Council Tax Reductions
In certain circumstances you may be entitled to a reduction in your Council Tax bill. Please read the following information; if you meet the required criteria for a reduction, please complete the relevant application form.
The type of reductions available can be split into four categories:
- Council Tax Reduction Scheme (formerly Council Tax Benefit)
- Disabled Band Reduction
- Discounts and
- Exemptions (Note there are a number of changes to empty property reductions that took effect on 1 April 2013. See the changes to exemptions and discounts section below for more information).
Please note, if you receive a reduction and your circumstances change this may affect your entitlement. You must notify the Council Tax office of any changes within 21 days of the change to allow the council to independently verify the position. If this does not happen any claim may not be dealt with retrospectively. If we know that your discount or exemption is due to end we will send you a revised council tax bill nearer the time telling you the new revised amount to pay.
- What is the Council Tax Reduction Scheme?
- Who can claim or apply?
- How to claim or apply
- How much can I receive?
- How your Council Tax Reduction is paid
- What is a ‘non-dependant’?
- What can I do if I disagree with a CTR decision?
- What happens if I go away?
- For further background and details on the Scheme please visit our Scheme for Council Tax Support page.
Council Tax Reduction can help you pay your Council Tax.
- Main Council Tax Reduction – for people with a low income
- Alternative Maximum Council Tax Reduction (commonly known as Second Adult Reduction) – If your income or savings are too high for main Council Tax Reduction, you may be able to get Second Adult Reduction. You can get up to 25 percent off your Council Tax Bill if you are the only person responsible for paying Council Tax but share your home with one or more adults who:
- don't pay rent
- aren't your husband, wife or partner
- have a combined weekly income of less than £239 (if you are not a pensioner) or £241 (if you are a pensioner).
When you apply for a Council Tax Reduction we will automatically work out which type gives you the most money.
Anyone who is liable to pay Council Tax can apply for a Council Tax Reduction. This includes you if you are:
- a home owner
- renting your home
- anyone else with a Council Tax bill in their name.
If you are having problems paying your rent or Council Tax you should apply for a Council Tax Reduction straight away.
If you (or you and your partner together) have more than £16,000 in savings you will not be entitled to Main Council Tax Reduction, unless you also receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
If you (or you and your partner together) have more than £10,000 in savings you will not be entitled to Main Council Tax Reduction, unless you also receive Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based) or Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related).
Please complete the Help with your Rent and Council Tax form (PDF, 495KB).
- If you cannot download the form from this page, call us on 020 8489 1000 and we will send one to you
- You can also write to us to obtain a form:
Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services
PO Box 10505
Help completing form
If you require help filling in the paper form, simply visit one of our Customer Service Centres. You can find details of the Customer Service Centres on our contact us page.
On the form you must give information about everyone who lives with you. You will also need to tell us about:
- your income
- your savings
- your rent
- the income of other people who live with you
You will also need to provide proof of all these things.
You can claim Housing Benefit or apply for Council Tax Reduction on the same form. Once you have filled in the form go to our contact us page to see where to send or hand it in.
Waiting to hear about your claim or application
Please wait 14 days before contacting us to find out about your claim or application. See our contact us page for our details.
If you are in doubt about whether you can get support with your Council Tax you should apply anyway. We will tell you as soon as we can if you are entitled.
The rules used to work out your Council Tax Reduction are not the same as those used for Housing Benefit purposes. People who qualify for maximum Housing Benefit may not qualify for maximum Council Tax Reduction.
If you are a pensioner your Council Tax Reduction is based on the total amount of Council Tax you are liable for, minus 20 percent of your excess income and any non-dependant deductions.
If you are not a pensioner your Council Tax Reduction is based on 80.2 percent of the amount of Council Tax you are liable for, minus 20 percent of your excess income and any non-dependant deductions. You must also qualify for entitlement of at least £1.00 a week to be eligible for an award.
Non-Pensioners with a Disability
Some people who are not pensioners may have their Council Tax Reduction based on the total amount of Council Tax they are liable for if they receive a specified disability related income.
If this applies to you, your Council Tax Reduction is based on the total amount of Council Tax you are liable for, minus 20 percent of your excess income and any non-dependant deductions. You must also qualify for entitlement of at least £1.00 a week to be eligible for an award.
A Council Tax Reduction is credited directly to your Council Tax account for the whole financial year. When the Reduction has been credited, you will be sent a new bill. If your Reduction changes during the year, we will send you a revised bill.
A non-dependant is a person who lives in your home on a non-commercial basis. Non-dependants are normally adult children or relatives but they can also be friends or anyone else who lives with you.
