Council Tax explanatory notes

Last Updated: 14 September 2023

This explanatory note forms part of your Council Tax bill. It covers:

Council Tax valuation bands

Valuation bands
Valuation band Open market capital value at 01 April 1991
A Up to £40,000
B £40,001 to £52,000
C £52,001 to £68,000
D £68,001 to £88,000
E £88,001 to £120,000
F £120,001 to £160,000
G £160,001 to £320,000
H More than £320,000

Council Tax bands and valuation charges

Council Tax exempt dwellings

Some dwellings are exempt from Council Tax.

Properties occupied only by:

  • students, severely mentally impaired people, under 18 year olds or by diplomats

Vacant properties which:

  • are owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months)
  • are left empty by someone who has gone into prison, or has moved to receive personal care elsewhere
  • are left empty by someone who has moved in order to providepersonal care to another person
  • was the sole or main residence of the liable person who is a student who left to study elsewhere
  • are waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted (and for up to six months after)
  • have been repossessed
  • are the responsibility of a bankrupt’s trustee
  • are empty because their occupation is forbidden by law
  • are waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion
  • are annexes of a main property which cannot be let separately for planning reasons
  • are annexes of a main property and are occupied by an elderly or disabled relative (see right for further discounts for annexes)

Council Tax reduction for people with disabilities:

  • if you, or someone who lives with you, need a room or extra space in your property to meet special needs arising from a disability you may be entitled to a reduced council tax bill
  • the bill may be reduced to that of a property in the band immediately below the band shown on the valuation list to ensure that people with disabilities do not pay more tax on account of space needed because of a disability
  • properties in Band A can be considered for a reduction in Council Tax equivalent to 1/9 of the Band D council tax

Council Tax exemptions

Council Tax discounts

Discounts are awarded in various circumstances and the available percentages and discount reasons are shown below. It is important to note that the full Council Tax bill assumes that there are two adults living in a property.

100% reduction:

  • properties which are vacant (unoccupied and unfurnished) for up to three months since the property became vacant. After three months the full amount of Council Tax becomes payable
  • care leavers under the age of 25 living as a sole occupier

50% reduction:

  • there is more than one resident but no one is counted for discount purposes
  • there is one resident who is not counted for discount purposes
  • the property is furnished but cannot be occupied for at least 28 days in the year due to a planning condition.
  • the property is furnished but the occupier is required to live elsewhere in tied accommodation.
  • the Council Tax bill is for a boat mooring or a caravan pitch.
  • the property is an unoccupied beach hut or beach chalet in Band A and in the vicinity of a beach
  • an Annexe used by the residents of the main property or occupied by a family member. This does not affect annexes which are already exempt because they are occupied by an elderly or disabled relative

Up to 50% reduction:

  • care leavers under the age of 25 living with others and jointly liable up to 50% depending on the number of liable people in the property

25% reduction:

  • there is only one resident in the property
  • there is more than one resident but only one is counted for discount purposes

Disregarded Residents:

  • resident people in the following groups do not count towards the number of adults resident in a dwelling
  • full-time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth patients resident in hospital
  • people who are severely mentally impaired
  • people staying in certain hostels or night shelters
  • 18 to 19 year olds who are at or have just left school
  • care workers working for low pay, usually for charities
  • people caring for someone with a disability who is not a spouse, partner, or child under 18
  • members of visiting forces and certain international institutions
  • members of religious communities (monks and nuns)
  • people in prison (except those in prison for non-payment of council tax or a fine) Valuation Band Open market capital value at 1 April 1991

Council Tax discounts

Discounts incorrectly applied

You are required to notify us within 21 days on receipt of the Council Tax bill where a discount has been given on the front of your bill and you have reason to believe that:

  • the discount should not have been given
  • the discount should have been given but at a lower amount
  • there has been a change in circumstances since the bill has been issued that means the discount is now incorrect
  • If your bill indicates that a discount has been allowed, you must tell the council of any change of circumstances which affects your entitlement. If you fail to do so a penalty may be imposed as is specified in Paragraph 1 (2) of Schedule 3 to the Local Government Finance Act 1992
  • If you think you may be entitled to a discount not shown on your bill please contact South Lakeland District Council

Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Our Reduction Scheme is designed to replicate the previous Council Tax Benefit Scheme by providing reductions to those on low incomes.

If you are receiving Universal Credit you are required to make a separate application for Council Tax Reduction

  • if you feel you may be entitled to a reduction in your bill check our Council Tax Reduction scheme
  • if you are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction you must advise the council of any change in your circumstances such as:
  • an increase or decrease in wages or private pension
  • if you start or stop receiving any state benefit including Universal Credit
  • any changes in your capital or savings
  • if you move house
  • if someone moves in with you or if someone leaves
  • if you have a child
  • it is important that you advise us of any changes as any overpayment of Council Tax Reduction will be recovered and you may beprosecuted if you have claimed a reduction fraudulently
  • if you disagree with the amount of Council Tax Reduction you have been awarded you may appeal and full details will be given onyour letter of notification

Alternative Council Tax Reduction Scheme

The Alternative Council Tax Reduction Scheme is sometimes called Second Adult Rebate.

You can claim an Alternative Council Tax Reduction if there are other people living in your home who are on a low income. You cannot claim this if you are married or have a partner who lives with you.

Council Tax premium for empty properties

  • long term empty properties which have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least two years will pay a 100% CouncilTax Premium, making a total charge of 200% on the set Council Tax
  • statutory exceptions will apply to certain properties occupied in connection with Armed Forces accommodation or properties which are annexes to other properties
  • local exceptions may also apply if the property is genuinely on the market for sale or to let or occupation is hindered due to legal reasons. We will give advice and assistance on bringing long term empty properties back into occupation

Council Tax appeals

The grounds for appeal about Council Tax valuation banding are restricted to the following cases:

  • where you believe that the banding should be changed because there has been a material increase or material reduction (see below) in the dwelling’s value
  • where you start or stop using part of your dwelling to carry out a business or the balance between domestic and business use changes
  • where the Listing Officer has altered the Council Tax Valuation List without a proposal having been made by the taxpayer
  • where you become the taxpayer in respect of a dwelling for the first time. Your appeal must be made within six months, but if the same appeal has already been considered and determined by a Valuation Tribunal, it cannot be made again
  • a material increase in value may result from building, engineering, or other work carried out on the dwelling. In these cases revaluation does not take place until after a sale, so the person appealing would usually be the new owner or resident
  • a material reduction in value may result from the demolition of any part of the dwelling, any change in the physical state of the local area or an adaptation to make the dwelling suitable for use by someone with a physical disability. In these cases revaluation should take place as soon as possible

Details of the valuation appeals:

You may also appeal if you consider that you are not liable to pay Council Tax, for example, because you are not the resident or owner, or because your property is exempt or we have made a mistake in calculating your bill.

If you wish to appeal on these grounds you must first notify us in writing so that there is an opportunity to reconsider the case. If your appeal is successful you will be entitled to a refund of any overpayment.

Making an appeal does not allow you to withhold payment of tax owing in the meantime.

Council Tax appeals