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Council Tax discounts and exemptions

Only people over the age of 18 are counted for Council Tax.

If everyone living in a property is under the age of 18, it will be exempt (which means you don’t have to pay Council Tax for the property).

Information about discounts and exemptions that can apply to certain people and types of properties is given below.

 

When is an exemption possible?

Dependant relative living in an annexe

An annexe will be exempt (which means you don’t have to pay Council Tax) if it is separately banded for Council Tax but forms part of another property and a dependant relative is living in it as their main or only home.

A relative is classed as dependant if they are:

  • over the age of 65
  • substantially or permanently disabled, or
  • severely mentally impaired.

Unoccupied annexe that can’t be let separately

An annexe will be exempt (which means you don’t have to pay Council Tax) if it:

  • is unoccupied (there is no-one living in it)
  • forms part of a single property, and
  • can’t be let separately from the property without a breach of planning control.

Annexe occupied by students or persons under the age of 18

An annexe occupied only by full-time students or people under the age of 18 will be exempt (which means you don’t have to pay Council Tax for the annexe).

When is a discount possible?

You may get a 50% discount on the Council Tax bill for an annexe if:

  • the annexe forms part of a single property which includes at least one other property; and
  • the annexe is being used as part of the main home by the person liable to pay Council Tax.

Discount for relatives living in an annexe

If you live in an annexe you may get a 50% discount on your Council Tax bill if you are a relative (not a dependant relative) of the person who is responsible for paying the Council Tax on the main property. To get this discount, the annexe must:

  • form part of a single property; and
  • be occupied by a relative of the person who is liable to pay the Council Tax on the main property; and
  • be the main or only home of the person living in it.

If you think you may qualify for a discount or exemption please contact us.

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If you or someone living with you is an apprentice, and without them there is only one adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your Council Tax.

Who is an apprentice?

A person is an apprentice regardless of age if they meet the following criteria:

  • they are employed to learn a trade, a business, a profession or a vocation
  • they are receiving training leading to a qualification accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority
  • they get a salary or allowance (or both), which are in total less than £195 gross a week (before deductions – we don’t count bonuses and overtime); and
  • they can expect to earn substantially more when they are qualified.

Proof you must provide

You need to provide the following as proof of the apprenticeship. You can upload your proof to the form now or you can email it to us later but we won’t be able to award you a discount until we have received proof.

  • a letter from the employer confirming the name of the apprentice, the date their apprenticeship started and the date it is expected to end, and
  • a wage slip.
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Properties owned by the Secretary of State for Defence held for the purposes of UK armed forces accommodation are exempt from Council Tax.

This can include barracks and accommodation on military bases together with married quarters and any other property, wherever located and can be occupied or empty.

The Secretary of State for Defence makes a contribution towards the Council Tax through a special arrangement.

If you think this exemption may apply to you, please contact us.

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Carers

If you are a care worker or a home carer, you may be able to pay less Council Tax.

Who is a home carer?

A home carer is someone who

  • cares for someone who is receiving
    • higher or lower rate of Attendance Allowance
    • higher or middle rate of care component of Disability Living Allowance
    • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
    • an increase in the rate of Disablement Pension; or
    • an increase in Constant Attendance Allowance
  • lives with the person they care for
  • provides care for an average of at least 35 hours a week
  • is not caring for their husband, wife, or partner; and
  • is not a parent caring for a child under 18.

You must provide proof with your application that the person cared for is receiving one of the benefits shown above.

Who is a care worker?

A care worker is someone who

  • provides care or support on behalf of a ‘relevant body’ or was introduced to and is employed by the person they care for by a ‘relevant body’ (a relevant body is a local authority, central government or a charity)
  • is employed to provide this care for at least 24 hours a week
  • is paid £44 or less per week; and
  • lives in the property provided by their employer or the relevant body to carry out their duties.

