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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 for single person discount, please contact us.

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.

More information, including how to apply, is available on the council tax support page.

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
  • it is used as halls of residence for students
  • all the residents are severely mentally impaired
  • 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

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
  • the person who would normally have to pay the council tax is staying permanently in a care home, hostel or hospital
  • 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 afterwards (unless someone else becomes the owner)
  • 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
  • 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
  • the owner is a full-time student and is living somewhere else to attend a qualifying course of education
  • the mortgagee has repossessed it
  • 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)
If circumstances change, and the qualifying conditions are no longer met, any exemption will cease.


More details are available in the exemption guide below: 

Council tax exemption guide (pdf 178kb opens in new window)

To apply for an exemption, please contact us

Can I apply for a disregard?

The full council tax is payable on a property when it is the main residence of two or more occupants aged 18 or over.

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

Total number of adults after disregard Discount available
Two or more None
One 25 per cent
None 50 per cent


If you have anyone who lives in your household who is:

  • aged 18 or over but still receiving child benefit, you can apply for child benefit discount.
  • aged 18 or 19 and leave school or further education between 1 May and 31 October in any year, you can apply for school leaver discount. They are disregarded until 1 November in the same year or the date of their 20th birthday.
  • a full time student carrying out a qualifying course, you can apply for student discount.
  • a carer that provides at least 35 hours a week of care or support to someone with a disability who also lives in your household, you can apply for carer's discount . This person can not be a spouse, partner or a child aged 17 or under and they must receive at least one type of allowance or disablement pension.
  • an adult with a severe mental impairment, you can apply for a discount due to a mental impairment.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 permanent resident of a residential care home, nursing home and hospice.
  • 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 dependants.
  • 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.

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

Council tax disregard guide (73kb opens in new window)

To apply for any of the above discounts, please use this form to contact us.

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 your property has one of the following features:

  • any room other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet, that is needed by the disabled person (not including a bedroom because everybody needs a bedroom)
  • a second bathroom or kitchen, which is needed by the disabled person
  • enough floor space for a wheelchair to be used indoors and a wheelchair is used indoors by the disabled person.

You can apply for a disabled banding reduction, by contacting us: 

CON_TAB
 Contact method
 Phone
 01482 393939

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 a 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.

Annexes

A 50 per cent discount is available for an annexe (or similar self-contained part of a home) that is lived in as part of the main home or is the main home of a family member. The annexe must have its own banding and be classed as a separate property.

A family member is a spouse, parent, child, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece (and older generations of each, such as great grandparent).

If someone who is not a family member lives in the annexe, the discount does not apply. To apply, please contact us.

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 per cent 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.

If a property remains empty and unfurnished after two years, we will add a 50 per cent to your yearly bill, until it is occupied again.

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 (pdf 619kb opens in new window)

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 the council who will help by looking into this for you.