Council tax reduction

Council tax reduction helps you if you are on a low income to pay your council tax bill. Council tax reduction replaced council tax benefit from 1 April 2013.

What is council tax reduction?

Council tax reduction is support to help you pay your council tax bill. The amount of support you receive is up to your council, and depends on your personal circumstances.

You'll get help with paying your council tax by a reduction to your bill, rather than a benefit. It is up to local councils to decide who should have a reduction applied to their bill.

Responsibility to help those who need help to pay their Council Tax in Scotland now sits with the Scottish Government and Scottish Local Authorities. So the UK Government has added the total amount of Council Tax Benefit (the previous name for this support) payments in Scotland, less 10%, to the Scottish budget.

However, in order that those who previously received Council tax benefit could be protected from this 10% cut in funding, the Scottish Government and the Convention of Local Authorities in Scotland (CoSLA) together provided an extra £40m of additional funding for 2013-14 and 2014-15. This will continue in 2015-16.

If you had a council tax reduction in April 2021 (not including single person discount) your local council will automatically provide you with £130 by the end of October 2021. This is called the low income pandemic payment.

Who can claim?

Council tax reduction may be available to you if you:

  • have a low income,

  • are receiving welfare benefits.

If you think that you are entitled to a reduction to your council tax bill you should contact your local council as soon as possible to make a claim. The council will let you know if you are entitled to a council tax reduction and how much your bill will be reduced by.

What does council tax reduction cover?

Council tax bills are split into two parts:

  • a charge for council tax, and

  • a charge for water and waste water.

Council tax reduction only covers the council tax charge. Other exemptions are available for water and waste water charges. See council tax discounts for more information.

If council tax reduction does not reduce your bill to zero, this means you will need to pay the rest of the council tax bill yourself. If you're having difficulty paying the rest of your council tax bill speak to a money adviser as soon as possible. They will be able to help you draw up a budget.

When should I claim?

You should claim council tax reduction as soon as possible. Your council tax will usually be reduced the Monday after you made your claim, as long as you provided the council with all of the information required.

To apply for a council tax reduction you should contact your local council

I am going to claim – should I stop paying my council tax?

No, remember, even if you have your council tax reduced fully you will still need to keep paying the water and sewerage charge.

If you're having difficulty paying council tax try to keep making payments at a level you can afford. Always inform the council – they may be able to arrange a suitable payment plan with you.

Council tax reduction applications may take a long time to process and you could be left with large council tax arrears. If you need help making a council tax support claim, speak to an adviser

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 12 August 2015

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