If you’ve left your home to look after someone

If you have a property of your own, and you leave it unoccupied when you move to look after someone, it may be exempt from Council Tax. This means you don’t have to pay Council Tax for your property.

It doesn’t matter if you leave furniture in the property, but you must have moved out and made your permanent home with the person you are caring for.

If you’ve left your home to receive care

If you have a property of your own, and you leave it unoccupied when you move to receive care, it may be exempt from Council Tax. This means you don’t have to pay Council Tax for your property.

It doesn’t matter if you leave furniture in the property, but you must have moved out and made your permanent home in the place you are receiving care.

If you don’t qualify for a discount

If your income as a carer is low, you may be able to apply for Council Tax Support.

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Kent County Council’s offer to care leavers

If you’re leaving care to become independent and you’re aged between 16 and 21, Kent County Council may be able to help support you through their local offer. If you have left care, and Kent County Council has appointed you a personal adviser, please pass your Council Tax bill to them to arrange payment.

You’ll be eligible if you’re aged 16 or 17 and either of the following apply:

  • you’ve been looked after before, you started care after 14 or you’re still in care
  • you’re a relevant young person but you’re not being looked after anymore but you were an eligible young person.

Alternatively, you’ll be eligible if the following apply:

  • you were a relevant young person
  • you’re aged between 18 and 21
  • you’ve left care, having previously been eligible or relevant or both.

You can visit Kent County Council’s website for more information on their local offer.

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You may get an exemption (which means you don’t have to pay Council Tax) for a property if it:

  • is unoccupied and has been for less than six months
  • is owned by a charity or charitable organisation; and
  • was last used for the purpose of a charity or charitable organisation.

Apply for an exemption for an unoccupied property owned by a charity

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If you’re on a low income you may be able to get Council Tax Support.

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A property is exempt (which means you don’t have to pay Council Tax for the property) if at least one person who would normally be responsible for paying the Council Tax has diplomatic, commonwealth or consular privilege or immunity.

If a diplomat lives with you but would not be responsible for paying Council Tax, you can apply for a 25% discount.

The person on behalf of whom the application is made must not be:

  • a permanent resident of the UK
  • a British citizen
  • a British subject; or
  • a British protected person.

If you think a diplomat discount or exemption applies to you please contact us.

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If you have adapted your home to meet the needs of a disabled person who does not need to be an adult to qualify but must permanently live in the property and the disabled person must be permanently and substantially disabled by illness, injury or congenital deformity or other reason, we may be able to reduce your Council Tax bill.

Who can get disability relief?

To qualify for disability relief the property must have at least one of the following:

  • There is a room, other than a kitchen or bathroom, in the property which is mainly used for meeting the needs of a disabled person; OR
  • There is a second bathroom or kitchen which is used for meeting the needs of the disabled person; OR
  • There is sufficient floor space to permit the use of a wheelchair by the disabled person.

Rooms that qualify for the reduction

  • Specially built therapy/treatment room.
  • A room used to store medical equipment or machinery.
  • A room adapted for dialysis.
  • A specifically adapted bedroom.

A second bathroom or kitchen

  • The fact that a property has a second bathroom or kitchen will not lead to a reduction unless it is essential to the disabled person that a second bathroom or kitchen is needed to meet their disability needs.
  • These do not have to be mainly used by the disabled person and can be occasional use.
  • A second lavatory is not treated as a bathroom.

The need to use a wheelchair indoors.

  • The disabled person must both need and be able to use a wheelchair indoors.
  • A person who normally uses a wheelchair but cannot do so indoors because corridors or doorways are too narrow will not qualify.
  • The storage of a wheelchair indoors is not sufficient to qualify.

The room or the wheelchair must be of major importance to the disabled person’s wellbeing, due to the extent of the disability. ‘Major Importance’ would be considered as:

  • The disabled person would find it physically impossible or extremely difficult to live in the property without the adaption.
  • His/her health would suffer or the disability would be likely to worsen without the adaption.

