Council tax reductions

There are a number of ways that your council tax could be reduced if you or your property meet certain conditions.

Can I apply for a discount?

There are a number of council tax discounts available as follows:

Single person discount

A 25 per cent discount is available when you are the only person aged 18 or over who lives in your home.

To apply, you need to register on our new secure online council tax service.

Apply for a single person discount on the Citizen Access Revenues website

Council tax support

A discount of up to 75 per cent is available to households where the people are of working age and have a combined low income. This discount is means-tested. This means we look at the total income and the financial assets, such as bank accounts, bonds and shares, of all the people living in your home.  

For households of pension age, a discount of up to 100 per cent is available. This is also means-tested in the same way as the working-age scheme.

Read more about council tax support, including how to apply.

Can I apply for an exemption?

Council tax does not apply to some properties if certain conditions are met. 

Occupied properties

An exemption can be applied to an occupied property when:

  • all the residents are aged 17 or under  
  • all the residents are full-time students and taking a qualifying course of education.  Apply online for student discount
  • it is used as halls of residence for students 
  • all the residents are severely mentally impaired. This can include conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Apply online for a discount due to a mental impairment
  • a diplomat or similar who is not a British citizen, British subject or British protected person is a resident and has no other sole or main residence in the UK 
  • it is accommodation for the UK armed forces or visiting forces
  • it is an annexe which is part of another domestic property, and the person living in it is a dependent relative of a person living in the main property. Apply online for a discount.

Unoccupied properties

An exemption can be applied to an unoccupied property when:

  • it is owned and was last occupied by a registered charity. This applies for a maximum period of six months
  • the person who would normally have to pay the council tax is in prison.  Apply online for an exemption. If they are no longer on remand or in prison you can apply for a backdate.
  • the person who would normally have to pay the council tax has died and they were the only owner or leaseholder (minimum term of six months). The property must have been unoccupied since the person died. This applies until probate or letters of administration are granted and for six months afterward (unless someone else becomes the owner)
  • the person who would normally have to pay the council tax is a permanent resident of a residential care home, nursing home or hospice.  Apply online for an exemption

  • the law says nobody is allowed to live in it
  • it is being kept vacant for a religious minister to move in
  • the person who would normally have to pay the council tax is living at another address where they are being cared for.  Apply online for an exemption
  • the person who would normally have to pay the council tax is living at another address where they are caring for someone who is elderly, ill or disabled.  Apply online for an exemption
  • the owner is a full-time student and is living somewhere else to attend a qualifying course of education
  • the mortgagee has repossessed it. Apply online for an exemption.
  • the person who would normally have to pay the council tax is a trustee in bankruptcy
  • it is an empty caravan pitch or boat mooring
  • it is part of another domestic property and cannot be rented out separately (for example, unoccupied annexes).  Apply online for an exemption.

If circumstances change, and the qualifying conditions are no longer met, any exemption will cease.

Please contact us to apply for an exemption, unless there is an option to apply online above.  

More about exemptions 

More details are available in the exemption guide below:  

Council tax exemption guide (178kb) 

Can I apply for a disregard?

What is a disregard?

The full council tax charge is payable on a property when it is the main residence of two or more people aged 18 years or over, however, council tax does not apply to some people (they are 'disregarded') if they meet certain conditions. 

When counting the number of adults in a property, some people can be disregarded if they meet certain conditions.

The reduction applied depends on the number of people aged 18 years or over who can be disregarded. It can be up to 50 per cent of the full amount.

Types of 'disregard'

Disregards may apply if you have anyone who lives in your household who is:         

Disregards can also be considered for anyone who lives in your household who is:

  • registered at your address but are on remand or in prison. This does not apply for people who are in prison for non-payment of fines or council tax. Apply for a council tax reduction. If they are no longer on remand or in prison you can apply for a backdate.

  • an apprentice employed to learn a trade, and where the training leads to an accredited qualification. To qualify they must not earn more than £195 gross per week
  • a student nurse carrying out a course that leads to relevant registration under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979
  • a youth training trainee aged 24 or under carrying out training through an approved scheme
  • is a patient and permanently resident in hospital with no plans to move back to their previous home
  • a care worker that provides care or support through a charity or similar for at least 24 hours per week. They must live in the place where they provide care or a place provided for this purpose and must not receive more than £44 per week
  • a resident of a homeless hostel or night shelter and does not live anywhere else other than places provided for homeless people
  • a member of international headquarters or a defence organisation. This also applies to any dependants
  • a member of a religious community such as a monastery or convent. They must be dependent on the community for material needs and have no personal income or capital
  • a member of visiting forces or another international institution. This also applies to any dependents
  • a non-British spouse or dependent of a student who is prevented from taking paid employment, or claiming benefits, by the terms of their permission to be in the UK
  • lodging with a British citizen and has diplomatic privilege or immunity.

Please contact us to apply for a disregard, unless there is an option to apply online above.

A full list of council tax disregards is available in the disregard guide below: 

Council tax disregard guide (73kb)

Can I apply for a disabled band reduction? 

If you or someone (adult or child) who lives in your home is disabled, your council tax banding could be reduced by one band if the qualifying criteria is met:

Do I have to pay council tax on more than one property?

Second homes

A property that is furnished but is not lived in as the main home, is known as a second home. There is no reduction available for a second home, except if someone must live there because of their employment, so the full council tax charge must be paid by the owner or renter as relevant.

Second homes as part of employment 

If you must live in a property because of your employment but it is not your main home, then you can receive a 50 percent reduction on your council tax bill for your second property. You must be able to provide a contract of employment that states that it is a requirement of your job to live in the property. 

To apply, please  contact us.

Empty properties

Properties that are not used by anyone as their main home and are unfurnished are referred to as empty properties.

There are no discounts available for empty properties.

Currently, 100% empty-home premium is applied to properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for two years or more. The council tax payer has to pay 200% of the council tax charge.

From 1 April 2020, the council has determined that properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for five years or more, will be subject to a 200% premium. This means that the council tax payer will have to pay 300% of the council tax charge. The council will write to those who will be affected by the changes.


Can I apply for a discretionary discount?

If you are having difficulties paying your council tax bill you can apply to have your council tax reduced.

As there are no set conditions for awarding a reduction, we individually consider any applications. 

We will need a range of information from you to make a decision including:

  • why you are unable to pay your council tax bill
  • household income and expenditure
  • savings and investments
  • if you have received debt or benefits advice.

Apply for a discretionary discount

For more information, please see our council tax discretionary reduction policy.

Council tax discretionary reduction policy (619kb)

My council tax bill hasn't been discounted, why?

If you think your council tax bill is wrong and believe you should have had a discount or exemption, you should contact us to make an appeal and we will look into this for you.

Contact us

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