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Council tax reductions, rebates and benefits

You may be able to get a discount on your council tax bill if you live alone or live with someone who is exempt from paying council tax. Find out more about getting a discount and who is exempt.

Council tax discounts when you live alone

If you live on your own you can have your council tax bill, including the water and sewerage charge, reduced by 25%.

You can also get a 25% council tax discount if you normally live with someone but they are away from home for the following reasons:

  • they are in hospital
  • they are in prison
  • they are in a residential care home.

I am the only person in the house who has to pay council tax

If you live with other people but only you are liable to pay council tax, you can have your council tax bill, including the water and sewerage charge, reduced by 25%. Here is a list of people who would not have to pay council tax if they were living with you:

  • anyone that you receive child benefit for
  • recent school and college leavers under the age of 20
  • students under 20 studying up to their Highers
  • full-time students attending college or university, depending on the level of course
  • student nurses
  • someone living with you temporarily whose main home is elsewhere
  • apprentices
  • youth training trainees
  • someone living with you who is severely mentally impaired
  • a person who is the spouse or civil partner of a student, but who is not a British citizen and is not allowed to work or claim benefits under the terms of their leave
  • some carers.

Council tax discounts and building repairs

A property that requires major structural repairs or alterations can be exempt from council tax for up to 12 months so long as it is uninhabited. If the property that you have bought has already been empty for a year, you will only be able to claim a 50% council tax discount on the property.

Council tax discounts and empty homes

If your home is empty and unfurnished, you may be exempt from paying council tax for six months. You may then be entitled to a discount on the council tax bill for a further six months. At the end of the second period of six months the council can decide how much discount you should be granted. This could vary between a minimum of 10% and a maximum of 50%. After this period the council can add a surcharge of up to 100%.

Council tax discounts and holiday homes

If you own a purpose built holiday home, for example a chalet or a mobile home, you will be entitled to a 50% discount on your council tax.

If you own a holiday home that could otherwise be used as a permanent home, the council can give you a discount of between 10% and 50%.

How to claim your council tax discount

If you believe that you are entitled to a discount on your council tax, you should let the council know in writing. Some councils will ask you to complete a form. If you think that you have been entitled to a discount for a while, you can ask to have it backdated, which means you may get some money back from the council.

If you have a change in your circumstances that means you would no longer be entitled to a discount, you must notify the council tax department immediately. Failure to do so could result in a fine and council tax arrears.

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The important points

  • If you live on your own you can have your council tax bill reduced by 25%.
  • If you live with other people but they are not liable to pay council tax you cna also claim a 25% discount on your council tax bill.
  • A property which needs major repairs can be exempt for up to 12 months so long as no one is living there but if it has already been empty when you bought it you are only allowed a 50% discount on the council tax.

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