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Scheme for Council Tax Support
Council Tax Reduction Scheme
- The Scheme
- Key principles
- Prescribed requirements
- Class of Persons
- Class of Reduction
- Applications for a reduction under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme
- General administration of the scheme
- Appeals process
- Applications for a discretionary reduction under section 13A(1)(C)
- Other matters
Council Tax Benefit was abolished on 1 April 2013. Section 9 of the Local Government Finance Bill by amendment to section 13a (2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 requires each Local Authority to produce its own scheme to reduce the Council Tax Liability of persons it considers to be in financial need.
This page contains the Council Tax Reduction Scheme which the Council was required to produce under the provisions of Schedule Four of the bill.
The scheme will only affect working age recipients of a Council Tax Reduction. The Government has decided that a national scheme will exist to provide support to those of pension credit age. Although pensioners will move onto the new Council Tax Reduction, they will receive the same amount of support they would have received under the abolished Council Tax Benefit Regulations.
Haringey's scheme for working age recipients was dependant on factors such as:
- The outcome of consultation on the scheme
- The passing of the Local Government Finance Bill and subsequent secondary legislation
- The bringing into force of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and any secondary legislation
The scheme may also be amended in future years if the expected cost of the scheme changes to such an extent that the scheme requires further amendment.
The Draft Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements) (England) Regulation 2012 (external link) prescribe a number of matters which must be included and this scheme is to be interpreted and applied in accordance with those regulations.
The Default Scheme is based upon the abolished Council Tax Benefit scheme for working age people and incorporates the prescribed requirements. The council has based its Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme on the default scheme referred to on the above link. The Council has locally amended provisions within its scheme to pass on the reduction in funding to working age recipients.
Haringey's scheme takes into consideration the following key principles:
- Working age adults will have to make some payment towards their council tax
- Support will not be given to those with relatively large levels of capital or savings
- It will be developed with residents
- Help will be provided to protect those most affected by the scheme
The amount of support for working age applicants has been reduced in line with the reduction in Government funding. This is approximately 20% - taking into account the increasing number of people claiming a reduction and the cost of ensuring pensioners receive the same level of support. However, people of working age who receive certain disability-related incomes may not be subject to the 20% reduction (subject to satisfying specific criteria).
The Government has decided there are a number of prescribed requirements which affect both the working age and pension credit age schemes. These are set out in the Draft Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements) Regulations 2012 (external link).
The prescribed requirements which Haringey must incorporate into its local scheme are outlined below:
Pensioners are a class of person who, by law, must be included within our scheme. Schedules 1 to 6 of the Prescribed Requirements Regulations shall apply which contain those matters which must be included in this scheme with regards to pensioners. The classes of pensioners described in paragraphs 2 to 4 of the Prescribed Requirements Regulations are entitled to a reduction under this scheme.
2. Extended payment for people who have just reached the qualifying age for state pension credit:
The Prescribed Requirements Regulations set out that an individual:
- who is approaching pension credit eligible age; and,
- is in receipt of a Council Tax Reduction; and
- is not in receipt of a working age benefit (income support, income-related job seekers allowance, income related employment and support allowance); or
- whose partner has claimed state pension credit
will continue to receive an extended payment of Council Tax Reduction for a prescribed period of four weeks, whilst they or their partner apply for state pension credit.
3. People from abroad:
The Government intends to apply the same restrictions as existed under the abolished Council Tax Benefit scheme. Foreign Nationals with limited immigration status and non-economically active EEA individuals who are not exercising EU treaty rights are not entitled to a Council Tax Reduction and are excluded from this scheme.
As is currently the case, individuals with recognised refugee status, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or exceptional leave to remain granted outside the immigration rules and who are exempt from the Habitual Residency Test are entitled to apply for a Council Tax Reduction as long as their status has not been revoked.
For these purposes paragraphs 12 to 13 of the Prescribed Requirements Regulations are incorporated into our Scheme as reproduced in the Default Scheme Regulations.
