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Council Tax 2020-21 explanatory notes

People with disabilities

If you, or someone who lives with you needs a room, an extra bathroom or kitchen, extra space for a wheelchair to be used indoors 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 of your property.

If your home is in band A, you may still be entitled to a reduction even though there is no lower band in the valuation list.

These reductions ensure disabled people do not pay more tax because of space needed due to a disability.


The full Council Tax is based on 2 adults living in a property. If only 1 adult lives in the property the Council Tax may be reduced by 25%. The following people do not count when deciding how many people live in your home:

  • Full time students, student nurses, apprentices and YT trainees (evidence of undertaking a full time course will be required)
  • Non-British spouses of students
  • People living permanently in Care Homes or Hospitals
  • People who are severely mentally impaired
  • People in hostels for the homeless or night shelters
  • 18 and 19 year olds who are at or have just left school or college, or in respect of whom child benefit is payable
  • Care workers working for low pay (usually charities)
  • People caring for someone with a disability who is not their spouse, partner or child under 18
  • Members (and dependants) of International headquarters and Defence organisations
  • Members (and Dependants) of visiting forces
  • People with diplomatic privilege or immunity
  • Members of religious communities
  • People in prison (unless this is for not paying Council Tax or a fine)

Discounts for annexes

  • Annexes occupied by non-dependant relatives are subject to a 50% discount
  • Annexes being used as part of the main residence are subject to a 50% discount

A discount is no longer given for a property that requires or is undergoing major repair work to render it habitable, or is undergoing structural alteration.

Care leavers

If you have left care, and Kent County Council has appointed you a personal adviser, please pass your bill to them to arrange payment.

Further information on their local offer is available at the Kent County Council's Care leavers local offer page.

Empty Properties

Unoccupied properties no longer receive a discount from the date furniture is removed.

The Government considered changes to the amount levied to tackle the 200,000 empty homes in England and introduced those changes in the Rating (Property In Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018.

On 27 February 2019 the council approved changes to the long term empty premium as follows:

  • From 1 April 2019 – properties that have been empty for more than 2 years will attract 100 per cent premium instead of 50 per cent.
  • From 1 April 2020 – properties that have been empty for more than 5 years will attract 200 per cent premium.
  • From 1 April 2021 – properties that have been empty for more than 10 years will attract 300 per cent premium.

Exempt properties

Occupied properties are exempt in the following cases:

  • Halls of residence for students, dwellings occupied by students, school or college leavers or certain spouses or dependants of students
  • Armed forces accommodation (UK forces)
  • Members (and dependants) of visiting forces
  • Dwellings occupied only by persons under 18
  • Dwellings occupied by the severely mentally impaired
  • Dwellings which are the main residence of a person with diplomatic privilege or immunity
  • Occupied annexes (dependant relative)

Unoccupied properties are exempt in the following cases:

  • Properties owned by charities and used for charitable purposes (maximum of 6 months) – an application form will need to be completed for each property
  • Caravan pitches and moorings for boats
  • The person who was liable for the Council Tax has died
  • Occupation is prohibited by law
  • The dwelling is held for a minister of religion
  • Left unoccupied by a student
  • In possession of the mortgagee
  • Left empty by a bankrupt
  • An unoccupied annexe to an occupied dwelling, where the annexe cannot be let separately without breach of planning
  • Left empty by a person living in a hospital, hostel or care home
  • Left empty by a person needing personal care
  • Left empty by a person providing personal care

The information above gives a brief description of discounts and exemptions available, for the full information please visit our reducing your bill page.

Changes in circumstances

Please contact Tunbridge Wells Borough Council immediately if your circumstances change.

Someone leaving or joining your household or reaching their 18th birthday may affect any discounts you receive.

You will need to advise the council of any discount you think you may be entitled to.

If you do not tell us about changes, you may have to pay a penalty of £70.

Council Tax Support

If you have applied for Council Tax Support because you are on a low income and the amount you have been awarded does not meet your full Council Tax liability, you may be entitled to further assistance under Section 13A of the Council Tax regulations if you are experiencing exceptional hardship. If you wish to apply for assistance, please download a form from our Council Tax support page.

Please also note that if you have applied for or are in receipt of Universal Credit and are liable for Council Tax you must make a separate application for Council Tax Support to the council as it is not included within your Universal Credit award.