How can my council tax bill be reduced?
There are a number of ways in which people can get help with council tax, including through:
- Disabled Person Council Tax band reduction
- Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme
- Discretionary Council Tax Reduction
Council Tax Discounts
Who is eligible for a Council Tax Discount?
Some people who live in a property are not counted. This is often referred to as “disregarded for the purposes of a discount. This means that in some cases, 2 or more people can be living in a property but they can still apply for a discount.
If only one person is counted as living in a property there will be a 25% discount.
If all the people who live in the property are ‘disregarded’ there will be a 50% discount, but see the special rules for homes where all the people living there are severely mentally impaired.
Carers and people who are severely mentally impaired are disregarded when it comes to counting how many people live in a home and if the Council Tax bill should have a discount.
Do I have to tell the Council about my income and savings to qualify for a discount?
I am a carer but I don’t receive Carers Allowance, can I still apply for a discount?
- you live in the same home as vthe person you provide care for
- the person receiving care isn’t your spouse, partner or child under the age of 18
- you provide at least 35 hours a week of care to a person who is entitled to receive one of the following:
- any rate of Attendance Allowance
- the middle or highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance
- any rate of the daily living activity component of Personal Independent Living Payment
- an increase in his or her disablement pension
- an increase in Constant Attendance Allowance
Both my partner and I provide at least 35 hours a week care to my mother, who is receiving Attendance Allowance. Can we both be disregarded?
What do you mean by ‘severely mentally impaired’?
- have a certificate from a registered medical practitioner (the form to use is available on the Council’s website)
- be entitled to one of the state benefits from the qualifying list which includes:
- middle or higher rate of the care componant of a Disability Living Allowance
- the daily living componant of Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance
- Employment & Support Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance or Invalidity Pension
- Income Support where the calculation including a Disability Premium
If everyone who lives in the property is considered to be ‘severely mentally impaired’, the property is exempt from Council Tax and there will be nothing to pay.
Can any other people be disregarded?
How do I apply for a discount?
Disabled Person Council Tax Band Reduction
Who can apply for a Disabled Persons Band Reduction?
To qualify, one or more of the following conditions must apply:
- there is room, other than a bedroom, kitchen or lavatory, which is used mainly to meet the needs of the disabled person
- there is a second bathroom or kitchen which is required to meet the needs of the disabled person
- the disabled person needs to use a wheelchair in the property and there is enough floor space to allow for this
By how much does a Disabled Person Band Reduction the bill?
Council Tax Exemptions
You will not have to pay any Council Tax on a property that hs already been exempt from Council Tax.
Some exceptions are to do with the type of property and others are to do with the reason why a property is empty.
I have moved out of my home to care for my elderly parent. My house is currently unoccupied; do I have to pay Council Tax on my old home?
Although no one lives in my old home, all my furniture is still there. Can I still apply for an exemption?
Do I have to be living with the person I care for in order for my old home to be exempt?
My elderly parent has come to live with me so I can care for her. No one lives in her old home but her furniture is still there. Is her old home exempt from Council Tax?
My brother’s home has been left unoccupied because he is now living in a care home. Is his house former exempt from council Tax?
My father needs to go to the hospital, a nursing home or a care home for a temporary stay. He will be coming home when he is well enough but we do not know how long that will be. His home will be empty while he is away. Is his home exempt from Council Tax?
My sister lives in supported housing with her friend. They are both classed as severely mentally impaired. No one else lives with them although they do have a carers who sometimes stays overnight but does not live with them. Do they pay Council Tax?
My relative lives in a self-contained annexe that is part of my property. Do I have to pay Council Tax on the annexe as well as the main part of the house?
If they are not a dependable relative, then Council Tax will be payable on the annexe as well as the main part of the home.
If they are a dependant relative then the annexe will be exempt from Council Tax, although you will still be expected to pay Council Tax for the main home:
- a person aged 65 or over, or
- a person who is severely mentally impaired, or
- a person who is ‘substantially and permanently disabled
The list of persons who are counted as being a relative is quite long and includes great great grandparents and also allows for relationships by marriage.
What happens if the property is empty because the person who was living there has died?
Do all exemptions end after a certain length of time?
- a property is left empty because someone has gone into care
- a property is left empty because the occupant has left to provide care for someone
- a property is only occupied by people who are severely mentally impaired
If the need for care ends, or someone who is not severely mentally impaired moves into a property, then the exemption will end.
How do I apply for an exemption?
I didn’t know that I could apply for an exemption, can it be backdated?
Council Tax Reduction (CTR)
Even after discounts I can’t afford to pay my Council Tax bill, is there any other help available?
How much help could I get with my bill?
The exact amount of help can therefore vary.
What is the maximum Council Tax Reduction that can be awarded?
People on a low income, who have reached the pension credit age can get help with the whole bill.
Do any working age people get help with up to 100% of their bill?
- receiving War Person, War Windows Pension or War Disablement Pension, or
- under 22 years old and formerly in care, or
- diagnosed as terminally ill and it is not unlikely that death could occur within 6 months, or
- have a mental health condition that significantly affects their ability to manage money and they do not have:
- a partner who is able to deal with the bill, or
- someone else who looks after their finances for them
Discretionary Council Tax Reduction Awards (DCTR)
The Discretionary Council Tax Reduction (DCTR) scheme compliments the council’s main Local Council Tax Reduction scheme and allows for a further reduction in the amount of Council Tax charged where exceptional circumstances exist. The additional help is aimed at assisting people who are vulnerable and considered to be more at risk.
When applying for DCTR award, you will need to provide full details about your circumstances and about how being a carer impacts on your finances.
How do I apply for a Council Tax Reduction?