Council Tax reductions for occupied properties

You may be entitled to a reduction, or may not have to pay council tax, depending on your circumstances.

If you think you may be entitled to a reduction of up to 100% read through the following information to learn more then complete the relevant form. You will still have to pay the amount on your bill until we make a decision on your claim.

You can ask us to backdate a reduction. We might ask for further information from you to help us decide how far back we can go. We don't normally backdate for more than 6 years from the date the claim is received.

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, 151KB)

Discount disregards

The term ‘disregarded' for Council Tax purposes means that we do not count the person concerned when we work out the number of people living in the property, there are a number of categories.

When counting the number of adults resident, if there is just one person living in that property or if only one occupant is to be counted, a 25% reduction could apply. If all the residents are 'disregarded' a 50% reduction may apply or a reduction of 100% depending on the circumstances.

An example would be if all of the people living in a property are full time students a reduction of 100% applies but if all but one of the residents is a student a 25% reduction is applicable.

Information regarding different kinds of reduction can be found below together with the relevant forms

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 single person discount form .

You must tell us if your circumstances change and you are no longer the only person aged 18 or over living in the property. To notify us, fill in our cancel a single person discount form

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.

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)

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.

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.

People with severe mental impairments

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

For the purpose of the reduction, a person is classed as severely mentally impaired if they have ‘a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused) which appears to be permanent’. This definition applies only for Council Tax purposes and differs from that of the Mental Health Act 1983.

To get a reduction, the person must 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) (Limited capacity for work related activity)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Universal Credit (with a limited capability for work or work-related activity element)

How to claim a Council Tax reduction for someone with a severe mental impairment

There are 2 steps to claim this reduction in your Council Tax.

Step 1 - the medical declaration

You will need to download and ask your doctor or medical professional to sign and stamp the medical declaration form (PDF, 173KB) to confirm the impairment. 

The doctor must be satisfied that you meet the definition above before signing the declaration.

If the doctor needs more information he may speak to medical colleagues, or carers who know you and understand your condition. If they are still uncertain that you are severely mentally impaired, the doctor should not sign the declaration.

A decision about the presence of severe mental impairment will, in all cases, depend on the doctor's clinical judgement. In the event that the doctor is unable to sign the certificate you may choose to approach another doctor.

Step 2 - the application form

You will need to upload:

  • the completed medical declaration signed by a medical practitioner and one of the following
  • proof of when your benefit entitlement began or
  • proof that you have now reached pensionable age, if you are not claiming any benefit, for example a copy of your Birth Certificate, Driving License or Passport

You can submit the application before you send the medical declaration form but we won’t be able to assess your claim until both the declaration and evidence have been uploaded.

Apply for a reduction in Council Tax for severe mental impairment

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. People living in residential units that house ex-offenders such as a a bail or probation hostel should use the same form.

Apply for a reduction in Council Tax for people in long term care or in a hostel

What reduction you might get

Where someone has gone into long-term care or a bail or probation hostel leaving another person living in the property there could be a reduction of 25%  

Where everyone from the household has gone into care, there might be a 100% reduction so there is nothing to pay.

People with physical disabilities

If you have a physical disability, or someone with a physical 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 bathroom used mainly to meet the needs of the disabled person.

Please provide photographs of the room you are claiming for. 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 bed-sitting room.

Apply for a reduction in Council Tax for physical disabilities

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

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

Apply for reduction due to child benefit

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.

Apply for a Council Tax school or college leaver reduction

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 their own child if they are under 18
  • live with the person they are looking after
  • provide care for at least 35 hours a week to a person who is entitled to receive one of the following
  • any rate of Attendance Allowance
  • the middle or highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • any rate of the daily living activity component of Personal Independence Payment
  • an increase in his or her disablement pension
  • an increase in Constant Attendance Allowance.

Please note - You don't have to be in receipt of a Carer's Allowance to claim a discount.

You can claim for a child under 18, for example, You can claim for a child under 18 in certain circumstances, for example, a foster child/step child, providing the other criteria have been met.

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)
Apply for a Council Tax reduction for a person who is a carer

What reduction you might get 

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

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.

Please note the care leaver must have been in the care of Cheshire East Council in order to qualify.

When the reduction ends 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.

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)
Apply for a Council Tax reduction for a person who is a live-in care worker

Apprentices and youth trainees

You might be able to pay less Council 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 £195 per week net
Apply for a Council Tax reduction for apprentices and youth trainees

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. Someone who has moved just to be nearer to their place of employment does not qualify

Apply for a reduction in Council Tax for a job related second home

Annexes lived in by relatives

Where an annexe 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 annexe.

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

  • over the age of 65
  • substantially or permanently disabled
  • severely mentally impaired
Apply for a reduction in Council Tax for relatives living in an annexe

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.

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
Apply for a reduction in Council Tax for living in a religious community

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.

Apply for a Council Tax reduction for partners and dependents of overseas students

What you might get

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.

Foreign Diplomats

If you are a foreign 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, download and return the completed Diplomat claim form (PDF, 635KB)

Members of visiting armed forces, international headquarters and defence organisations

Council Tax is not payable if at least one person who would normally be liable to pay the Council Tax is a member of a visiting force.

A person is classed as a member of a visiting force if they are:

  • a member of that force, or a member of a civilian component of the force; or
  • a dependant of a member, provided that the dependant is not a British citizen or normally resident in the UK.

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.

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 for this reduction or as a member of  international headquarters/defence organisation download the Members of international Headquarters/Defence Organisations and Visiting Forces Visiting forces form (PDF, 222KB).

What happens after you apply

We'll get back to you once we have looked at your claim. 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.

More information about Council Tax reductions

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

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