Council Tax reductions for occupied properties

There are a variety of types of Council Tax reductions available for occupied properties.

You must apply if you think you should pay less or if you don't think you should pay anything. You must then keep paying your full Council Tax until we confirm the reduction. Don't just stop paying.

You can ask us to backdate a reduction. We might ask for further information from you to help us decide how far we can backdate the reduction.

If someone else is helping you sort out your Council Tax, you can give us permission to talk to them by signing our  authority to disclose form (PDF, 82KB)

What happens after you apply

We'll get back to you to tell you whether or not you can get a reduction. This can take up to 20 working days. It might take longer if we have to visit your property or need more information.

You must let us know straightaway if anything you have told us changes.

Reductions will show on your bill as for the whole year even when they are only for a fixed time period. We will send you a new bill when the reduction is coming to an end. If you think you should keep getting the reduction you will need to apply again.

Who can get a Council Tax reduction

People in different circumstances can get different types of reduction. 

Some types of reductions are called ‘disregard’ reductions. A disregard means that a member of the household who would normally affect the amount of Council Tax that you pay is "disregarded" and not included in calculating your Council Tax charge.

It can be complicated to work out what reductions should be because there are so many different household situations, including where different people in a property might count for different types of reductions.

We will work out what if any reduction you can get based on your own circumstances.

People on benefits or a low income

You might be able to get a reduction in your Council Tax if you are on benefits or a low income. This type of reduction is called Council Tax Support. You apply for Council Tax Support through the benefits system rather than by applying for a reduction.

Adults who are the only person aged 18 or over in a property

You can get 25% off your bill if you're the only person aged 18 or over living in the property as a main home. This is known as the Single Person Discount. To apply, fill in our online Council Tax Change of Circumstances form.

Full-time students (including halls of residence)

You might be able to pay less Council Tax if someone in your household is a full-time student.

To count as a full-time student, the person must be one of the following:

  • on a university or college course for 24 or more weeks a year for which they have to study at least 21 hours a week during term time
  • 18 or 19 years old and on a course that lasts at least 3 months and for which they have to study at least 12 hours a week - evening classes, job-related study and day-release courses don't count
  • a student nurse or student midwife
  • a foreign language assistant (for example, in a school)

What reduction you might get and how to apply

Where students are living with people who aren’t students, the amount of any reduction is set by the rules for disregard reductions. To apply, download the student Council Tax reduction form (PDF, 121KB).

Where everyone in the property is a full time student, there might be a 100% reduction so there is nothing to pay. To apply, fill in our online Council Tax exemption form.

Child Benefit is still being paid for 18 and 19 year-olds

You might be able to pay less Council Tax if someone in your household is 18 or 19 and child benefit is still being paid for them.

What reduction you might get and how to apply

To find out what reduction you might get, see disregard reductions.

To apply, download the Council Tax form for reductions for 18 and 19 year olds with child benefit (PDF, 252KB)

School/College leavers

You might be able to pay less Council Tax if someone in your household is a school/college leaver.

To count as a school/college leaver for Council Tax purposes, the person must be aged 18 or 19 and have left school or college between 1 May and 31 October.

What reduction you might get and how to apply

Where school or college leavers are living with people who are not school or college leavers, the amount of any reduction is set by the rules for disregard reductions. To apply, download the school leaver Council Tax reduction form (PDF, 252KB)

Where everyone in the household is a school leaver, there might be a 100% reduction which means there is no Council Tax to pay. To apply, fill in our  online Council Tax exemption form.

People with severe mental impairments

You might be able to pay less Council Tax if someone in your household has a severe mental impairment.

We'll ask you to print a document for a doctor to sign to confirm the impairment.

To get a reduction, the person must also be able to get one of these benefits or allowances, even if they don't claim it (for example, because they are of pension age):

  • Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)
  • Unemployability Supplement
  • The disability element of Working Tax Credit
  • Disability Living Allowance - higher or middle rate care component
  • Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit (IB)
  • Increased Disablement Pension for constant attendance
  • Income Support that includes a disability premium
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

What reduction you might get and how to apply

Where severely mentally impaired people are living with people who are not severely mentally impaired, the amount of any reduction is set by the rules for disregard reductions. To apply, download the form for Council Tax reductions for severe mental impairment (PDF, 267KB).

Where everyone in the household has a severe mental impairment, there might be a reduction of 100% so there is no Council Tax to pay. To apply, fill in our online Council Tax exemption form.