Care homes

  • Care homes, may also qualify for a reduction.
  • It is necessary for care homes to demonstrate that a feature is present which meets the specific needs of a person or person’s disability, even if it is used by the other residents. For example, some residents may need a second bathroom on the ground floor where their rooms are situated because they cannot use the bathroom situated on another floor.
  • The fact that a care home has disabled residents is not, on its own, sufficient grounds for a reduction.
  • The need for a room, second kitchen or wheelchair space must be related to the nominated resident(s).

If you get disability relief you can still apply for other discounts. If you’re on a low income you can also still apply for Council Tax Support.

What will happen next?

Once we have received the application, we will contact you to discuss your application.

How much will my bill be reduced by?

If you quality for disablity relief your bill will be reduced to that of the Council Tax band immediately below the band that your property is in. Properties valued in band A will have the bill reduced by a further 1/9th of the band D charge. We will send you a new Council Tax bill.

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As part of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19), the government announced a national £500 million hardship fund to provide Council Tax relief for vulnerable households. Find out more about the hardship fund

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If someone living in your property moves into a care home, a nursing home or hospital, and without them there is only one adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your Council Tax.

If a property is left empty because the person who used to live there has gone into a nursing home, a care home or into hospital, you can apply for an exemption (which means you don’t have to pay Council Tax for the property).

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It is the owners and not the residents of these types of property who are usually responsible for paying the Council Tax.

The person responsible for paying the bill can claim a discount if the main or only purpose of the property is to provide accommodation for people of no fixed abode and no settled way of life.

The accommodation must be

  • not in self-contained sets of premises
  • for people of no fixed abode; and
  • under licences to occupy and not tenancies.

If you think this discount may apply to you, please contact us.

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If someone living with you is a member or a dependant of a member of certain international headquarters or defence organisations, you may get a Council Tax discount or exemption.

The person must not be a British citizen, a British Dependent Territories citizen, a British National (Overseas) or a British Overseas citizen, a British protected person or a permanent resident in the UK.

If you think this discount or exemption may apply to you, please contact us.

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If you are a member of a religious community and apart from you there is only one adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your Council Tax.

A person is a member of a religious community if:

  • the main occupation of the religious community consists of prayer, contemplation, education, the relief of suffering, or a range of these; and
  • he or she has no income or capital of his or her own (with the exception of any occupational pension due to former employment) and is dependent on the religious community for his or her material needs.

If you think this discount may apply to you, please contact us.

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A property is exempt (which means you don’t have to pay Council Tax for the property) if at least one person who would normally be responsible for paying the Council Tax is a member of a visiting force.

If a member of a visiting force lives with you but would not be responsible for paying Council Tax, you can apply for a 25% discount.

A person is classed as a member of a visiting force if they are:

  • a member of that force, or a member of a civilian component of the force; or
  • a dependant of a member, provided that the dependant is not a British citizen or normally resident in the UK.

If you think this discount or exemption may apply to you, please contact us.

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If someone living in your property goes into prison or is detained, and without them there is only one adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your Council Tax.

If a property is left empty because the person who used to live there has gone into prison or is detained, you can apply for an exemption (which means you don’t have to pay Council Tax for the property).

This includes people who are:

  • in a prison, hospital or any other place under the order of any court of the United Kingdom, or an Armed Forces standing Civilian Court
  • detained under the Immigration or Mental Health Acts.

You can’t have a discount or exemption if the person is in prison for not paying Council Tax or a fine.

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If you are receiving Child Benefit for someone who is:

  • living with you
  • aged over 18; and
  • in full-time education

and you are the only other adult living in the property, you can apply for a 25% discount on your Council Tax.

The person you are receiving Child Benefit for must be studying a full-time course of further (not higher) education, lasting at least three months. It must involve at least 12 hours a week of instruction, tuition and supervised study.

