Council tax reductions
Discounts and disregards
When we send your Council Tax bill to you, unless we have information that a discount should apply, we will assume that two or more adults, none of which come under any of the disregarded groups listed below, are resident in the property and issue a bill for full Council Tax. Alternatively, if we have made the assumption that a discount does apply, your bill will state the amount and reason for the discount, and whether this is due to there being only one resident, or because all except one resident is not counted for Council Tax purposes.
In all cases, we will continue to assume that a discount does, or does not apply on every day of the period stated on your bill. You must tell us if this assumption is wrong.
If there is no discount and you think you should get one, you should write to us explaining why. We will tell you what evidence you may need to provide in support of your claim.
The council is required to make sure discounts are being granted to the right households, in the right circumstances. We may do this by sending out forms asking for information. If you get a form asking about discounts, you don’t have to return it, but if you think you’re eligible, returning the form may speed up the decision.
If we have given you a discount but you have reason to believe that you are no longer entitled to one, or believe a discount of a smaller amount should apply; you must notify us within 21 days of this belief. Failure to do so could lead to a penalty of £70.00 being imposed.
Who is not counted?
• A student or student nurse;
• An apprentice or youth training trainee;
• An 18-or 19-year old who is at or has just left school;
• A long-term hospital patient;
• A permanent resident of a care home, nursing home or hostel;
• Severely mentally impaired;
• A care worker on low pay (usually working for charities);
• A carer for someone with a disability who is not their husband, wife, partner or child under 18;
• A member of a religious community;
• In prison; or
• A member of visiting forces.
Most of these categories have conditions which must be met and verified to qualify to be discounted, therefore we may need to request certain information before any discount is applied. In the absence of such information and verification, the council may assume that a discount does not apply, so we would recommend that you contact us to check individual circumstances.
Unfurnished empty homes, needing major repairs or structural alterations to render them habitable will receive a discount of 50% for a maximum period of twelve months.
Unfurnished empty homes will receive a discount of 100% for up to two months followed by a discount of 50% for a further period of up to four months from:
the last time anyone lived in them; or
when they were built (for new properties).
Please contact us if you think you may be entitled to a discount.
If your bill shows that you have been given a discount, make sure you are still entitled to it. If your circumstances change so that the discount should no longer apply, or be of a lesser amount, you must let us know. You may have to pay a penalty if you do not do this.
Reductions for disabled persons
If you, or someone who lives with you, need a room, an extra bathroom or kitchen, or extra space in your home for wheelchair use, to meet special needs arising from a disability, you may be entitled to a reduction in your council tax bill.
The bill may be reduced to reflect that of a property in the band immediately below the band shown on the valuation list. These reductions ensure that disabled people do not pay more tax on account of space needed because of a disability.
From 1st April 2000 properties in Band A can now qualify for this reduction and will receive a reduction of 1/6th of the standard charge.
Please contact us if you would like more details, or if you are receiving this reduction and the circumstances under which it was granted have changed.
Council tax is not charged on occupied homes which:
- only students live in
- only people under 18 live in
- only people who are severely mentally ill live in (if they would otherwise be responsible for the council tax payments)
- a liable person resides there as a diplomat
- are 'granny flats' forming part of a single property, where a dependant relative of the taxpayer lives
Council tax is not charged on empty homes which:
- a charity owns (exempt for up to six months)
- are empty because the person who lived there is in prison, hospital or a home
- are empty because the person who lived there has gone to live with someone else to receive care or has moved to care for someone else
- are empty while the trustee is waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted
- have been repossessed
- a student owns and was the last person to live in it
- a bankrupt person’s trustee is responsible for
- are empty because nobody can live in them by law
- a minister of religion is waiting to move into.
Please contact us if you think your property should be exempt from council tax.
As part of its duty to continually safeguard public funds, the council is committed to a project called the National Fraud Initiative. Section 6 Audit Commission Act requires the council to participate in it. This project will also involve data matching and you are alerted to the fact that data held by the council about you may be used for this purpose.
The council would like to take the opportunity to remind you to notify them if you are receiving a discount or exemption and the circumstances of your household have changed such that the discount or exemption should no longer apply (or be for a lesser amount).
You have a legal obligation to tell the council if this is the case and you may face a penalty and further legal action if you fail to do so. If you are in any doubt please contact us on 01524 582900.
If you have been refused a discount, exemption or relief or do not think you should be responsible for paying Council Tax, you can appeal to us in writing telling us why you think we have got it wrong. Our contact details are on your bill.
We will look at your case again and might ask for more information. If we don’t change our decision and you still don’t agree, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal. See www.valuation-tribunals.gov.uk