If you struggle to pay your Council Tax bill, or your living circumstances are eligible, then you could get a Council Tax Reduction. Your local council may apply a discount of up to 100% depending on your situation. Factors which can affect your eligibility for a Council Tax discount include where you live, the number of adults and children, and the household income and savings. This guide will explain if you can apply online for a Council Tax reduction.
Council Tax Exemptions
The only people who need to contribute to paying Council Tax are those who are liable at the property. If your council disregards someone then they are exempt from paying Council Tax. When everybody else except one person is exempt, that one person will be eligible for a discount. Exemptions include:
- anyone under 18 years old
- full-time students on qualifying courses
- hospital patients or care home residents
- anyone with severe mental impairment
- people living in a care-giving hostel due to dependency or illness
- prisoners or detainees
- live-in care workers
- caravans, boats, or granny flats on larger properties
Council Tax Single Person Discount
Most councils will reduce your Council Tax bill by 25% if you are the only liable adult living in the property. This applies if you live alone or with a:
- full-time student or student nurse
- 18 to 19-year-old in full-time education
- person under 25 years old in training or an apprentice
- carer or person with a severe mental impairment
Council Tax Second Adult Rebate
If you live with another liable adult, you may still be able to get a discount on your Council Tax bill. This person must not be your spouse and must be on a low income. The second adult cannot be a joint tenant or someone who pays rent to you. Your local council will calculate the percentage of the tax reduction according to the second adult’s income, including benefits. They will either award the standard Council Tax Reduction or the Second Adult Rebate, not both, but they will usually award whichever amount is higher.
Council Tax Disability Reduction
Your council could reduce your Council Tax by lowering the band if you have to adapt the home for a person with a disability. This includes features like:
- a room predominantly for the use of the disabled person (but not a toilet, bathroom, or kitchen)
- an additional kitchen or bathroom to meet the disabled person’s needs
- floor space to allow necessary wheelchair use indoors
There must be at least one child or adult with a disability living there for the property to be eligible. The council will reduce your tax bill by lowering the property valuation by one band. If you are already on the lowest band, then they could reduce your Council Tax by up to one-sixth of the standard bill.
Council Tax Low Income Reduction
If you are responsible for paying the Council Tax for your property and you are not eligible for any of the usual discounts, you could still ask the council for a discretionary discount if you are struggling to pay. You or your partner must apply for a reduction within one month of starting a benefit claim for:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit with Guarantee Credit
- Universal Credit
If your council offers a discretionary discount for low incomes, they will give the money back to you in the form of a rebate. The amount will depend on who you live with, how much your income is, and any savings you have.
Council Tax Reduction for Pensioners
Pensioners can receive a Council Tax discount of up to 100% if their income is not enough for them to live on, according to the government. The council calculates the reduction amount by taking into account the income, capital, and living costs of the pensioner. Pensioners can also backdate reductions for up to 3 months without having to give a reason. To be able to get a full reduction of 100%, you must receive Pension Credit with guarantee credit.