemptions are time limited and exceptions may apply. This list is a guide only and is not intended to represent a definitive legal position. Please contact the council tax section if you require further information.