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 From 1 April 2013 this exemption no longer exists, it has been replaced by a local discount (see next page of this section).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 From 1 April 2013 this exemption no longer exists, it has been replaced by a local discount (see next page of this section).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.
- Class R - An unoccupied caravan pitch or boat mooring
- Class S - Property occupied by persons under 18 years of age only
- Class T - Unoccupied annexe to an occupied dwelling
- Class U - Property occupied only by severely mentally impaired person(s)
- Class V - Main residence of a person with diplomatic privilege or immunity
- Class W - Annex occupied by a dependant relative. Exemption applies if the annex is the sole or main residence of a dependent relative (i.e. someone over 65 years of age, or a person who is either severely mentally impaired or substantially and permanently disabled) of a person who is resident in the main property.
Not everyone has to pay the full council tax. There are several types of discount available:
- 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.
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%.
Family annexe discount
These discounts apply from 1 April 2014 onwards. The family discount at 50% may apply if a relative (not a dependant relative) is living in an annexe. A 50% discount may apply if an annexe is being used as part of the main home.
Disabled person discount
If you, or someone who lives with you, need an additional room, bathroom, kitchen or extra space in your property to meet special needs relating to 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 don't pay more council tax on account of space needed because of a disability. A qualifying tax payer with a Band A council tax liability will have a reduction amounting to 1/9 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).
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 an exemption or discount
To apply for any of the exemptions or discounts above, you should complete our online form.
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 1 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 per week gross.
Single Person Discount (SPD) Review
You can confirm your current Single Person's Discount (SPD) details online. To access your form, you will need to enter your unique PIN, which can be found on the letter we sent you.
We continue to review discounts to help identify fraudulent claims.
Each year, local authorities nationwide receive a high volume of applications for SPD. Some of these applications aren't genuine and just like benefit cheats, these people are falsely claiming reductions in their bills. Legislation exists that allows Council Tax cheats to be prosecuted through the courts, in the same way as benefit cheats, and made to pay back the money they owe.
For more information or questions, view our SPD frequently asked questions (FAQs).