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Reduce your Council Tax

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Reducing your Council Tax

In certain circumstances, you can receive a discount on your bill. For example if you live alone, or with people who don't have to pay, if you are disabled, or if your home is empty and falls under one of the qualifying criteria. 

 

 

Single Persons Discount

If you live on your own, or if all the other people in your household are under 18, you can get 25% off your Council Tax bill.  It's called a 'Single Persons Discount'.

Single person's discount only applies to your main home, where you live. You can't get it for a second home.

 

Some people aren't counted for Council Tax.

 

If you live with someone who isn't counted, it may mean that you can get a Single Person Discount on your bill.

These people aren't counted for Council Tax:

  • Non-British partners or other dependants of foreign students who are not allowed to work or claim benefits.
  • Those under 20 who are still at school or have just left school.
  • Someone for whom Child Benefit is still being paid.
  • Foreign Language Assistants.
  • Long-stay hospital patients are not counted for Council Tax where they normally live.
  • Members of international headquarters and defence organisations and their dependants.
  • Members of visiting forces and their dependants.
  • People with diplomatic immunity and privileges.

 

Click here to apply online for Single Occupier Discount

 

After you've applied for the discount

You must continue to pay the instalments shown on your Council Tax bill until you hear from us.

We periodically check accounts that have been granted discounts and exemptions.  If we contact you to review your discount and we don't hear back from you, we will cancel it.

Please note that if your circumstances change you must tell us within 21 days.  Failure to do so may result in you being issued with a £70 Penalty.

 

I am on a low income

Council Tax Support

Council Tax Support (also known as Council Tax Reduction) is a benefit to help people who are on a low income or claiming certain benefits to pay their Council Tax bill.

Each local council is responsible for operating their own Council Tax Support scheme so the amounts of support given across the country may vary.

The amount of Council Tax Support you will get depends on many factors, including:

  • which benefits you receive
  • your age
  • your income
  • your savings
  • who you live with
  • how much Council Tax you pay

You may get more Council Tax Support if you receive a disability or carers benefit.

If you receive the Guarantee Credit Part of Pension Credit you may even get your Council Tax paid in full. If you don't get Guarantee Credit but you have a low income and less than £16,000 in savings, you may still get some help.

Pensioners still need to pay Council Tax, but may get a discount if they live alone, or depending on their situation be entitled to Council Tax Support.

You can claim Council Tax Support regardless of whether you own your own home or rent, or whether you're working or unemployed.

 

Exceptional Hardship Policy/Fund

You will note below that part of the new scheme is a fund to assist tax payers who could find themselves in exceptional hardship without further assistance. The fund has limited capacity and is generally available to people who already receive council tax support - but need additional top up.

The principles behind the fund is to help people over a short term crisis when their income does not meet reasonable expenses. Please see the Exceptional Hardship Policy below for more information. If you would like to apply for such an award; please phone the council on 01237 428700 and speak to a benefit advisor who will talk this through with you.

 

Torridge District Council's Council Tax Support Scheme

 

Local Council Tax Support Scheme for Working Age People

The Council Tax Support Scheme for Torridge is based on the previous Council Tax Benefit Scheme with five changes and associated principles detailed below:

 

1. Everyone should pay something

All claimants will be required to pay a contribution to their council tax - This will be achieved by reducing everyone's Council Tax liability to 75% before any council tax support is awarded.

2. Those living in larger properties should not receive greater levels of support than those occupying smaller properties

Council Tax Support will be restricted to a Band D council tax liability (before the 75% liability restriction is applied). This would mean that households in higher banded properties would have their support reduced to the council tax liability level as if they occupied a band D property.

3. Those with relatively high savings or capital should pay toward their council tax

A  £6,000 savings or capital limit has been introduced for the new scheme compared to £16,000 currently set for council tax benefit.  This means that no Council Tax Support will be paid to households with more than £6,000 in savings

4. Withdrawal of Second Adult Rebate Allowance

Second Adult Rebate has been abolished in the new scheme .  This is where an allowance is provided when one member of a household is working and receiving low income while the liable person is not entitled to any rebate because their income is too high.

5. Provide additional support for exceptional cases through an Exceptional Hardship Fund

The Exceptional Hardship Fund is to help tax payers who could find themselves in exceptional hardship without further assistance. The fund has limited capacity and is generally available to people who already receive council tax support - but need additional top up.

The principles behind the fund is to help people over a short term crisis when their income does not meet reasonable expenses. Please see the Exceptional Hardship Policy below for more information. If you would like to apply for such an award; please phone the council on 01237 428700 and speak to a benefit advisor who will talk this through with you.

 

 

Definition of working and pensioner age group for CTS

The Section 13A Policy (Council Tax Support Scheme) description is as follows:

Working Age Policy applies to a person who:

  • Has not attained the qualifying age for state pension credit; or
  • Has attained the qualifying age for state pension credit if he, and his partner, is a person on income support, on an income based JSA, or on an income-related employment and support allowance. 
     

The Pension Age Policy applies to a person who:

  • Has attained the qualifying age for state pension credit; and
  • Is not, or if he has a partner, his partner is not a person on income support, on an income based JSA, or on an income-related employment and support allowance.
  • How do I claim?

