Council tax discounts, reductions and exemptions
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There are a number of situations in which people can qualify for council tax discounts, reductions or exemptions based upon the status of the property and/or its residents. You can apply for some council tax discounts using council tax online.
Council Tax is based upon two adults living in a property. Some residents can be disregarded, reducing the number of residents for tax purposes.
For example, if there are 2 adults living in a property, but 1 of them is a full-time student, the number of residents for council tax purposes is 1, and the non-student would qualify for a discount of 25%.
The following types of resident are not counted for tax purposes:
- full time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth training trainees, non-British spouses of students
- patients resident in a hospital
- people being looked after in care homes
- people who are severely mentally impaired
- people who are staying in certain hostels and night shelters
- 18 and 19 year-olds who are at, or have just left, school
- care workers working for low pay, usually for charities
- people who are 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 (for example, monks and nuns)
- people who are in prison (except those in prison for non-payment of council tax or a fine)
If only 1 adult lives in a property as their sole or main residence, the council tax bill is reduced by 25%.
There is a 100% discount for people who leave care in Walsall, if:
- Walsall Council was the corporate parent
- the care leaver is liable for council tax and resident in the Walsall area
- the care leaver is under the age of 25
If a dwelling meets any of the following criteria, it does not incur council tax:
- students’ halls of residence
- only occupied by students
- UK armed forces accommodation
- visiting forces accommodation
- occupied only by people under 18
- occupied only by a person or persons who is/are severely mentally impaired and who would otherwise have to pay council tax
- occupied by a diplomat
- an annexe to another occupied dwelling which is occupied by an elderly or disabled relative
There is no council tax reduction for empty or vacant properties.
If a property is unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years (and is not exempt) then it will be subject to double the normal rate of council tax.
From 1 April 2020 if a property has been empty for more than 5 years, then it will be subject to three times the normal rate of council tax.
From April 2021 if a property has been empty for more than 10 years, then it will be subject to four times the normal rate of council tax.
Vacant dwellings do not incur council tax if they:
- are owned by a charity (exempt for up to 6 months)
- are left empty by someone who has gone into prison (except those in prison for non-payment of council tax or a fine)
- are left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital/home or elsewhere
- are waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted (and up to 6 months after)
- are empty because their occupation is prohibited by law
- are waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion
- are left empty by someone living elsewhere because they are providing personal care to another person
- are left empty by students
- have been repossessed
- are the responsibility of a bankrupt’s trustee
- are caravan pitches or boat moorings
- are dwellings in the form of an annexe to another occupied dwelling