Council Tax Reductions, Exemptions and Discounts

There are a number of Reductions, Exemptions and Discounts available.

Reductions

Reductions For The Disabled

A disabled person is defined as a person who is substantially and permanently disabled whether by illness, injury, congenital deformity or otherwise. They must live in the property but do not have to be over the age of 18. In order to qualify there must be:

  • a room, other than a bathroom or kitchen, which is used by and required for meeting the needs of a disabled person.
  • or an additional bathroom or kitchen which is used by and required for meeting the needs of a disabled person.
  • or sufficient floor space to permit the use of a wheelchair within the property which is required for meeting the needs of a disabled person.

If you qualify for help under this scheme your tax bill will be reduced by one property band. For example, if your property is in Band D your tax bill will be based on Band C. If the property is in Band A, you will be given a reduction of 4/9th of the Band D charge. If your property has already been placed in a lower band, this will be indicated on your bill.  Please complete our Disablement Reduction form and return it to us.

For further information please contact us.

Exemptions

Some properties; both occupied and unoccupied are exempt from Council Tax.  We must take steps to ensure exemptions remain up to date and relevant.

For the full list of the current exemption categories please use this link.  Council Tax Exemption codes and Classes

Property Discounts

Long term empty properties and second homes are no longer entitled to a discount of 10% so Council Tax  will be charged at 100%.

Empty Properties

Empty properties, for Council Tax purposes, are properties that are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished.  These properties will have a 100% discount from Council Tax for the first 3 months that they are empty and unoccupied (or for the first 12 months where they require major repairs/structural alteration).  After this time a 100% Council Tax charge becomes payable.

In addition the Council has been decided to introduce an Empty Homes Premium, which will mean a Council Tax charge of 150% of the annual charge where the property is empty for more than two years. It is important to note that the two year period starts when the property first becomes unoccupied and unfurnished, and does not restart with a new owner. This could mean that when a person purchases a property that has already been empty for more than two years the owner will be charged 150% straight away.

The aim of this is to try and reduce the number of long-term empty properties in our area so we can get as many as possible back into use for local people.

Certain exceptions do apply to the 50% premium being added. The circumstances when this will not be added are:

 1.  A dwelling which is the sole or main residence of a member of the armed forces, who is absent from the property as a result of such service

2.   An annexe deemed unoccupied because it is being treated by the occupier of the main dwelling, as part of that main dwelling

Second Homes

Second homes, for council Tax purposes, are properties, which are furnished, but are no-one's sole or main residence.  A 100% Council Tax charge is payable for these properties.  Properties that are caravans, boats or some job related properties may only be charged 50%.

 

Single Person Discount

Single person discount is calculated at 25% of your Council Tax charge, and is granted before any entitlement to Council Tax Benefit is assessed. If you are the only person aged over 18 who lives in your property you maybe entitled to receive a discount.  All you need to do is notify the Revenues Team.  Contact us. Please note that if you have a spouse or a partner living elsewhere, you must provide details of this.

 

Other Discounts

Certain people are ignored or 'discounted' when deciding how many people are solely or mainly resident in a property:

 

  • Severely mentally Impaired (SMI)
  • Student or student nurse
  • School and college leavers
  • Apprentices
  • Youth Trainees
  • People in prison and other forms of detention
  • Carers
  • Hospital patients
  • People in care homes and hostels
  • Members of international head quarters and defence organisations
  • Members of visiting forces
  • Members of religious communities
  • Residents in hostel and night shelters for homeless people

Where there is any change in circumstances affecting your entitlement to a reduction, exemption or discount you have a legal duty to tell us within 21 days of the change.

For further information regarding these discounts please Contact us.

 Council Tax Reduction from information.

Am I entitled to any discounts?

There are a number of reductions and exemptions available to those that qualify. 

To qualify for a Council Tax carers discount, the list of qualifying benefits was extended by the government to cover additional state benefits. Please download the form and explanatory notes online.

There is a Annexe Discount available,  to apply for this discount please download the form online.

Council Tax Reforms

The Government announced changes to Council Tax discounts and exemptions that can be applied to certain empty properties. These changes include the abolition of two exemptions and the granting of powers to give Council's greater flexibility to remove discounts for empty properties. There is also a new power to charge an additional amount of Council Tax on properties that have been continuously empty (unoccupied and substantially unfurnished) for more than two years. These changes started from the 1st April 2013.

The Government has:

Abolished the current exemption class C which is currently granted when someone moves out of their property and leaves it unoccupied and unfurnished. Councils can choose whether to introduce a new discount for these circumstances. They can also choose how much the discount is (between 0% and 100%) and the length of time it applies for (up to 6 months).

Abolished the current exemption class A which is currently granted where the property is unoccupied and unfurnished, and undergoing or requires major repair work / structural alterations to make it habitable. Councils can choose whether to introduce a new discount for these circumstances. They can also choose how much the discount is (between 0% and 100%) but Government has set the period at up to 12 months.

Introduced new powers that allow councils to introduce an 'empty homes premium' for properties that have been empty for two years or more. This can be up to 150% of the annual Council tax for the property.

Introduced new powers to allow Council's to end the Council Tax discount for properties that are furnished but nobody's main home (often known as second homes.)

What this Council has decided:

South Somerset District Council Members agreed the following changes at Full Council on 13 December 2012:

To introduce an empty property discount for a period of up to 3 months where someone moves out and leaves the property unoccupied and unfurnished property.  

To introduce an empty property discount of 100% for up to 12 months where the property is unoccupied and unfurnished, and undergoing or requires major repair work / structural alterations to make it habitable.

To charge 100% Council Tax where property is unoccupied and unfurnished for more than three months.

To introduce an Empty Homes Premium, which will mean a Council Tax charge of 150% of the annual charge where the property is empty for more than two years. It is important to note that the two year period starts when the property first becomes unoccupied and unfurnished, and does not restart with a new owner. This could mean that when a person purchases a property that has already been empty for more than two years the owner will be charged 150% straight away.

Certain exceptions do apply to the 50% premium being added. The circumstances when this will not be added are:

  1. A dwelling which is the sole or main residence of a member of the armed forces, who is absent from the property as a result of such service 
  2. An annex deemed unoccupied because it is being treated by the occupier of the main dwelling, as part of that main dwelling

Properties that are furnished and nobody's main home will no longer receive a 10% discount and be charged at 100%.