  • Backdating your claim

    If there has been a reason which stopped or delayed you applying for housing benefit and/or council tax support you can ask for your claim to be 'backdated' so that it starts from an earlier date.

Overpayments

Overpayments

 

Related Downloads

 

          Exceptional Hardship Fund Policy 2021_22 [140kb] 

  •  

          Exceptional Hardship Form and Notes Nov 2019 [35kb] 

 

Disability Relief

Disabled Persons Reduction

If your property has been adapted to meet the needs of a disabled person we may be able to reduce your bill by putting your property into a lower council tax band. If your property is in the lowest band already we may still be able to reduce your bill.

The person responsible for paying the Council Tax bill usually applies for the reduction even if they are not the disabled person. For example, the disabled person may be a child.

In order to qualify, the person with a disability must live in your home.

There must be at least one of the following features in the property:

  • A room, other than a kitchen, bathroom, or toilet used by, and for meeting the needs of, the person with a disability- e.g. a room set aside for storage of dialysis equipment.
  • An additional bathroom or kitchen used predominantly by, and for meeting the needs of, the person with the disability
  • Additional space inside the home to allow for the use of a wheelchair.

If you get a Disabled Person's Reduction you can still apply for other discounts

You can also still apply for Council Tax Support if you have a low income.

Council Tax Disablement Banding (DBR)

 

After you've applied for the Disabled Person's Reduction

You must continue to pay the instalments shown on your Council Tax bill until you hear from us.

We periodically check accounts that have been granted discounts and exemptions.  If we contact you to review your discount and we don't hear back from you, we will cancel it.You must tell us if there is a change in your circumstances that may affect your discount. If you don't tell us you may have to pay a penalty.

You must tell us if there is a change in your circumstances that may affect your discount. If you don't tell us you may have to pay a penalty.

Carer Discount

Carers Discount

Discount for people who are receiving care in their own home

In some circumstances, we do not count a live-in carer when adding up the number of people in a property. If just you and your carer live in your home, you may be able to get a Carer's Discount to reduce your bill by 25%.

The live-in carer must provide care for at least 35 hours a week and they must not be:

  • the partner of the person who is being cared for; or
  • the child's parent if the person being cared for is under 18.

The person being cared for must also get one of these benefits:

  • The middle or highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment Daily Living Component at either standard or enhanced rate
  • Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • Increase in Constant Attendance Allowance under the Industrial Injuries or War Pensions scheme
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Highest rate of Constant Attendance Allowance payable on top of full rate Disablement Benefit paid for an industrial injury 

 

Apply for Carer's Discount

Print off the Icon for pdf Application form [88.85KB], fill it in and return it to us:

Email - scan it and send it to us at council.tax@torridge.gov.uk

Post it to - Torridge District Council, Riverbank House, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2QG

Can't print the form? Call us on 01237 428900 and we'll send you one.

 

After you've applied for the discount

You must continue to pay the instalments shown on your Council Tax bill until you hear from us.

We periodically check accounts that have been granted discounts and exemptions.  If we contact you to review your discount and we don't hear back from you, we will cancel it.

You must tell us if there is a change in your circumstances that may affect your discount. If you don't tell us you may have to pay a penalty.

Student Discounts

 

You could be exempt from paying council tax if:

  • you're a full time student living in a property on your own
  • you're a full time student living in a property solely with other full time students

You could be entitled to a 25% discount on your council tax if:

  • all residents are full time students except one other adult who is not a student.
  • if two or more non-students occupy a property then there is no reduction.

In most cases, it's the people who are non-students that are liable to pay the council tax.

If any of the following circumstances apply to you, a member of your household or your property then you may able to claim a discount or exemption.

Full time students attending college or university

To qualify you must be undertaking a full-time or qualifying course at a Prescribed Educational Establishment. A full-time course is one:

  • which lasts for at least one academic year at the educational establishment concerned
  • where attendance is required for periods of at least 24 weeks in the academic year; and
  • which involves at least 21 hours a week during term time for periods of study, tuition, work experience or a combination of these.

A qualifying course is one:

  • where the person undertaking it is under 20 years of age
  • the course lasts for more than 3 months; is more than 12 hours per week; is not a course of higher education or a correspondence course and is not undertaken as a consequence of employment (I.e. day release)
  • attendance must be between 8.00am and 5.30pm

For all other educational establishments we will need to see your student certificate when you apply for a discount or an exemption.

Student nurses

Nursing and midwifery students, including those on pre-registration undergraduate courses and post-registration health visitor training, count as students. For discount purposes a student nurse means a person undertaking a course which if successfully completed, would lead to registration under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1997.  Student nurses taking traditional hospital based training do not count as students.

PHD Students

PHD students are exempt from Council Tax; but not for an open ended period, if they meet the criteria of a full-time student.

Foreign language assistants

To qualify you must be registered with the Central Bureau for educational visits and exchanges; and appointed in a school or other educational institution in the UK.

We will need to see the appropriate student certificate or Central Bureau registration certificate when you apply for a discount or exemption.