Proof you need to provide

You must provide proof to support your application, please do one of the following:

  • ask the head teacher to send us a letter confirming that the person goes to their school and is on a full-time qualifying course of education. The letter must include the persons name, date of birth, the date they started college or school, the date the course started and the date the course ends
  • send proof of Child Benefit clearly showing which child it is for and when the Child Benefit stops; or
  • provide a student certificate.
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If your property needs, is undergoing or has undergone major repair or structural alterations to make it habitable, you may get a 100% discount on your Council Tax for up to twelve months.

We can only award a maximum of twelve months discount. If after twelve months the property remains empty and unfurnished, Council Tax will be payable. Depending on the time the property has been empty a premium charge may be incurred.

To enable the discount to be awarded, the property must be unoccupied and unfurnished; AND requires or is undergoing major repair works (which include structural repair works) to render it habitable, or It is undergoing structural alteration, or It has undergone major repair works to render it habitable and less than six months have elapsed since the work was substantially completed and it has remained vacant since that date.

Substantially unfurnished

Substantially unfurnished is defined as a property where sufficient furniture has been removed to leave the property incapable of occupation.  As a minimum, beds, chairs, tables, wardrobes, cabinets, televisions and personal effects would be expected to be removed.

Major repair works

The work required is such, that unless the work is carried out, the property will not be fit to live in.  The property must be uninhabitable before any work starts.

Structural alteration

A change to the fabric of the property which should prevent occupation of the property.  Anything that alters a load bearing surface that is supporting something greater than its own weight or alteration or removal of a supporting, load bearing wall.

Works that could qualify for this discount

  • Structural repairs to the main structure of the property, i.e. major roof repairs, replacing defective solid floor/ceiling joists, and rebuilding internal/external walls.
  • Major electrical re-wiring.
  • Major re-plumbing.
  • Walls being removed.
  • Underpinning due to subsidence.
  • Replacement of kitchen and/or bathroom together with other works.
  • A considerable amount of work to render the property habitable with substantial cost of repairs.

Works that would not qualify for this discount (they are not considered major repair work on their own, but a combination of them might be)

  • General refurbishment and modernisation, such as replacing just a kitchen and bathroom.
  • New heating including repairs and renewals of services.
  • Replacement/repairs of bathroom and kitchen or any other fitting/fixtures.
  • Timber or damp proof treatments.
  • Re-plastering and redecoration in between tenancies.
  • Repointing or window/door replacement.
  • Minor alterations to the structure such as roof windows.

It is to be noted that consideration can be given to awarding a discount where lots of repair works are being carried out. This would come under “A considerable amount of work to render the property habitable together with substantial cost of repairs”.

 

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If everyone living in a property is severely mentally impaired you can apply for an exemption (which means you don’t have to pay Council Tax for the property).

If someone living with you is severely mentally impaired and without them there is only one adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your Council Tax.

To get this discount or exemption the person must be entitled to one of the following benefits

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • the high or mid rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • an increase in the rate of Disablement Pension
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support (which includes a disability premium)
  • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Unemployability Supplement
  • Unemployability Allowance
  • Universal Credit (that includes an element for limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work related activity)

To apply you will need to download and complete the form above and give the certificate part of the form to the person’s medical practitioner for them to complete. Then send the completed form, certificate and proof of benefit to the address on the form.

We will use the information the doctor gives us only to to process your application for a discount or exemption.

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If you’ve had a letter about your single occupier discount

If you’ve received a letter from us saying that your single occupier discount will be removed and you don’t think it should be, you can appeal.

Apply for or remove a single occupier discount

If there is only one person over the age of 18 living in a property, you can apply for a 25% discount on your Council Tax bill.

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Full-time students aren’t usually counted for Council Tax.

You are classed as a full-time student for Council Tax rules if:

  • you are aged 18 or over and you are at college, university or similar
  • your course lasts at least 24 weeks in the year; and
  • it involves at least 21 hours of study a week.

Your college or university must be in the UK or the European Union.

