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Council Tax discounts and reductions

Council Tax discounts and reductions

How much of a discount will I get?

You can cut your bill by 25% if you are the only person (aged 18 or over) living in your main home. 

Apply for a Single Person Discount


What factors are used when determining sole or main home?

When establishing whether a property is someone’s sole or main residence we consider the following factors

  • The number of addresses at which the individual is resident at various times and the amount of time spent at each one over a specific period
  • Where the individual keeps most of their possessions
  • The ownership of furniture
  • The address at which the individual is registered for electoral and medical purposes
  • The sole or main residence of the individual's family (i.e. wife, husband, civil partner, dependant children)

What if I decide to take a year out or travel for a year?

Holidays, even those of an extended nature, do not alter your sole or main residence which can be identified in your intention to return at the end of your travels. Temporary absence doesn't constitute a change in residency.

Can I have a single person discount because my partner works away in London/abroad all week?

No. Case law in the High Court has established the principle that a person's home will be regarded as "where they would normally live were it not for their work commitments" even if the majority of their time is spent elsewhere.

Is my main residence the place where I spend most of my time/nights?

Not necessarily.  In the case of the City of Bradford Metropolitan Council v Neil Anderson (1991) , the courts ruled that a merchant seaman, away at sea most of the year, was resident at his home in Bradford even though he spent only a small amount of his time at that address.

How much of a discount will I get?

Your Council Tax bill may be reduced so that you pay in the band lower than your property is actually in. For example if your property is in band E you will pay the charge for a property in band D. If your property is already in band A, the lowest band, your bill is reduced by 1/9th of the band D charge for your area.

Who can apply?

To qualify for a disabled band reduction, your home must have:

  • At least 1 disabled person permanently resident, and either
  • A special room used specifically to meet the needs of the disabled person, or
  • A second bathroom or kitchen used specifically to meet the needs of the disabled person, or
  • Enough space so that a wheelchair can be used in your home every day

Apply for disabled band reduction

Other Benefits

Read our disability benefits page to find out what other benefits you may be able to claim.

Some annexes will have their own Council Tax band

If a residential property contains more than 1 unit of self-contained accommodation, the main house and each self-contained unit (or annexe) will have its own Council Tax band determined by the Valuation Office Agency.

What is an annexe?

A self-contained unit (or annexe):

  • Is generally a building or part of a building which has been constructed or adapted for use as separate living accommodation
  • Will include a kitchen area, a bath/shower-room, toilet, living / sleeping space 
  • May share common services and entrance with the main house

There are already Council Tax exemptions available for annexes occupied by a dependent aged 65 years or over, or if severely disabled. They don't apply to other situations such as extended families living together.

Who can claim for the 50 percent annexe discount?

Any annexe that is not entitled to a Class T exemption (Empty Annexe) or Class W exemption (Occupied Annexe) will be entitled to a 50 percent discount providing:

  • The annexe is lived in by immediate family members including parents and teenagers where other family members reside in the main building 
  • The annexe is unoccupied in the occupation sense but used as part of the main residence

Where a non-family member occupies an annexe the discount will not apply.

Apply for an annexe discount

Contact us to apply for this discount.

Section 13A allows us to reduce the amount of Council Tax payable. We will consider making a Section 13A award to applicants who meet the qualifying criteria.

Apply for a discretionary discount

Apply for a discretionary discount by reading our policy and completing the financial statement at the end of the policy document, below.

Under powers previously granted by Central Government a provision was made for local authorities to set discounts between 0 percent and 100 percent for certain classes of empty property. Our current discounts are 100 percent for up to 28 days where a property is empty and unfurnished and 50 percent for up to 1 year where a property is empty and undergoing structural/major works.

These current discounts will cease as at 31 March 2017.

Changes from 1 April 2017

As from 1 April 2017 the following changes will apply

  • 0 percent where the property is empty and unfurnished (full charge payable)
  • percent where the property is empty and undergoing structural/major works (full charge payable)

This brings us in line with other Berkshire authorities following a bench-marking exercise undertaken with some of our neighbouring authorities.

Second home

If a property is furnished but there is nobody normally living in it (e.g. a second home) then the owner will be entitled to no reduction in their Council Tax. For certain dwellings, including caravans and boats, the second home reduction is 50 percent for a limited period of time. Another example of this is the second home of people who are liable for Council Tax on dwellings provided by an employer (tied accommodation).

Unoccupied and Unfurnished Properties

Up to 31 March 2017 an unoccupied and unfurnished property (2 items or less of furniture excluding white goods) can be awarded a 100% discount for a maximum of 28 days while it remains unoccupied. You will need to provide us with a statement to confirm that the property is unoccupied and unfurnished. Contact us to apply for this discount. 

This current discount will cease as at 31 March 2017.

As from 1 April 2017 the following change will apply

  • 0 percent  where the property is empty and unfurnished (full charge payable)

Major repairs or structural alterations 

Up to 31 March 2017 an unoccupied and unfurnished property which requires major repair works to render it habitable or is undergoing structural alterations. The discount awarded will be 50 percent for a maximum of 12 months, after which the full Council Tax charge is payable.

We consider major repair works as being a roof part removed from a property, internal walls being knocked down or a concrete floor being dug up. However removing and replacing a kitchen, bathroom, re-wiring or replacing a central heating system is only considered extensive refurbishment and therefore would not qualify.

It is important that all requests for this discount are made before or during the time works are taking place and not after they have been completed. We will arrange to inspect the property before granting this discount.

This current discount will cease as at 31 March 2017. 

As from 1 April 2017 the following change will apply

  • 0 percent where the property is empty and undergoing structural/major works (full charge payable)

When a property has been empty for 2 years or more a 50 percent premium is payable in addition to the full Council Tax. 

Empty homes premium

We charge a 50 percent additional premium on long term empty properties. This decision was made to reduce the number of long term empty properties in the Borough and get them back into use for local people. The premium will be shown as an additional charge on your council tax bill.

If no adults have the property as their main home, the bill may be reduced. There are some situations where there will be no liability for payment of Council Tax, in respect of unoccupied or occupied dwellings.

Certain people are not counted when looking at the number of adults resident in a property. These are

  • Full-time students, student nurses 
  • Apprentices 
  • Youth training trainees 
  • Patients resident in hospital 
  • People who are being looked after in care homes 
  • Severely mentally impaired people 
  • People staying in certain hostels or night shelters 
  • 18 or 19 year olds who are still at school, and those who leave school after March for the months up to November 
  • Care workers working for low pay, usually for a charity 
  • People caring for someone with a disability or long term illness who is not a spouse, partner or child under 18 
  • Members of visiting forces and certain international institutions 
  • Members of religious communities – monks and nuns 
  • People in prison - except those in prison for non-payment of council tax or a fine 
  • Diplomats 

To apply for a Student Discount online use our online Council Tax website and select apply for Council Tax discounts

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