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Reducing your bill


Depending on your circumstances we may be able to reduce the amount of Council Tax you pay.

Contents

Annexes

From 1 April 2014 annexes which are used by the occupier of the main house as part of the main home, or annexes which are occupied by a relative of the person living in the main house may be entitled to a 50% reduction in the Council Tax payable on the annexe.

The criteria for the annexe discount is:

  • the annexe must form part of a single property which includes at least one other property, that is, the annexe must be within the grounds of the main house (not necessarily attached) and must be included in the title deeds of the main house and not registered separately
  • and, either:
    • the annexe is being used by the resident of the main house, as part of their main home, or,
    • the annexe is lived in by a relative of the person who lives in the main house

To apply for the annexe discount, please contact us.

Unoccupied annexes

An annexe can also be exempt from Council Tax if it is unoccupied but can't be sold or let separately from the main dwelling without breaching planning control.

This exemption can be applied whether or not the annexe is furnished.

You will need to provide evidence of the planning restriction before the exemption can be considered.

To apply for an annexe exemption, please contact us.

Apprentices

To be disregarded for Council Tax purposes you must be:

  • employed for the purpose of learning a trade, business, profession, office, employment or vocation
  • undertaking a programme of training leading to an accredited qualification
  • being paid a salary
  • receiving no more than £195.00 per week
  • aged under 25

If you live with someone else over the age of 18 who is not also disregarded you will receive a 25% discount on your Council Tax bill.

If there is more than one person aged over 18 in the property, who are not disregarded there is no reduction.

To apply, please complete our Status Discount for an Apprentice form.

Carers

You may be disregarded if you fall into one of the following categories.

Home carers

  • you look after someone who is receiving higher rate Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (higher or middle rate care) or Personal Independence Payment (higher rate care), and
  • you live with the person you are caring for, and
  • that person isn’t your partner or child under 18, and
  • you care for them for at least 35 hours per week on average

Care workers

  • you provide care on behalf of a relevant body (for example, local authority or a charity), and
  • live with the person you care for to be able to perform your duties, and
  • care for them at least 24 hours per week and are paid £44 or less per week for doing it

More than one person living in the property can be considered as a carer if they qualify.

To apply, please complete our Carers Disregard Application Form.

If you have moved into somebody's home to care for them, you may be disregarded at your main address contact us for further information.

Children over the age of 18

Generally once a child reaches the age of 18, they will be taken into account for Council Tax.

However, we may be able to continue to disregard them in certain circumstances.

If they are at school or college

18 and 19 year olds who are at, or have just left school or college can be disregarded for Council Tax. To qualify they will need to have been in full time education on 30 April.

If you are still receiving child benefit

A child over the age of 18 can be disregarded if you are still receiving child benefit for them.

If you are the only person over the age of 18 who is not disregarded you will receive a 25% single person discount on your Council Tax bill.

If there is more than one person aged over 18 in the property who are not disregarded, there is no reduction.

To apply, please contact us. You will need to provide proof of the child benefit.

Students

If you are a full-time student and you live on your own you are exempt from paying Council Tax.

If you live with someone else over the age of an 18 who is not a student you will receive a 25% discount on your Council Tax bill.

If there are two or more people over the age of 18 living in the property who are not in full time education then there will be no reduction.

To apply, please complete our Student Disregard Application Form, and send us your student certificate.

Please note, this exemption is also extended to student nurses. To apply, please contact us.

Disabled person's relief

If your home has been adapted to meet the needs of a disabled person then you may be able to get a reduction in your Council Tax.

You may get a reduction if your home has one or more of these facilities:

  • a room, other than a bathroom, a kitchen or toilet, which is mainly used by and required for meeting the needs of the disabled person
  • a second bathroom or kitchen required for meeting the needs of the disabled person
  • sufficient floor space to permit the use of a wheelchair which is used indoors

The discounted reduction you get will be equal to one band lower than the actual band of your home. The reduction, if applicable, will be applied from the date of your application.

For example, if your property is in Band D, you will pay Band C.

