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There are certain circumstances in which people can be exempt or discounted from paying the council tax. These circumstances can be of two types:- property-related and personal circumstances.
Who is exempt from council tax?
1. Property-Related Circumstances
These are situations where if you own any of the below properties or you own a property for any of these purposes, you would be exempted from paying the council tax.
- Property repossessed by the mortgage lender
- It is owned by a charity and has been empty for less than six months
- Occupation of the property is legally prohibited
- In the hands of an executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased person (either probate has yet to be granted or it is less than six months since probate was granted)
- It is an empty caravan pitch or a houseboat mooring
- Property is waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion such as a priest
- Owned by the secretary of state for defense for the accommodation of armed forces
- Annex that cannot be let separately from the main property due to planning restrictions
- Unit of a larger property occupied by a relative of the person living in the other part of the property
2. Personal Circumstances
Personal circumstances refer to situations where the government believes that an individual cannot pay for a council tax. When a property is owned by an individual or a group of individuals who fall under these categories, they are exempted from the council tax.
Still, if other people also live on the same property, the council would disregard these individuals from the tax bill. This means that properties with disregarded individuals will still attract a council tax bill. Instead, they will be discounted. The categories are as follows:-
- If you are under 18 years old
- Mentally challenged or disabled person
- If you are in prison or detention
- If you’re a college or high school leaver
- A hostel resident
- If you are a member or dependant of visiting forces
- Long-term hospital patient
- An individual with diplomatic privilege or immunity
- If you are receiving or giving care somewhere else
- A resident of a registered care home
- A full-time student
- If you are a non-British spouse to a full-time student on a visa with work and benefits restrictions
- A school or a college leaver
- If you receive child benefits at the age of 18 or 19
- Representatives of the faithful such as priests or monasteries
- Members of an international headquarters or a defense organization
- If you are an apprentice or a youth training trainee
3. Council Tax Discounts
If you feel you are not eligible for a council tax exemption, then you should check for a possible discount that you can avail of.
- Single Person Discount:- If you live alone in a house and are over eighteen years of age, you can avail of a 25% discount on your council tax.
- Disabled Band Reduction:- If you live with a disabled person, you could be eligible for a discount of a band on your council tax. Specific criteria to be met are that either the disabled person uses a wheelchair or a whole room is required for taking care of the disabled person.
- Refurbishing of Property:- If you are making improvements on your property or building something on your land, then your council will provide you with a date after which you will have to start paying the council tax. Until then, it will be discounted.
- Derelict Property:- your property will come under the derelict category in two situations. If it’s unfit to live in due to damages like rot, vandalism, or weather, the property needs major structural repairs.
- Empty Property:- an empty property is subject to a council tax, but you could talk to your council and ask them to grant you a discount on that empty property.
- Full-Time Student Discount:- If everyone in the property is a full-time student, then you will not have to pay the council tax, but if you are a full-time student who lives with a person who is not, then you will get a council tax bill, but most likely that person would subject you to a discount. An individual would be considered a full-time student if their course is at least a year-long and requires a minimum of 21 hours of study. Another criteria for being a full-time student is being less than 20 years old and studying for qualification of up to A level. In this case, your course must last at least three months and involve a minimum of 12 hours of study per week.
- Spouses of full-time students:- If a full-time student has a non-British spouse or partner living with them, then there is a possibility they will be exempted from paying the council tax or at least be able to avail a discount.
- Apprentice or youth training trainee scheme:- to qualify as an individual under this scheme, you would need a declaration from your employer stating that you are not being paid more than £195 and your training leads to a qualification that is recognized by an accredited organization such as ‘Ofqual’ or ‘SVEC’.
Now that we know whether you would be exempt from the council tax, let’s look at how you can apply for an exemption.
To apply for an exemption, you have to fill out an online form from the website named gov.uk.
Council Tax Payment
A council tax is generally paid by a household on a monthly basis for ten months within a year starting from April. You would receive a council tax bill that will inform you about the total amount of tax for the year, the amount payable on a monthly basis, your tax calculations, and the dates on which you are supposed to pay your tax. If you are having trouble paying your council tax, you can request your council, and they will spread your bill over 12 months instead of 10, making it easier and manageable.