Exemptions

Council tax is charged on every residential property that has been valued and banded for council tax purposes. However there are certain circumstances where the liable person will not be required to pay council tax. This is because the property is exempt.

Exemptions are calculated on a daily basis and many are time limited. For the period of the exemption, no council tax is payable for dwellings that fall into one of the following classes:

  • Class A - A property which requires major repair to make it habitable or undergoing structural alteration, for a period of up to 12 months. From 1 April 2013 this exemption no longer exists, it has been replaced by a local discount (see next page of this section).
  • Class B - Unoccupied and owned by a charity. This exemption applies whether or not the property contains furniture. On expiry of the exemption period the property will become a long term empty property and will then be liable for 100% charge.
  • Class C - Unoccupied and substantially unfurnished. From 1 April 2013 this exemption no longer exists, it has been replaced by a local discount (see next page of this section).
  • Class D - Empty due to person being in prison (except for non payment of council tax or a fine). The property may be either furnished or unfurnished but cannot apply if there is someone still living in the property.
  • Class E - Empty due to person having gone to live in a hospital or care home.
  • Class F - Council tax payer deceased (leaving property unoccupied). Exemption continues for up to six months after grant of probate or letters of administration. On expiry of the exemption period the property will become a long term empty property and will then be liable for 100% charge.
  • Class G - Occupation prohibited by law. Exemption applies where the property remains unoccupied.
  • Class H - Unoccupied property being held for a minister of religion.
  • Class I - Person living elsewhere to receive personal care (leaving property empty).
  • Class J - Person living elsewhere to provide personal care (leaving property empty).
  • Class K - Property left empty by a student, where a student is the owner of the property and, when last occupied was the sole or main residence of the student and no one else other than students lived there. The exemption applies as long as the person remains a student.
  • Class L - A property that has been repossessed by a mortgagee, such as a bank or building society (the government has passed legislation to abolish this exemption but this has not yet been implemented).
  • Class M - Students' Halls of residence. Exemption applies to occupied properties.
  • Class N - Property occupied only by students.
  • Class O - UK Armed Forces accommodation.
  • Class P - Visiting Forces accommodation.
  • Class Q - Property left empty by a bankrupt person. The exemption applies whether the unoccupied dwelling is furnished or not.

Discounts

Not everyone has to pay the full council tax. There are several types of discount available:

  • 100% for a property that is habitable, unoccupied and unfurnished for a maximum of 3 months since the last occupation day* (see below)
  • 25% for a property that is undergoing major structural repairs and alterations and as a result is unoccupied because it is both unfurnished and uninhabitable. This is for a maximum of 12 months.
  • 50% discount for tied properties and mobile homes that are not being used as someone's sole or main residence.
  • 25% discount where there is only one adult resident in a property or where all except one adult resident are disregarded for Council Tax purposes.
  • 10% discount where the property is furnished and classed as a second home.

* The last occupation day means the day before the dwelling concerned ceased to be occupied. For the purpose of determining the last occupation day, any period of less than 6 weeks within which the dwelling was occupied shall be disregarded. The empty and unfurnished discount is based on the property and not the person, i.e. if a property is awarded an empty and unfurnished discount for 3 months and there is a change in occupancy/owner (and the property has not been occupied for a period of six weeks or more in the interim) a further discount cannot be awarded.

Single person discount

The full council tax bill assumes that there are two adults living in the property as their main home. If there is only one adult aged 18 or over living in the property, the council tax bill is reduced by 25%.

Apply for single person discount:

Apply for a single person discount: council tax exemptions and discounts

Second homes

Second homes are classed as those properties that are furnished but are not considered to be anyone’s main home.

Apply for second home discount: 

Apply for second home discount: council tax exemptions and discounts

If you are disabled

If you or someone, who lives with you, need an additional room or extra bathroom or kitchen or extra space in your property to meet special needs arising from a disability, you may be entitled to a reduced council tax bill.

The bill may be reduced to that of a property in the band immediately below the band shown on the valuation list. These reductions ensure that disabled people do not pay more council tax on account of space needed because of a disability. Please note that a qualifying tax payer with a Band A council tax liability will have a reduction amounting to 1/9th of the Band D charge (their bill will reduce from a liability of 6/9 of the Band D council tax to a 5/9 liability).

Apply for disabled person discount:

Apply for disabled person discount: council tax exemptions and discounts

Discounts for certain occupiers

Certain people are disregarded for council tax purposes. They do not count towards the number of adults resident in the dwelling.

People in the following groups are disregarded when counting the number of adults living in a property.

  • Full-time students and student nurses.
  • Patients resident in hospital.
  • People who are being looked after in care homes.
  • People who are severely mentally impaired.
  • People staying in certain hostels or night shelters.
  • 18 or 19 year olds who are at or who have just left school.
  • Care workers working for low pay, usually charities.
  • People caring for someone with a disability who is not their spouse, partner or child under 18 years of age.
  • 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)
  • People who are diplomats or members of an international organisation headquartered in the UK

Apply for council tax discount:

Apply for council tax discount: council tax exemptions and discounts

Apprentices

Where an apprentice is living in a property the Council Tax payer may be entitled to a 25% Council Tax Apprentice Disregard or Reduction.

To increase its support to single parents and school leavers the council has introduced a Council Tax Apprentice Reduction scheme. The Apprentice Reduction scheme extends the eligibility for a reduction in Council Tax beyond that currently required for entitlement to the existing Council Tax Apprentice Disregard.

When considering eligibility for a Council Tax Apprentice Disregard or Reduction, the definition of an apprentice is someone who is employed for the purpose of learning a trade, a business, a profession or a vocation, and who is taking a qualified course approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Entitlement to an Apprentice Disregard or Reduction will last for the term of the apprenticeship.

Apprentice Disregard - The council tax payer will be eligible for a 25% Council Tax Apprentice Disregard if the only other adult resident at the property is an apprentice earning less than £195.00 gross per week.

Apprentice Reduction - From 1st April 2021, the council tax payer will be eligible for a 25% Council Tax Apprentice Reduction if the only other adult resident at the property is an apprentice earning more than £195.01 gross but less than £300.00 per week gross.

Apply for an apprentice reduction: 

Apply for an apprentice reduction

Council Tax discounts consultation

There are currently three local Council Tax discounts available to residents at the discretion of the Council. Council Tax Income is collected and distributed to the major precepting authorities: Essex County Council, Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Fire and Rescue Authority and Brentwood Council.

The three discounts are:

  • Council Tax Discount Class C1W - where a property is empty and unfurnished a 100% discount can be awarded for the first three months
  • Discount Class B1 - where a property is not a person’s main home, but their second home, a 10% discount can be awarded ongoing
  • Discount Class D2 – where a property is empty and uninhabitable due to undergoing structural alteration or undergoing major repairs, a 25% discount can be awarded

As these three local Council Tax discounts are at our discretion, there is a chance to change and consider the impact on council funds and its residents.

Proposals for local discretionary Council Tax discounts

We are consulting with residents on your views to change the current local discretionary Council Tax Discounts from 1 April 2022. Each year, we have to decide whether to change the Council Tax discretionary discounts for residents in the Borough.

We want your views as the outcome of this consultation could affect owners and landlords of empty properties or owners of second homes in the Borough.

It won’t affect owners, landlords and tenants of properties which are in use.

To give us your views, complete the consultation online.