School and college leavers under the age of 20

An 18 or 19 year old that has left school or college after 30 April will not be included until 1 November of the same year.

To qualify, the education course must not have been any higher than A level or equivalent. If they go on to further or higher education they may continue to be eligible for a discount.

Student halls of residence

Halls of residence are exempt if they are occupied by students and owned and managed by an educational establishment.

A property left unoccupied by a student owner

Properties left unoccupied by a student owner may be exempt from paying council tax.

Please note: the following are not classed as students and are therefore liable for council tax:

  • people studying at evening classes or
  • courses taken in connection with a person's job, such as day release.

 

Apply for a Student Discount 

Print off the  Icon for pdf Application form [40.27KB], fill it in and return it to us:

Email it to us at council.tax@torridge.gov.uk

Post it to - Torridge District Council, Riverbank House, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2QG

Can't print the form? Call us on 01237 428900 and we'll send you one.

 

After you have applied for the discount:

You must continue to pay the instalments shown on your Council Tax bill until you hear from us.

We periodically check accounts that have been granted discounts and exemptions.  If we contact you to review your discount and we don't hear back from you, we will cancel it.

You must tell us if there is a change in your circumstances that may affect your discount. If you don't tell us you may have to pay a penalty.

 

Empty and Exempt Properties

Exemptions, Discounts and Premiums for empty and occupied properties

Apply for an empty property discount 

 

Discount (Class C) for a property that is unoccupied and unfurnished

Empty unfurnished properties and empty caravans are entitled to a 100% discount for up to one month. This also applies to newly built properties for up to one month after they are completed as long as no-one lives there and they remain unfurnished.

 

Discount Application for Empty and Unfurnished Property

 

Long Term Empty Premium

If a property has remained empty and unfurnished for a period in excess of 2 years the following premium charges will become applicable:

 

  • From 1st April 2019 - Properties empty for 2 year or more       - 100% premium

  • From 1st April 2020 - Properties empty for 2 years  to 5 years - 100% premium

                                        Properties empty for 5 years or more      -  200% premium

  • From 1st April 2021 - Properties empty for 2 years to 5 years -  100% premium

                                         Properties empty for 5 years to 10 years -  200% premium

                                         Properties empty for 10 years or more    -  300% premium

 

Please note that if your circumstances change you must tell us within 21 days.  Failure to do so may result in you being issued with a £70 Penalty.

 

Exemptions from Council Tax - no charge to pay

Exemptions from Council Tax apply in the following circumstances:-

Icon for pdf Unoccupied and owned by a charity [44.13KB]

Icon for pdf Empty due to person being in prison [83.44KB]

Icon for pdf Empty due to person having gone to live in a care home [43.96KB]

Icon for pdf Empty due to person having gone to live in a hospital [84.75KB]

Icon for pdf Council tax payer has died leaving the property empty [83.76KB]

Icon for pdf Occupation is prohibited by law [44.74KB]

Icon for pdf Empty property held for a minister of religion [38.58KB]

Icon for pdf Person living elsewhere to receive personal care [88.85KB]

Icon for pdf Person living elsewhere to provide personal care [37.72KB]

Icon for pdf Property left empty by a student [42.03KB]

Icon for pdf Mortgage lender in possession of property [84.19KB]

Icon for pdf Students halls of residence [44.38KB]

Icon for pdf Property occupied only by students [40.27KB]

Icon for pdf Forces accommodation [38.31KB]

Icon for pdf Visiting forces accommodation [38.78KB]

Icon for pdf Property left empty by a bankrupt person [83.86KB]

Icon for pdf Unoccupied caravan pitch or boat mooring [38.58KB]

Icon for pdf Property occupied only by persons under 18 years of age [36.97KB]

Icon for pdf Property occupied only by severely mentally impaired person(s) [182.13KB]

Icon for pdf Main residence of a person with diplomatic privilege or immunity [39.23KB]

Icon for pdf Occupied granny annexe to an occupied property [42.79KB]

 

 

Annexe Discount

Under The Council Tax (Reductions for Annexes) (England) Regulations 2013 SI 2977, a dwelling which forms part of a single property which has been separately assessed for Council Tax purposes and is the sole or main residence of a relative, or used as overflow accommodation of the main dwelling, may qualify for a 50% discount in Council Tax from 1st April 2014 subject to the following conditions:

That the dwelling:
1. Forms part of a single property which includes at least one other dwelling; and
2. Is being used by a resident of that other dwelling or, as the case may be, one of those other dwellings, as part of their sole or main residence, or
3. Is the sole or main residence of a relative of the person who is liable to pay council tax in respect of that other dwelling or, as the case may be, one of those other dwellings

Apply for Annexe Discount

Print off the Icon for pdf Annexe Discount Application Form [85.02KB], fill it in and return it to us:

Email - scan it and send it to us at council.tax@torridge.gov.uk

Post it to - Torridge District Council, Riverbank House, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2QG

Can't print the form? Call us on 01237 428900 and we'll send you one.

 

After you've applied for the discount

You must continue to pay the instalments shown on your Council Tax bill until you hear from us.

 

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