We normally reduce your Council Tax Reduction for every non-dependant in your home. We call this a ‘non-dependant deduction’.
In some cases we will not make any non-dependant deduction. For example, we will not make a deduction if you or your partner:
- are registered blind, or
- get Disability Living Allowance (care component) or Attendance allowance.
We will also make no deduction if the non-dependant:
- is under 18 years old
- gets a Youth Training Allowance
- has been in an NHS hospital for more than 52 weeks
- is in prison
- normally lives elsewhere
- is a full-time student
- gets Pension Credit
- gets Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance (income based) and is aged under 25.
- is severely mentally impaired (Council Tax only)
Otherwise your benefit or reduction will be reduced for each non-dependant as follows:
- Housing Benefit – reduced by anything from £14.15 to £91.15 a week.
- Main Council Tax Reduction – reduced by anything from £3.65 to £10.95 a week (if you are not a pensioner) or £3.70 to £11.25 (if you are a pensioner).
The actual amount of the deduction depends on the income and circumstances of the non-dependant.
If you disagree with a Council Tax Reduction decision, you must write to us asking us to look at the decision again. You should write to us within one month of the date of our decision letter telling us what you disagree with and why.
Once we have considered your request we will write to you to explain any changes we have made, or to explain why we cannot change our decision.
If you still disagree with our decision, you can appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal for England (external link). The Valuation Tribunal are an independent body.
There are strict time limits for appealing to the Valuation Tribunal:
- If we reply to you within two months, you have a further two months from the date of our reply to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal.
- If we do not reply to your dispute within two months of you first contacting us, you can appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal. You must appeal within four months of the date that you disputed our decision.
If you go away for less than 13 weeks, your benefit or reduction will not be affected so long as:
- you intend to return to your home, and
- you have not let or sub-let your home while you are away, and
- your period of absence will be unlikely to exceed 13 weeks
If you are going away for 13 weeks or more you must tell us. Your benefit or reduction will normally end from when you go away. You will then have to re-claim benefit or re-apply for support when you return.
In certain circumstances you can get benefit or support for longer than this whilst absent from home. For example, if you are:
- detained in custody on remand pending trial
- in a bail hostel or bailed but required to live at an address other than your normal home
- in hospital as a patient
- absent because you are in fear of violence in your home, or from a former family member
If the above applies to you, then we will still be able to pay benefit or support for up to 52 weeks, so long as:
- you intend to return to your home, and
- you have not let or sub-let your home while you are away, and
- your period of absence will be unlikely to exceed 52 weeks.
For further background and details on the Council Tax Reduction Scheme visit our Scheme for Council Tax Support page.
A disabled band reduction may apply if a property is
- the main residence of a disabled person, and
- the property has either;
- a room, other than a bathroom, toilet or kitchen, which is predominantly used by and required to meet the needs of the disabled person, or
- an additional bathroom or kitchen required to meet the needs of the disabled person, or
- enough floor space for the use of a wheelchair required to meet the needs of the disabled person.
The disabled person does not have to be liable to pay Council Tax and may be of any age.
For the purposes of this reduction, a disabled person means a person who is substantially and permanently disabled caused by illness, injury, congenital deformity or otherwise.
If you are eligible, a reduction will be applied to your account to reduce the amount you must pay to that of a band lower than your property. For example, if your property is in band D you will be charged the band C rate. If your property is in band A you will still receive a reduction equivalent to that for bands B, C and D.
Please note the following adaptions or uses alone do not qualify for a disabled band reduction:
- Stannah stair lifts
- Additional rails inside or outside the property
- Using a zimmer frame indoors
- Possession of a disabled parking permit
To apply, please complete the online Disabled Person's Discount form:
Please note that an enquiry officer may be required to visit your property to assess your eligibility before any reduction is awarded.
The following changes to empty property reductions took effect on 1 April 2013;
- Class A exemption abolished and replaced with a 50% discount for a maximum of 1 year
- Class C exemption abolished and replaced with a 100% discount for a maximum of 1 calendar month
- The discount for properties that are unoccupied and furnished or used as a second home will be reduced from 10% to zero
- After a property has been unoccupied for a period of 2 years, a premium of 50% will become payable
Further information regarding each area is available from the guide to council tax empty property changes - April 2013 (PDF, 687KB). Please be aware that there is no right of appeal against the level of relief either within the council or to any external independent body as this will be a matter of council policy which is allowed under council tax regulations. Your only route to challenge this policy would be by way of Judicial Review and we would recommend you seek independent legal advice before considering this option.
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