Whilst council tax bills are based on property values, it is sometimes possible to apply for a reduction in your bill, although this depends on the circumstances of the bill payer.
There are five main reasons for a reduction, namely:
1) a single person discount
2) a second home discount
3) those in receipt of council tax benefit
4) those who qualify for a reduction for disabilities scheme; or
5) you are already 'overpaying'
Council tax bills are based on an assumption that two adults occupy a property as their main home. The bill payer of a property can apply for a discount if they are the sole occupant. In this event, a single person’s discount of 25% is applied.
In certain situations, some people living in a property along with the bill payer are not classed as a second resident and it is possible for the bill payer to still get the single person’s discount. This discount applies if the bill payer shares their home with an apprentice who is studying for a recognised qualification, a person under the age of 25 who is on an approved training course, a full-time student under the age of 20 at college or university studying A Levels, or their equivalent, a student nurse or an 18 or 19 year old who is in full-time education.
In addition to the above, resident hospital and care home patients, severely mentally impaired people, those staying in hostels or shelters, prisoners, nuns and monks, members of visiting forces, individuals with diplomatic immunities/privileges and carers who provide a minimum of 35 hours care per week (so long as the carer is not the bill payer’s spouse or civil partner) are also not counted as co-residents.
If you have a furnished second home, or a holiday home, you may also be eligible for a second home discount. The percentage discount is dependable upon the reason for your second home.
The usual discount for holiday home owners is 10% but publicans with tenancies and members of the clergy who receive accommodation as part of their work package, may qualify for up to a discount 50% off their second home.
Homes which have remained empty and unfurnished for a minimum period of at least six months may also be eligible for a discount. The discount applied here is between 10% and 50%.
If your home has been modified to ensure the wellbeing of a person with a disability residing therein, such as an additional bathroom/wetroom or a specially adapted kitchen, your council tax may be reduced under the disabilities scheme. In these situations, eligible households receive a one-band reduction in their bill.
Some people on low incomes and with little in the way of savings may be eligible to claim council tax benefit. The benefit is paid by way of a rebate on your council tax bill.
To be eligible to claim council tax benefit, you must be the person responsible for paying the council tax bill, be in receipt of income support, jobseeker’s allowance or the guarantee element of pension credit.
That being said, if you are in full-time employment or are self-employed, but have a low income, you could still be eligible. The amount of rebate would depend upon your income, your savings and whether or not you live alone. In extreme cases you could receive the full 100% discount on your council tax bill.
Councils may also consider a second adult rebate for those who share their home with a second adult who likewise has a low income. This would not apply however if the second adult was the bill payer’s spouse or civil partner.
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