Discounts and exemptions
Council Tax is charged based on the assumption that there are at least two adults living in a property.
If only one adult lives in a property, the Council Tax bill can be reduced by 25%. This is known as a Single Person discount.
You can now apply online for a Single Person Discount and no paper form is required.
To apply for single person discount you will need to complete the following form:
Certain people are exempt from Council Tax, including:
- People who are severely mentally impaired
- People who are being looked after in a care home
- Patients resident in hospital
- People staying in certain hostels or night shelters
- Eighteen or nineteen year olds in respect of whom Child Benefit is payable
- Eighteen or nineteen year olds who have left school between 30 April and 01 November
- Full-time students
- The spouses or dependants of full-time students who are not British citizens and who are prevented from taking paid employment or claiming benefits
- Student nurses
- Youth Training trainees
- A Carer
- Certain types of Care workers
- People in prison
- Members of religious communities (monks and nuns)
- Foreign language assistants
- Members of visiting forces
- Diplomats and members of certain International Headquarters and Defence Organisations.
In April 2014, a new Council Tax discount of 50% was introduced for family annexes.
In order to qualify for the discount, the annexe must be either used by the resident/s of the main property or occupied by a family member. If a non-family member occupies the annexe the discount will not apply.
Some annexes are already exempt from Council Tax and these will not be affected by the new discount and will continue to be exempt. If you think you may qualify for the new discount please contact us on 01424 451081.
If you think you, or a member of your household may be entitled to a discount and one is not already shown on your bill, you should contact us straight away.
If your bill indicates that a discount has been allowed, you must tell us of any change of circumstance that effects your entitlement straight away. If you fail to do so you may be required to pay a penalty.
People with disabilities
If a disabled person (adult or child) lives in your property and adaptations have been made to the property to assist with that person's needs, relief may be available.
Examples of adaptations include:
- A room, excluding a bathroom, kitchen or toilet that is predominantly used by and required for meeting the needs of the disabled person (eg a room set aside for storing dialysis equipment)
- An additional bathroom or additional kitchen provided for the person with the disability
- Extra space created inside the dwelling to allow for the use of a permanent wheelchair user.
The bill may be reduced to that of a property in the band immediately below the band shown in the valuation list.
Frequently asked questions about adapted properties
Q: My property has been adapted with grab handles, rails and ramps. Does my property qualify?
A. Unfortunately not. These adaptations only aid movement around your property and do not fall into one of the three categories listed.
Q: I have converted a downstairs room as a bedroom. Do I qualify?
A: Yes, provided the use of that room as a bedroom prevents or changes the use and occupation of the room by the rest of the household. The reason for the change must have a causative link to the residents disability. E.g. a living room converted to a bedroom due to mobility problems, which can no longer be used as a living room by the rest of the household. If the room can still partially be used as a living room, it will not qualify.Q: Does the disabled person have to be the person whose name appears on the Council Tax bill?
A: No, the disabled person can be a child, or a relative or friend. However, they must live permanently at the property.
Q: I own a residential care home. Can I apply?
A: Yes. If you have a permanently disabled person living in your residential care home you may apply. If that person leaves you would no longer qualify as the reduction is granted due to a disabled person living there, and not because the property is a residential care home.
Q: My disabled son uses a wheelchair and sometimes stays with me; would I qualify for the reduction?
A. Unfortunately not. To qualify for reduction, the disabled person must be permanently residing at the address as their sole or main residence (i.e. their main home).
Q: I have an en-suite bathroom, does this qualify as an extra bathroom?
A: Yes, provided you have constructed it. If the en-suite was there prior to you moving in, this will not qualify as the property has not been adapted.
Q: Can the Disabled Reduction be back-dated?
A: Yes, provided you have sufficient proof to show this e.g. a builders invoice for the adaptations or a Doctors letter confirming when your medical needs changed.
