Guide Council Tax discounts and exemptions information

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2. Discounts for people who aren't counted (disregarded)

The law says you need to tell us within 21 days of any change that may affect your entitlement to this discount. To falsely claim a discount is a criminal offence and we may prosecute.

A normal Council Tax charge is based on two or more adults (aged 18 and over) living in a household. If there's only one adult, apply for a single person discount. For Council Tax purposes, certain people are not 'counted' towards the number of adults in a household (they are disregarded) and the bill is worked out as if they weren't living there. Please see the list below for who is disregarded and how to apply.

People who are severely mentally impaired - To qualify, a person is deemed to be severely mentally impaired if s/he has severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused) which appears to be permanent. The person must also be entitled to any one of these benefits:

  • Incapacity benefit
  • Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Care component of Disability Living Allowance or the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at the standard or enhanced rate
  • Increase in the rate of disabled pension (where constant attendance is needed)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (any element)
  • Income Support where the applicable amount includes a disability premium
  • Universal Credit (including an element for limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work-related activity)

If everyone in the household is severely mentally impaired, the property may be exempt from Council Tax. To claim please complete both the online exemption application and separate medical certificate. You need to get the doctor of the severely mentally impaired person(s) to sign it.

You must provide evidence of entitlement to any of these benefits together with a signed medical certificate.

Please tell us within 21 days of any changes, including if you are moved onto or refused Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Carers - You will not qualify as a carer if the person you are caring for is your husband, wife, partner, civil partner or your child (aged under 18). To qualify, you must live in the same property as the person you are caring for and provide care for at least 35 hours a week.

The disabled person must also be in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • any Attendance Allowance
  • the highest or middle rate of the care component of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
  • an increase in the rate of disablement pension
  • an increase in a Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Universal Credit (including an element for limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work-related activity)

Your income and savings will not affect your eligibility. If there is more than one carer in the property they can both be disregarded for Council Tax purposes as long as they both meet the conditions above.

Please tell us within 21 days of any changes, including if you are moved onto or refused Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Full-time students - Any property which is occupied only by students, such as a hall of residence, is exempt from Council Tax. Homes left empty (furnished or unfurnished) by full-time students may also be exempt.
Otherwise, full-time students are disregarded (not counted) for Council Tax purposes.

You qualify as a full-time student, and/or are not counted for Council Tax if:

  • you attend a university or college course lasting for at least one academic year - as long as you attend for at least 24 weeks out of the year and study for at least 21 hours a week during term-time,  or
  • you are under 20 and your course leads to a qualification up to (but not above) A Level standard or equivalent - as long as it lasts for more than three months and involves more than 12 hours of instruction, tuition and/or supervised study per week
  • you are an 18 or 19 year old who left school after 30 April until 1 November of the same year
  • you are an 18 year old for whom Child Benefit is still being paid

You are not a full-time student if you are taking a course as a consequence of your job such as day release or are taking an evening class.

If you are a full-time student who lives with your spouse/partner from outside the UK, they can claim a discount/exemption if they can prove that immigration rules prevents them from either taking paid employment or from claiming benefits.

Student nurses and midwives - A student nurse undertaking a course which leads to a first registration on the Register maintained under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitor Act 1978 is disregarded (not counted) for Council Tax purposes.

Foreign language assistants - You will be classed as a student if you are:

  • registered with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits, and
  • working as a foreign language assistant at a school or other educational institution in Great Britain.

Apprentices and trainees - An apprentice is a person who is regardless of age, employed to learn a trade or profession and:

  • undertaking a programme of training leading to a qualification accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency and
  • employed at a salary or in receipt of an allowance or both, which are in total no more than £195 per week

The employer is required to provide written confirmation of the applicant's entitlement.

A trainee is a person who is under 25, and in a recognised form of full-time training funded by either the Skills Funding Agency or the Young People's Learning Agency.

Hospital and care home residents - Anyone who has moved out of their former home, and whose main residence is now effectively a care home or hospital, is disregarded for Council Tax purposes.

People in detention - We will disregard (not count) someone if they are:

  • detained in prison, hospital or some other place by order of a court
  • detained pending deportation under the Immigration Act 1971
  • detained in a place of safety under the Mental Health Act 1983
    We will not disregard someone:
  • who is detained for non-payment of Council Tax or for default in paying a fine
  • while they are being held in police custody until being remanded in custody by a court.             

An exemption can be given if a property has been left unoccupied by a person who is in detention.

Homes for Ukraine - A person who has come to England under the Home for Ukraine sponsorship scheme and continues to live with a host will be disregarded for Council Tax purposes. This will protect the host’s entitlement to the following discounts:

  • 25% discount for one liable adult in the sponsor household or
  • 50% discount where all people in the sponsor household are already disregarded.   

Similarly, the host will not lose any exemption from Council Tax if they offer accommodation to a person who has a visa under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme.

However, if the host provides accommodation in a second home, the person living in the property will be liable to pay Council Tax. 

There are discounts for these households but the amount of reduction depends on who is part of the household. Please provide the circumstances on our contact form.

Diplomats - Diplomats and members of international organisations headquartered in the UK and their non-British spouses will be disregarded if they have privileges and immunities conferred by one of these: 

  • Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964
  • Commonwealth Secretariat Act 1996
  • Consular Relations Act 1968
  • Commonwealth Countries and Republic of Ireland Order 1985
  • International Organisations Act 1968
  • Hong Kong Economic Trade Act 1996 

The person must not be:

  • a British subject
  • a British citizen
  • a British Dependent Territories citizen
  • a British National (overseas) or a British Overseas Citizen
  • a British protected person
  • a permanent resident in the United Kingdom.

We will need official evidence, such as written confirmation of your diplomatic status from your embassy, stating the class of diplomat you fall under.

Religious communities - If you are a member of a religious community, for example if you are a monk or nun, you may qualify if:

  • you are a member of a religious community where the principal occupation is one or any combination of the following: prayer, contemplation, education, the relief of suffering
  • each person must have no income, with the exception of any occupational pension due to former employment, or capital of his or her own
  • all persons must be dependent upon the community for their material needs.

We will need confirmation that you fulfil the criteria from the head office of your religious community.

Visiting forces - Members and dependants of an international headquarters, defence organisation or a visiting force may be eligible if they have a relevant association within the meaning of the Visiting Forces Act 1952, with a visiting force from one of the countries to which the act applies.
'Relevant association' means that the person is either:

  • a member of that force or a member of a civilian component of that force
  • a dependant of a member, provided that the dependant is not a British citizen or is not ordinarily resident in the UK. 

We will need a letter from the designated organisation confirming that you're eligible.

If one of the occupiers who would be liable to pay the Council Tax is a person associated with a visiting force, the property is exempt even though other people may live in the property.

Apply for or cancel a discount on an occupied property

The law says you need to tell us within 21 days of any change that may affect your entitlement to this discount. To falsely claim a discount is a criminal offence and we may prosecute.