People with disabilities

If you have a disability, or someone with a disability lives with you permanently, you might be able to apply for a disabled band reduction. The person can be an adult or a child. We give the reduction by treating the property as if it's in a Council Tax band lower than the actual band. This means if your property is in band B, for example, you only pay the amount of Council Tax for a band A property. If your property is in band A, the lowest band, we will cut your bill by a sixth.

To get a disabled band reduction, the disability must be permanent and substantial, you or the person living with you must live in the property as your main home, and the property must have at least one of these features:

1. Use of a wheelchair indoors

If the person needs to use a wheelchair indoors and doorways and hallways are wide enough for them to do so. Just storing a wheelchair indoors doesn't count. A specialised buggy for a disabled child might count.

2. An extra bathroom or kitchen used to meet the needs of the disabled person

This doesn't need to be used only by the disabled person. A shower room counts as a bathroom, but an extra toilet doesn't.

3. A room other than a bedroom, kitchen or toilet used mainly to meet the needs of the disabled person.

This might be a room used for treatment or therapy, or to store equipment used by the disabled person. A room converted to a bedroom doesn't count, neither does a bedroom you have converted to a bedsitting room. We may ask to visit your home so we can decide if the property counts for a disabled band reduction.

To apply for a disabled band reduction, download the Disabled Band Reduction form (PDF, 103KB)

Apprentices and youth trainees

You might be able to pay less tax if there are one or more apprentices or youth trainees in your household.

To count as an apprentice or youth trainee, the person must be all of these:

  • under 25
  • studying for a recognised qualification (for example, recognised by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA))
  • earning less than the earnings limit for the reduction

What reduction you might get and how to apply

To find out what reduction you might get, see disregard reductions. To apply, download the apprentice & youth trainee Council Tax reduction form (PDF, 114KB).

Care leavers

In certain circumstances, we can give reductions for care leavers under the age of 25. To find out if you can get a reduction, contact the Care Leavers team on 01606 271500. This number is only for enquiries about Council Tax reductions for Care Leavers.

People in detention

You might be able to pay less Council Tax if someone who normally lives in your household is in prison or has been detained under the Mental Health Act or under immigration law.

What reduction you might get and how to apply

Where there are still other people living in the household, reductions for people in detention are set by the rules for disregard reductions. To apply, download the Council Tax reduction form for people in detention (PDF, 112KB)

Where everyone in the household is in detention there might be a 100% reduction so there is no Council Tax to pay. To apply, fill in our online Council Tax exemption form.

Long-term hospital patients and care home or hostel residents

There are reductions in Council Tax for households where people have gone into long-term care or are living in a bail or probation hostel.

What reduction you might get and how to apply

Where someone has gone into long-term care or a bail or probation hostel and other people are still living in the property, the amount of any reduction is set by the rules for disregard reductions. To apply, download the Council Tax reduction form for people in long term care or in a hostel (PDF, 223KB).

Where everyone from the household has gone into care, there might be a 100% reduction so there is nothing to pay. To apply, fill in our online Council Tax exemption form.

Carers

People who are a carer for a person they live with can sometimes get a Council Tax reduction.

To count as a carer for a Council Tax reduction, the person must:

  • look after someone who is not their husband, wife, partner, or child under 18
  • live with the person they are looking after
  • care for them at least 35 hours a week

For the carer reduction to apply, the person the carer looks after must be entitled to at least one of these:

  • Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - higher or middle rate care component
  • increased Disablement Pension
  • increased Constant Attendance Allowance
  • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

What reduction you might get and how to apply

To find out what reduction you might get, see disregard reductions. To apply, download the Council Tax reduction form for carers (PDF, 169KB).

Care workers

Households where there is a live-in care worker can sometimes pay less Council Tax.

To count as a live-in care worker for a Council Tax reduction, the person must be all of these: 

  • working at least 24 hours a week
  • employed by a charity or local authority
  • earning no more than £44 a week

For the care worker reduction to apply, the person they care for must be able to get at least one of these:

  • Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - higher or middle rate care component
  • increased Disablement Pension
  • increased Constant Attendance Allowance
  • the daily living component of the highest rate of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

What reduction you might get and how to apply

To find out what reduction you might get, see disregard reductions. To apply, download the Council Tax reduction form for care workers (PDF, 169KB).

Job-related second homes

You might be able to get a reduction if you are living in a furnished home provided by an employer and you have another home somewhere else. You can only get a reduction if there is a job-related need for you to live in the specific property the employer provides. An example would be a pub landlord living in a flat above the pub.