You are also classed as a full-time student if you are engaged in distance learning as long as you meet the other student criteria.

If you have a student living with you

You can get a 25% discount on your Council Tax if, apart from the student(s), there is only one person over the age of 18 living in the property.

For example, a single parent living in a property with an adult son or daughter who is a full-time student will get a 25% discount on their Council Tax.

You need to apply for this discount

If everyone living in your property is a full-time student

If everyone living at a property is a full-time student, it will be exempt. This means you don’t have to pay Council Tax for the property.

You need to apply for this exemption

Full-time students at the beginning or end of their course

Please note that the Council Tax exemption only applies for the duration of your course.

If your tenancy starts before your course, you will be responsible for paying the Council Tax between your tenancy start date and your course start date. We will send you a Council Tax bill if this applies to you. From the date your course starts until the date it ends you will be exempt, providing you are a full-time student for the duration of your course.

If your tenancy ends after your course, you will be responsible for paying the Council Tax between your course end date and your tenancy end date. We will send you a Council Tax bill if this applies to you.

Student halls of residence

If the property is in a student hall of residence it is automatically exempt, you don’t need to tell us.

If you own your own home and have left if empty to study somewhere else

Your home will be exempt if own your own home and have left if empty to study somewhere else. To get this exemption you must be a student, or become a student within six weeks of leaving your home and no-one else except students were living there when you left it.

If this applies to you, please contact us.

If you live with someone who isn’t a full-time student

If one household member (aged over 18) isn’t a student, the non-student is counted for Council Tax and is responsible for paying the bill. The bill is reduced by 25% because the other household members are students. The non-student may be able to get Council Tax Support to help with the rest of the bill if they have a low income.

You need to apply for this discount

If two or more household members (aged over 18) aren’t students, there is no reduction. The non-students are responsible for paying the bill. They may be able to get Council Tax Support to help with the bill if they have low incomes.

If you are a student owner-occupier, you will be responsible for paying the Council Tax bill if there are non-students living in the property.

Student nurses

Student nurses studying academic courses at universities or colleges are classed as students for Council Tax purposes.

This only applies to student nurses who are studying to be included on the register for the first time. Nurses who are already on the register taking further courses are not classed as student nurses.

Foreign language assistants

Foreign language assistants registered with the Education and Training Group of the British Council are classed as students for Council Tax purposes.

Please send your certificate from the Education and Training Group with your application.

Non-British spouses of students

A non-British spouse of a full-time student can be classed for Council Tax purposes as if they are also a full-time student.

This can apply to a spouse or dependant of a full-time student if they are prevented by immigration from taking paid employment or from claiming benefit in the UK.

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Some unoccupied properties are exempt, which means no-one has to pay Council Tax for the property.

The following unoccupied properties are exempt from Council Tax:

  • property owned by a charity and was last occupied for charitable purposes
  • property which is left empty by someone who is in prison or detained elsewhere
  • property which is left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital or nursing or care home
  • property which forms an annexe to an occupied building
  • where probate or letters of administration are awaited
  • where occupation is forbidden by law
  • where the property is waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion
  • property which is left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care somewhere other than a hospital or nursing or care home
  • property which is left empty by someone who has moved to provide personal care to another person
  • property owned or leased by a qualifying student who has been a student for the whole of the period since it last ceased to be his or her residence
  • property which has been repossessed by a mortgagee
  • property which is the responsibility of a bankrupt’s trustees
  • a pitch for a caravan or a mooring for a boat, which is not currently occupied by a caravan or boat.

If you think an exemption applies to your property please contact us.

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If someone living in your property is a youth trainee, and without them there is only one adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your Council Tax.

A youth trainee is someone who:

  • is under 25 years old; and
  • is training under an individual training plan funded by the Skills Funding Agency or Young People’s Learning Agency.

Youth Credit, Options, Future and Next Step trainees are also eligible if they meet the above criteria.

If you think this discount may apply to you, please contact us.

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