Council tax discounts and exemptions
Council tax discounts and exemptions are available in some cases. This page contains general advice.
- You may qualify for council tax reduction if you are on a low income
- Discounts and exemptions may apply in certain circumstances based on the type of property or who lives in the property
The quickest and easiest way to apply for a discount or exemption is to apply online using the correct form.
If you qualify for a discount or exemption, we will send you an adjusted bill.
Change of circumstances
You must tell us of any change of circumstance as this may affect your discount or exemption.
Notify us of a change of circumstance
If you would like to apply for a reduction in council tax because a disabled person lives at the address.
Apply for disabled relief
Empty property / second home discounts and long-term empty charges
These discounts are changing from 1 April 2020. See the discounts and charges from 1 April below.
Discounts for empty properties and second homes apply as follows until 31 March 2020:
- empty and unfurnished dwellings will receive 100 per cent discount for a maximum of 60 days from the date the dwelling first became empty irrespective of who owns the property
- once a discount has been awarded there must be a minimum occupation period of 6 weeks before another 60 day discount can be awarded
- dwellings that are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished and are undergoing major repairs, including structural alterations, to make them habitable may receive a discount for up to 12 months
- this is 100 per cent up to and including 31/03/2020 and from 01/04/2020 it will reduce to 50 per cent (the discount applies for the period the repairs are being undertaken)
- long term empty dwellings (properties that have been empty for 2 years) will be charged an empty home premium of an additional 100 per cent of the council tax payable
- second homes (properties that are empty and furnished) will receive a 10 per cent discount
Apply for other council tax discounts
Discounts and charges from 1 April 2020
Empty and unfurnished dwellings will receive a discount of 100% for a maximum period of one calendar month from the date the dwelling first became empty, no matter who owns the property. Once a discount has been awarded there must be a minimum occupation period of 12 weeks before another discount can be awarded.
Dwellings that are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished and are undergoing major repairs, including structural alterations, to make them habitable may receive a discount of 50% for up to 12 months.
Second homes (properties that are empty and furnished) will receive a 10% discount.
Long-term empty dwellings
The charges below are in addition to the council tax charge itself.
- Properties that have been empty for over two years and under five years will be charged an empty home premium of 100% of the council tax payable. You pay the equivalent of double the council tax charge.
- Properties that have been empty for more than five years will be charged an empty home premium of 200% of the council tax payable. You pay the equivalent of triple the council tax charge.
- From 2021 onwards, properties empty for more than 10 years will be charged a 300% premium. You pay the equivalent of four times the council tax charge.
Please note: If purchasing a property that was empty prior to purchase, it is advisable to check whether any relevant discount has already been applied or whether a long term empty premium may apply.
Single occupancy discounts
The full council tax bill is based on two adults living in a property. Where only one person over 18 years of age lives in a property, that person is responsible for paying the bill and is entitled to a 25% discount.
People not counted when working out your council tax
The following people are not counted when working out your council tax:
- people who are severely mentally impaired
- people currently in prison, in detention or sectioned under the Mental Health Act
- 18 year olds for whom child benefit is payable
- students, student nurses, Youth Training Scheme (YTS) and apprentices, and school leavers starting a course of education in the next term
- patients living in long term residential care homes or hospital
- some residential care workers receiving less than £36 per week
- residents of hostels for the homeless or night shelters (if not self-contained accommodation)
- members and dependants of international defence organisations
- members of religious communities
- some people who provide care to another person (other than spouse, partner or child under 18)
- non British spouses of students
- persons with diplomatic privileges or immunities
Apply for single person discount
Single person discount review letter
If you've received a review letter from us, please use this form to reply. It takes no more than five minutes. You will need your council tax reference number, which is on the review letter.
Reply to the single person discount review letter
Job related discounts and dwellings consisting of a pitch or mooring
A 50% discount is applicable where:
- dwellings consisting of a pitch, occupied by a caravan, or a mooring occupied by a boat
- dwellings that are unoccupied as the taxpayer is required to occupy a job-related dwelling (applies where the taxpayer has to occupy a dwelling provided by their employer by reason of their terms of their employment)
If you think you qualify for a discount in these instances, you must provide the following:
- proof that you are liable for council tax at another property
- proof that your employer has provided the property you are claiming a discount for
- evidence that your contract of employment requires you to live in that property
Apply for other discounts
A property will normally be exempt from council tax if any of the following circumstances listed below apply.
Charity owned empty properties
- Empty due to person being in prison (except for non payment of Council Tax or a fine)
- Empty due to person having gone to live in a hospital or care home
- Council tax payer deceased. Exemption continues for up to six months after grant of probate or letters of administration
- Occupation prohibited by law
- Property being held for a minister of religion
- Person living elsewhere to receive or provide personal care
- Property left empty by a student, who owns the property
- Mortgage lender is in possession of property
- Left empty by a bankrupt person
- Unoccupied caravan pitch or boat mooring
- Unoccupied separately banded property forming part of another property or situated within the curtilage of another property, which cannot be let separately without a breach of the Town & Country Planning Act (often apply to a granny annex and applies whether the unoccupied dwelling is furnished or not)
- Property occupied only by students
- Home or visiting armed forces accommodation
- All occupants under 18 years old
- Occupied only by severely mentally impaired person(s)
- Main residence of a person with diplomatic privilege or immunity
- Occupied annexe to an occupied property
For exempt properties listed above, please indicate your circumstance on the second page of the below form (Discount Form | Extra page):
Apply for other discounts
The following people and properties may be exempt from paying council tax (you will need to provide a certificate from you university or college):
- Foreign language students appointed as a foreign language assistant at a school or college and registered with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges
- Students under 20 taking a qualifying course of education which is not higher education
- other full students included in the above categories who are undertaking a course of education lasting for at least an academic or calendar year
Apply for a student discount
We can award a 50% discount for annexes. The discount applies after other discount/entitlements.
To be eligible the dwelling concerned must:
- form part of a single property which includes at least one other dwelling, a main dwelling can have more than one annex; and
- be being used by a resident of one of the other dwellings as part of their sole or main residence; or
- is the sole or main residence of a relative of the person who is liable to pay Council Tax in respect of one of the other dwellings.
This discount is not time limited and will apply for the whole time that the conditions are met
There is a formal right of appeal against decisions to refuse to grant exemptions or discounts, or against the completion date that we decide. If you wish to appeal, please write to us with the details.