What reduction you might get and how to apply

You could get a 50% reduction if we agree your circumstances count. To apply, fill in our online Council Tax reduction form.

Everyone is under 18

If there is no one aged 18 or over in the property, you might not have to pay Council Tax. To apply, fill in our online Council Tax exemption form.

Annexes lived in by relatives

Where an annex gets a separate Council Tax bill, you might be entitled to a reduction if the person who lives there is related to the people in the main house.

Dependent relatives

Where the relative is dependent, you don't have to pay any Council Tax for the annex.

A relative is dependent if they're any of these:

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

To apply, fill in our online Council Tax exemption form.

Other relatives

If the relative doesn't count as dependent, you might still be entitled to a reduction. We will work out the reduction depending upon your circumstances. To apply, fill in our online Council Tax reduction form.

Members of religious communities

You might be able to pay less Council Tax if you are a member of a religious community.

To count as a member of a religious community, you must depend on the religious community for your material needs. You can't have any income or capital of your own, except a pension from a former job. Your religious community must be mainly involved in:

  • prayer or contemplation
  • education
  • caring or similar charitable work

What reduction you might get and how to apply

To find out what you might get, see disregard reductions. To apply, download the Council Tax reduction form for members of religious communities (PDF, 209KB).

Partners and dependants of overseas students

You might be able to pay less Council Tax if someone in your household is a partner or adult dependent of an overseas student. To count for the reduction the person must be prevented from taking paid work or claiming benefits.

What you might get and how to apply

Where the partner or dependant of an overseas student is living with other people in a household who are neither students nor partners or dependants of an overseas student, the amount of any reduction is set by the rules for disregard reductions. To apply, download the Council Tax reduction form for dependants of overseas students (PDF, 241KB).

Where the only people in a property are students or partners or other dependants of an overseas student, you might get a 100% reduction so you pay no Council Tax. To apply, fill in our online Council Tax exemption form.

Diplomats

If you are a diplomat you might be able to get a reduction of 100% in your Council Tax so you pay nothing. You can only get the reduction if you are the person liable for Council Tax.

You can't get a diplomat reduction if you are a British citizen or subject, Dependent Territories citizen, National Overseas citizen, protected person, or permanent UK resident.

To apply, fill in our online Council Tax exemption form.

Members of visiting armed forces, international headquarters and defence organisations

Members and dependants of members of visiting armies and some international headquarters and defence organisations can sometimes get a reduction in their Council Tax.

What reduction you might get and how to apply

Where a member or dependent of the member of a visiting army is the person liable for Council Tax they might get a reduction of 100%, which means there is no Council Tax to pay. You can't get the reduction if you are a British citizen or are ordinarily resident in the UK. To apply, download the visiting forces Council Tax exemption form (PDF, 93KB).

Other reductions for members of visiting armies and international organisations are set by the rules for disregard reductions. To apply, download the visiting forces Council Tax reduction form (PDF, 222KB).

Property held as living accommodation for UK armed forces

Property held as living accommodation for UK armed forces and owned by the Secretary of State for defence can get a reduction of 100% so there is no Council Tax to pay. The reduction applies whether the property is occupied or not. To apply, fill in our online Council Tax exemption form.

Other discounts

We can sometimes give short-term reductions to people who find themselves in exceptional and unforeseen circumstances. To apply, contact the Council Tax team to explain why you need a reduction.

We will need evidence of your situation and that you have taken reasonable steps to resolve the problems that are causing you to ask for the reduction.

Disregard reductions

Some types of reduction are called ‘disregard reductions’. If the type of reduction you are looking at is a disregard reduction, the amount you can get is set by the disregard rules.

Under the disregard rules, some people are ‘disregarded’ for Council Tax purposes. This means we don’t count them as one of the 2 adults we base a full Council Tax bill on. Households with only one person who isn’t disregarded or where everyone is disregarded can sometimes get a disregard reduction.

Where there is one disregarded person, the reduction might be 25%. Where there are 2 or more, the reduction might be 50%.

If everyone in the house is disregarded, there are some circumstances where the reduction might be 100%. These 100% reductions don’t come under the disregard rules because they only apply to some types of disregarded people.

The explanations of each type of reduction tell you whether it is a disregard reduction and whether the 100% reduction might apply.

More information about Council Tax reductions

If you have questions about reductions, you can contact the Council Tax team.