10 June 2024

Help with your council tax

We found this informative article from Independent Age on how you can reduce your bill and the discounts available. You can read the article in full on the Independent Age website, but we’ve summarised it below.

Council Tax exemptions

You may not have to pay any Council Tax if you fall into any of these categories:

  • Your home is empty. If your home is empty, you may not have to pay Council Tax Contact your local council to find out if your property is exempt.
  • You live on your own and have been medically certified as ‘severely mentally impaired’. If you live in Wales, you can find more information at Gov.uk. If you live in England or Scotland, contact your local council for more information.
  • You have, and everyone you live with has, been medically certified as ‘severely mentally impaired’.  If you aren’t diagnosed as ‘severely mentally impaired’ but live with someone who is, you might be able to get a Council Tax discount (see below).
  • There is a self-contained annex in your home. This only applies if you live in England or Wales. If there is a self-contained annex in your home, and a relative over 65 years old lives there, the annex is exempt from Council Tax. 

Council Tax Reduction

If you live in England or Wales, each council has its own Council Tax Reduction scheme (also called Council Tax Support) to help people on a low income. If you live in Scotland, there is a national scheme that your local authority will deliver. Wherever you live, contact your local council to ask about the scheme in your area.

You can also ask them who is responsible for paying the Council Tax on your home if you’re not sure. You can apply for a reduction whether you rent or own your home.

If you receive Guarantee Pension Credit, you may get your Council Tax paid in full. Even if you don’t get Pension Credit, you may still get some help. You can apply for Council Tax Reduction if you’re on a low income, and you and your partner have savings and investments of less than £16,000 between you. How much help you’ll get depends on:

  • your household income and your savings or investments
  • who you live with
  • which benefits you receive
  • whether you’ve reached State Pension age
  • how much Council Tax you’re meant to pay
  • how the scheme works in your area.

The amount you can get may be higher if you, or someone living with you, have a disability or caring responsibilities.

Council Tax Discount

If you live alone, you can get a 25% discount on your Council Tax bill. You could still get this even if you live with other people, because not everyone is counted for Council Tax purposes. This includes:

  • full-time students
  • some carers
  • people with a severe mental impairment – for example, dementia, a brain injury, a health condition such as Parkinson’s or a serious mental health condition.

If everyone living in your home, including you, is disregarded you can get a 50% discount.

If you live in Wales, you can find more information at gov.wales. If you live in Scotland visit mygov.scot.  If you live in England contact your local council for more information.

The Disabled Band Reduction scheme

You may pay less Council Tax under the Disability Reduction Scheme if anyone living with you is ‘substantially and permanently disabled’.

One of these conditions also has to be met:

  • there is an extra bathroom or kitchen in the property that is needed by the disabled person
  • there is a room (other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet) needed by and mainly used by the disabled person
  • there is enough space in the property for the disabled person to use a wheelchair indoors.

If you qualify, your Council Tax will be reduced to the band below yours (for example, from band E to band D), or by one sixth if your home is in the lowest band.

You can check on Gov.uk to see if you qualify for the Disabled Band Reduction scheme.

Second Adult Rebate

If you live with someone on a low income who isn’t your partner, you may qualify for a discount on your bill called a Second Adult Rebate – if this is available in your area. Your local council might call a Second Adult Rebate ‘alternative maximum council tax reduction’. You can’t get Second Adult Rebate if you live in Wales.

You can’t get this at the same time as Council Tax Reduction, but after you apply for Second Adult Rebate, your local council should automatically consider which one you’d be better off getting. Depending on your income, your Council Tax bill could be reduced by 7.5%, 15% or 25%. Contact your local council to find out whether they offer this.


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