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Council Tax discounts

The following information is intended as a guidance only and is not a full statement in law.

There are various discounts that you may be entitled to claim to reduce your Council Tax bill.

If you do claim a discount and your circumstances change, you must tell us within 21 days of the change or you could face a financial penalty. 

Single person discount

The full Council Tax bill assumes that there are two adults who are 18 or over living in the property. If only one adult lives there as their main home, the bill may be reduced by 25%. 

Apply for a single person discount

Please quote your Council Tax account number, the date you became the only adult, who has left the household and their forwarding address. 

Second homes and empty, unoccupied but furnished properties

From 1 April 2013 there is no discount available for these properties. 

Uninhabitable and vacant properties

Two classes of 'local' discount have been available since 1 April 2013. We have set this discount at 100%.

  • uninhabitable property that requires, or is undergoing, major works to render it habitable, or is undergoing structural alteration. This discount will apply for a maximum period of 12 months (as long as the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished)
  • dwellings which are vacant (unoccupied and unfurnished) for a period of up to 6 months since the date the property became vacant. If the property has been unoccupied and unfurnished before you bought or rented it, you may not be entitled to this discount.  This is because the discount is based on the length of time that the property has been empty and unfurnished, regardless of who the liable person is. 

Apply for an uninhabitable or vacant property discount

Please quote your reference number and confirming the date the furniture was removed, and details of the work being carried out. We may need to issue a more detailed application form and conduct a visit. 

Disabled relief

Your bill may be reduced if a permanently disabled person (whether an adult or child) lives in the dwelling. Your dwelling must have certain features which are essential or of major importance to the well being of the disabled person.

These features are:

  • a room other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet which is used mainly by the disabled person
  • an additional bathroom or kitchen for the use of the disabled person
  • extra space inside the dwelling for the use of a wheelchair

When considering whether a reduction should apply, the council have to decide whether the person with the disability would find it impossible or extremely difficult to live in the dwelling, or whether their health would suffer, or the disability become more severe, if the extra feature were not available in the dwelling.

To qualify for a reduction, the extra room need not be specially built, but can be an existing room used specifically for the person with the disability.

If your home is eligible, your bill will be reduced to that of a property in the valuation band immediately below the band shown on the valuation list. For example, if your home is in band D, your bill will be reduced to that for a band C dwelling.

If your home is in band A (the lowest Council Tax band) a reduction of 1/9 of the band D Council Tax would apply.

Apply for disabled relief

Please quote your reference number and confirm how you meet the criteria.  We will then issue you an application form. 

Severely mentally impaired

People with severe mental impairment are not counted when looking at the number of adult residents in a dwelling if they meet certain conditions, including being in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:

  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • highest or middle rate care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • an increase in Disablement Pension
  • Unemployability Supplement
  • Constant Attendance Allowance payable under the industrial injuries or war pension schemes
  • Unemployability Allowance payable under the industrial injuries or war pension schemes
  • Income Support, which includes a disability premium because of incapacity for work
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - standard and enhanced rate of the daily living component
  • Universal Credit which includes an amount in respect of the fact that the person has limited capability for work or work related activity

Apply for a severe mental impairment discount

Please quote your reference number and confirm how you meet the criteria. We will then issue you an application form. 

Care workers

  • care workers working for low pay (not more than £44 per week), usually for charities and providing care for at least 24 hours a week
  • people caring for someone in their home with a disability who is not their spouse, partner or child under 18.  They must provide care for at least 35 hours a week and the person they are caring for must be in receipt of one of the following benefits:
    • attendance allowance
    • highest or middle rate care component of disability living allowance
    • an increase in constant attendance allowance under the industrial injuries or war pension scheme
    • highest rate of constant attendance allowance payable on top of full rate disablement benefit paid for an industrial injury
    • the standard and enhanced rate of the daily living component of PIP

Annexes

From 1 April 2014 a discount of 50% has been introduced for annexes which are:

  • occupied by a relative of the person liable to pay the council tax of the main dwelling; or
  • unoccupied as the person living in the main dwelling

Job-related accommodation

A 50% discount is available to individuals who live in 'job-related dwellings' but who are liable for council tax on another property as their main residence.

Other discounts

Certain people are not counted when looking at the number of adult residents in a dwelling if they meet certain conditions:

  • school or college leavers who are under the age of 20 and left school or college on or after 1 May
  • apprentices employed for the purposes of learning a trade, business, profession, office, employment or vocation, undertaking a programme of training leading to an accredited qualification.  The salary must be no more than £195 per week before any deductions for income tax and national insurance.
  • people who are a patient in hospital, which is their only or main home
  • people living in care homes (receiving care) as their only or main home
  • full-time student and student nurses.  A full time course requires attendance for at least 24 weeks with at least 21 hours of study per week at a prescribed educational establishment
  • students under 20 on a qualifying course at or below the following standards.  The course must last for more than three calendar months with more than 12 hours of study per week.  Tuition is usually carried out between 8am and 5.30pm.
    • A level
    • higher Scottish certificate of education
    • national certificate of the Scottish vocational educational council
    • Scottish vocational qualification level 3
  • people staying in certain hostels or night shelters
  • members of visiting forces and certain international institutions
  • members of religious communities, for example monks and nuns
  • people in prison, except those in prison for non payment of Council Tax or fines

What to do if you think you may qualify a discount

Please contact the Local Taxation Team

Please quote your Council Tax reference number and confirm which discount you would like to apply for.  We may need to issue a detailed application form and conduct a visit. 

If you have a discount and the circumstances change

You must notify us within 21 days if your bill says you are given a discount and you think:

  • it should not have been given
  • it should have been less
  • there has been a change in circumstances that means the discount is wrong

Failure to do so could result in a penalty being imposed.

Inform us of a change in circumstance

You think our decision is wrong

If you have applied for an exemption, and you have been advised that you are not entitled. If you think this is incorrect, you must first notify us.

Please quote your Council Tax reference number and explain the reasons why you are unhappy with our decision.

Notify us if you think our decision is incorrect

If you are still unhappy with our decision you can then appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Service.

You should continue to pay your Council Tax bill while your appeal is outstanding.  Any overpayment will be refunded in full if your appeal is successful.

Council Tax Premium

The policy guidelines for exception to the Council Tax Premium were agreed by the full Council 26 March 2013. A copy of the report and the application form can be downloaded below. The application form should be printed, completed and returned with supporting documentary evidence to the Local Taxation Team, South Lakeland House, Lowther Street, Kendal, LA9 4DQ.

Council Tax Premium policy guidelines for determining local exceptions (PDF/146KB/4 pages)

Apply for an exemption to the Council Tax Premium (PDF/31KB/2 pages)

Council Tax Reduction scheme

For more information on the Council Tax Reduction scheme, previously known as Council Tax Benefit, please refer to Council Tax Reduction scheme.