5. Permitting a person to act for another person:
The Prescribed Requirements Regulations allow current arrangements for a person to act on behalf of another to continue. For example, where a person has been granted power of attorney over a liable council-tax-payer or in cases where a couple wishes to make an application.
Eligibility under the Scheme is defined by the terms of the Default Scheme, which mirrors the abolished Council Tax Benefit regulations. The principles and methods set out in the Default Scheme Regulations are used to determine council tax support, except as follows:
- The maximum amount of capital that a claimant may hold in capital and savings before becoming ineligible for council tax support is set at £10,000
The reduction is calculated as a means tested discount, defined by the terms of the Default Scheme Regulations and which mirrors the abolished Council Tax Benefit scheme except as identified below:
- Payments are reduced to working age applicants in line with the reduction in Government Grant
- Where entitlement to a reduction is less than £1 per week it is not granted
Council Tax Benefit claims made on or before 31 March 2013 will be treated as an application for a Council Tax Reduction. An application is required for all new claims from the 1 April 2013. The procedure for an application for a reduction under this Scheme is as set out in Part 1 of Schedule 7 of the Prescribed Requirements Regulations which is incorporated in Schedule 1 of the Default Scheme Regulations.
Entitlement to a Council Tax Reduction is dependant on an application being made in the following way. An application must be made in writing on the Authority's Council Tax Reduction form or by using the Council's online Council Tax Reduction form.
A review process may be implemented by the Council for new and existing awards. Awards may be reviewed in a time period determined by the Council and failure of the claimant to fulfil any request during a review of their award may result in the termination of that award.
Apart from where statutorily required, advice of any award granted, removed or revised will be by an adjustment to the Council Tax bill and the bill itself will be the formal notification.
Further notification of an award or non-award of a Council Tax Reduction will be made by way of system notification letters.
Overpayments are rectified by the excess amount being clawed back by an adjustment to the Council Tax bill.
An applicant may make an appeal to the Council concerning:
- their entitlement to a Council Tax Reduction under the Scheme, or
- the amount of the reduction to which they are entitled
The appeals procedure is as set out in Part 2, Schedule 7 of the Prescribed Requirements Regulations which is incorporated in Schedule 1 of the Default Scheme Regulations. The appeal should include the reason and grounds for appeal and the period the appeal relates to. Any additional evidence to support the appeal and grounds should also be provided.
Appeals to the Local Authority must be made within one calendar month of the date of notification of the decision.
Following receipt of an appeal the Council will consider the appeal and provide a written outcome of the appeal to the applicant within two months.
Where an applicant remains dissatisfied they may, within two months, appeal to the Valuation Tribunal:
- Valuation Tribunal
2nd Floor, Black Lion House
45 White Chapel Road
London E1 1DU
- Tel: 0300 123 2035
Under section 13A(1)(C) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 the Council has a general discretionary power to reduce liability for Council Tax in relation to individual cases or class(es) of cases that it may determine and where national discounts and exemptions cannot be applied.
The procedure by which a person may make an application to the authority for a reduction under section 13A (1)(C) of the 1992 Act shall be in writing or by means of an electronic communication as set out in Part 3, Schedule 7 of the Prescribed Requirements Regulations which is incorporated in Schedule 1 of the Defaults Scheme Regulations.
This discretionary reduction may be awarded to Council Tax payers who are experiencing financial hardship due to extenuating circumstances. Applications are considered on a case by case basis, on their individual merits.
If you feel your circumstances may qualify please contact us to request an application form.
This Scheme is up-rated, to take effect on 1 April each year following the commencement of the Scheme, in accordance with statutory requirements.
Subject to statutory requirement, this Scheme will have parameters set out for two years starting 1 April 2013 until 31 March 2015. Different parameters than those that apply in the first year of the Scheme may be set out for the second year, starting 1 April 2014, but this will not constitute a separate scheme. If the Local Authority does not revise the Scheme at the end of year two, the parameters for year two will continue to apply for subsequent years.
It is proposed that this Scheme may be amended to take into account any circumstances subsequently identified whether through Government Statute, public consultation or any other means.
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