Some dwellings may be exempt from council tax or exempt for up to six months, depending on the reason they are empty or the special circumstances of the people who live in them. These are:
- Unoccupied furnished properties owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months)
- Properties which are left empty by an owner or leaseholder who has gone to prison
- Properties which are left empty by someone resident in a nursing/care home or hospital
- Properties where owner/tenant has died and there is less than 6 months since probate or letters of administration were granted
- Properties which are empty because their occupation is forbidden by law
- Properties which are waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion
- Properties which are left empty by someone who has moved elsewhere to receive non-institutional care
- Properties which are left empty by someone who has moved in order to provide personal care to another person
- Unoccupied properties where the owner and last resident is a student
- Properties which have been repossessed
- Student halls of residence
- Properties occupied only by students
- Armed forces accommodation owned by the Secretary of State for Defence
- Accommodation for members of visiting forces
- Properties which are left empty by someone who is bankrupt and which are the responsibility of the bankrupt's trustee
- A dwelling consisting of a pitch or a mooring which is not occupied by a caravan or, as the case may be, a boat
- Properties that are occupied solely by people under 18 years of age
- Properties unoccupied which form part of another dwelling but cannot be let separately
- Properties where all the residents are severely mentally impaired
- Properties occupied by diplomats as their main home in the UK
- Self contained annex occupied by a relation of the main dwelling aged over 65 or disabled or severely mentally impaired
If you think your property may be exempt please contact us as soon as possible.
Empty and/or second homes
From 01 April 2013 no reduction is given on second homes.
Empty homes with no furniture (from 1 April 2016)
- Empty homes with no furniture are liable for Council Tax (there is no longer a discount for 30 days)
- After the property has been empty for two years (with no break), the Council Tax bill will increase to 150 per cent
Properties requiring/undergoing structural alerations/major repairs
From 01 April 2013, a new discount class was introduced for properties that require or are undergoing structural alterations* or major repairs**. Properties that fall into this class will receive a 50% discount for 12 months. You cannot claim this discount and live in the property.
*Structural alteration is defined as works which alter the fabrication of a property and include new masonry walls, lintels, brick piers, floor and roof joists, trusses, purlins, or staircases. These items are not exhaustive but are indicative of the type of work required. No single feature will definitely mean the discount will be given, as we need to look at the nature and extent of the work to the property as a whole.
**Major repair work is classed as substantial and extensive replacement of defective items to render a property habitable. Please note that refurbishment work such as refitting a kitchen or bathroom, installing central heating, replacement windows, replacement floors and ceilings, re-plastering, rewiring or general decoration would not normally be defined as major repair work. These items would be classed as refurbishment work rather than major repairs.
If you would like to apply for these discounts, please complete the claim form:
Administration of Discounts and Exemptions
Billing Authorities are under a duty to take reasonable steps to ascertain discount and exemption entitlement before calculating the Council Tax Liability. This must be applied both prior to annual billing in each year and before the issue of first demand notices throughout the year to new Taxpayers.
Discount and Exemption Claim Forms
To apply for a discount please print the appropriate form, complete and post it, together with any proof detailed on the form, to:
Revenues and Benefits Service
Muriel Matters House, Breeds Place
Hastings, East Sussex
PO Box 176
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application for a Council Tax Discount - Apprentices
Please use this form if you think you should be given a discount because you are, or someone who lives with you is, an Apprentice.
Application for a Council Tax Discount - Care Workers/Carers
Please use this form if you think you should be given a discount because you are, or someone who lives with you is, a Care Worker or Carer.
Application for a Council Tax Discount - 18 year old/Child Benefit
Please use this form if you think you should be given a discount because someone who lives with you is, in further education at a school or college, and you get child benefit for them.
Application for a Council Tax Discount - people in detention
Please use this form if you are, or someone who lives with you is, being detained in prison or held on remand, and the property is still your/their home.
Application for a Council Tax Reduction - People with Disabilities
Please refer to the fact sheet and complete the application form if you think you should be given a Council Tax reduction because you or someone who lives with you has a qualifying disability.
Application for a Council Tax Discount/Exemption - Severely Mentally Impaired
Please use this form and doctor certification if you think you should be given a discount or exemption because you are, or someone who lives with you is, severely mentally impaired.
Application for a Council Tax Discount - Student Nurses
Please use this form if you think you should be given a discount because you are, or someone who lives with you, is a student nurse.
Application for a Council Tax Discount/Exemption - Full Time Students
Please use this form if you think you should be given a discount or an exemption because you are, or someone who lives with you is, a student.
Got a question about council tax?01424 451081
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