Council Tax Reduction Definitions

This page contains definitions of the following terms in relation to Council Tax:

Students

For the purposes of council tax, the term 'student' covers:

  • any person who is enrolled in a full-time course of education at a prescribed educational establishment
  • a person under the age of 20 undertaking a qualifying course of education
  • a foreign language assistant.

Students are disregarded during any period in which they fall within the definition of a student. The period of a student’s course runs from the day they begin the course and continues until it is completed or the student leaves the course uncompleted. Vacations during the course are treated as part of the period of the course.

Full-time course

For a course to be considered 'full-time': the student must be undertaking a course of education which subsists of at least 1 year (academic or calendar) with a prescribed educational establishment which would normally require that person to; undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience of at least 24 weeks in the year (academic or calendar); which together amount to an average of at least 21 hours a week in each year.

For an establishment to be considered a Prescribed Educational Establishment it must be;

  • (a) situated in a member state of the European Union, and
  • (b) established solely or mainly for the purpose of providing further or higher education.

Qualifying course

A qualifying course of education is a course which:

  • Lasts for at least 3 calendar months (and is not a course of higher education);
  • Requires at least 12 hours per week to be spent on the relevant activities of the course; and
  • is not a course of higher education

Evening classes, correspondence and job related training do not qualify.

Student Certificate

A certificate is required as evidence of student status and must be received before a reduction may be applied. A student certificate must contain the following information:

  • the name and address of the prescribed educational establishment issuing the certificate
  • the full name of the student to whom it is issued
  • the student's date of birth (if known to the institution)
  • a statement certifying that the person is (or has) followed a course of education as a student and
  • the date when the person became a student and the date the person's course is expected to end (or has ended).
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Severely Mentally Impaired

The term Severely Mentally Impaired (SMI) refers to a person who has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused) which appears to be permanent.

For a person to qualify as severely mentally impaired, we must;

  • receive confirmation from a medical practitioner certifying that the individual meets the above definition; AND
  • confirm that that the individual is entitled to one or more of the following state benefits:
    • Employment and Support Allowance
    • Incapacity Benefit
    • Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance
    • Severe Disablement Allowance
    • Care component of Disability Living Allowance paid at the middle or higher rate
    • Unemployability Supplement
    • Pension Credit, Income Support or Working Tax Credit where the applicable amount includes a disability premium
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Dependant Relative

A dependant relative for the purposes of a Class W exemption, is:

  • a person aged 65 years or more
  • a person who is severely mentally impaired
  • a person who is substantially and permanently disabled (whether by illness, injury, congenital deformity or otherwise).

The list of persons to be regarded as being a relative of another for the purpose of Class W is extensive and includes great-great-grandparents and great-great-uncles, and also allows a relationship by marriage to be treated as a relationship by blood and a relationship between a couple living together as married to be treated as a relationship by marriage.

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Apprentices

A person is considered to be an apprentice regardless of their age, provided they are employed for the purpose of learning a trade or profession and are undertaking a training programme leading to a qualification accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority or the Scottish Vocational Educational Council. However, the apprentice must not be in receipt of a wage or allowance which individually or combined totals more than £195 per week.

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Care Workers

For the purposes of council tax, a person would be considered a care worker provided they are:

  • providing care or support through a connection with the Crown, a charity or a local authority
  • employed for at least 24 hours a week
  • paid no more than £44 per week and
  • resident where the care is given or in premises which have been provided for the better performance of the work.

To apply for a Care Workers discount, please download, complete and return by post a council tax care workers discount application form (PDF 35KB).

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Carers

For the purposes of council tax, a person would be considered a carer if they are:

  • Providing care for a person who is entitled to one of the following state benefits:
    • a higher rate of Attendance Allowance
    • the highest rate of the Care Component of Disability Living Allowance
    • an increased Disablement Pension
    • an increased Constant Attendance Allowance and
  • resident in the same property as the person who is receiving care and
  • providing care for at least 35 hours a week on average; and
  • not a spouse of the person being cared for or a parent caring for their child who is under 18 years of age.

(for the purpose of council tax, couples living together are treated as married couples).

To apply for a carers discount, please download, complete and return by post a council tax carer's discount application form (PDF 42KB).

For more information relating to Carers, please visit our Carers section or Direct.gov (see external links below) for more information provided by Central Government.

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