To apply, please email counciltax@tunbridgewells.gov.uk (quoting your Council Tax account reference number) with the name of the disabled person, outlining the nature of their disability and on what grounds does that disability lead them to believe that they are eligible for the reduction, as well as providing supporting information as below;

If there is an additional bathroom or kitchen

Please provide photographs of both bathrooms or kitchens  with each one being clearly identified one as the “main family bathroom” and the other as the “bathroom adapted for and used by the disabled person”.

If a wheelchair is being used at all times

Please provide evidence that confirms that the applicant requires the use of a wheelchair at all times (indoors and outdoors).  This would most likely be in the form of a letter from a Doctor, a hospital or other medical professional.

If there is a specific room being used for the needs of the disabled person

Please provide photographs of the specific room that is required to meet the needs of the disabled person, as well as listing of all the rooms that are in the house and what they are currently used for, what the specific room that is required to meet the needs of the disabled person is, why does the disabled person need that room, and if its use is exclusive to the disabled person.

Empty homes

If a property is empty and unfurnished and no-one is living there you will need to pay the full charge. Single occupancy discount does not apply to an empty property, there is no discount at all for an empty property.

Until 31 March 2019, where a property had been empty for more than 2 years the Council charged an additional premium of 50% on top of the full Council Tax charge.

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

Properties undergoing major works

If your property is undergoing or needing major repair works or structural alterations to render it habitable no discount can be granted.

Empty home due to occupants death

A 100% discount may be applied following the death of the sole occupant in a property.

This discount may continue until the property is occupied again or until 6 months after probate is granted.

To apply, please contact us.

Members of religious communities

You may be disregarded if you are a member of a religious community, the principal occupation of which consists of:

  • prayer
  • contemplation
  • education
  • the relief of suffering
  • or, any combination of the above, and
    • have no income or capital of his own, (other than any income from a pension in respect of former employment), and
    • are dependent on the community to provide for your material need

To apply, please contact us.

People in detention

This exemption applies to unoccupied properties where the liable person is detained in a prison, hospital or other place of detention.

To apply, please contact us.

People in hospital or care

If your main residence has changed to a hospital or care home, you may qualify for a disregard or exemption on your Council Tax.

This means that if you were the only adult living in the property, you will receive a 100% discount.

If there is now only one person over the age of 18 in the property who is not already disregarded, you will receive a 25% discount.

If there is more than one person aged over 18 in the property who are not disregarded, there is no reduction.

To apply, please contact us.

Second homes

A property is classed as your second home if your main residence is elsewhere and your second home is furnished and you are able to live in it as your main residence at any time.

There is no discount for a second home, however you will need to inform us if your property is your second home and not an empty property.

This is because properties empty for longer that 2 years will attract the long term empty premium.

Severely Mentally Impaired disregard

This applies as a disregard or exemption based on your household circumstances.

If you live alone and are classed as severely mentally impaired you will be exempt.

If you reside with one other person and are classed as Severely Mental impaired you will receive a 25% discount.

For Council Tax purposes you are classed as severely mentally impaired if you have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which is permanent.

This needs to be confirmed by your doctor and you need to be in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

For example:

  • Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • Incapacity Benefit (IB)
  • Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)
  • higher or middle rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

To apply, please complete our Severely Mentally Impaired Disregard Application Form.

Single Person Discount

A 25% discount is available if you live on your own, or you are the only person over the age of 18 and the property is your sole or main residence.

Your Council Tax bill is based on at least two people living in a property. So if only one person lives in the property (as their main home), your Council Tax is reduced by 25%.

Apply for a Single Person Discount

Students

If you are a full-time student and you live on your own you are exempt from paying Council Tax.

If you live with someone else over the age of an 18 who is not a student you will receive a 25% discount on your Council Tax bill.

If there are two or more people over the age of 18 living in the property who are not in full time education then there will be no reduction.

To apply, please complete our Student Disregard Application Form, and send us your student certificate.

Please note, this exemption is also extended to student nurses, please complete the student nurse disregard application form.

Unoccupied properties owned by a charity

An unoccupied property owned by a charity may not have to pay Council Tax for up to six months from the last day it was occupied.

You may be entitled to the exemption if the property:

  • is unoccupied and has been for less than 6 months
  • is owned by a charity or charitable organisation, and
  • was last used for the purpose of a charity or charitable organisation

To apply please complete our Unoccupied Properties Owned by a Charity Exemption Application Form.