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Council Tax discounts and reductions

Council Tax discounts and reductions

Discounts, reductions and premium

Any entitlement shown on your bill may be restricted to time limits and expire prior to the end of the financial year. A revised bill will be issued at this point. The claimant is responsible for advising us within 21 days of any change of circumstances. Failure to do so could result in a penalty being imposed.

Penalties

You are responsible for advising us, within 21 days, of any change in circumstances which may affect your entitlement to a discount, exemption or a Council Tax Reduction. Any person who has been requested by Wokingham Borough Council to supply information to identify the liable person, and that information is in their possession or control, is required to supply that information within 21 days. Any person who receives a request for information following the issue of a Liability Order, and that information is in their possession, is required to supply that information within 14 days of the request being made. Failure to notify or supply the information may incur an initial penalty of £70.

How much of a discount will I get?

You can cut your bill by 25 percent 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, dependent 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.

Empty homes

From 1 April 2017 no discounts are available and 100% charge applies for:

  • Unoccupied and unfurnished properties
  • Properties undergoing major repairs or structural alterations
  • Second homes

This decision was made in line with Local Government Finance Act 1992 to maximise resources to provide key services within our borough.

Exceptions

Certain dwellings, including caravans and boats, provided by an employer (tied accommodation) may be eligible for the second home reduction of 50 percent for a limited period of time. Contact ctax@wokingham.gov.uk to see if you qualify.

Empty homes premium

Up to 31 March 2019 we charge a 50 percent additional premium on long-term empty properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 years or more.

This will change from the 1 April 2019 increasing from 50 percent to 100 percent additional premium on those homes that have been empty and unfurnished for a period of 2 years or more.

We have made this decision in line with many other authorities under the Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018.

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.

There are exemptions to this additional 100 percent premium charge being applied including:

  • Premises owned by members of the armed forces
  • Annexes and properties that are genuinely on the market for sale or let

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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