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Council Tax 2024-25 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 two adults living in a property. If only one 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 (opens in a new window) page.

Empty properties

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

The Council can charge you an ‘empty homes premium’ if your home is empty and unfurnished for twelve months or more. You pay this on top of your Council Tax.

The premium can cost up to:

  • 100% of your Council Tax if your home is empty for over a year
    (originally, this was two years, however, under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 this has been cut to twelve months with effect from 1 April 2024, as approved by Full Council on 28 February 2024).
  • 200% of your Council Tax if your home is empty for over five years.
  • 300% of your Council Tax if your home is empty for over ten years.

The Council will consider the home empty until you furnish and occupy it for more than 6 weeks in a row. However, if your property is already exempt from Council Tax, you won’t be charged the empty homes premium.

You won’t have to pay this premium if the empty property is an annex or you’re in the armed forces and need to move into armed forces accommodation as part of your work.

Exempt properties

Occupied 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

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 provided gives a brief description of discounts and exemptions available. For full information, please refer to the Council Tax section of our website or email counciltax​

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. Please go to our problems paying page and follow the link to complete an income and expenditure form which will be passed to the Council Tax Team to see if we can help you.

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. Visit our Council Tax Support page to complete a form.

If you believe you are not liable for the Council Tax, or a discount should have been awarded, contact us at via our change in circumstances page and we will review your case.

The council will advise you how to appeal further if you are not satisfied with the outcome.

A detailed leaflet of how your Council Tax is calculated, collected, distributed and spent, can be found at the Council Tax section of our website.

Other information

How to contact us

By email to counciltax​

Paperless billing

To receive your Council Tax bill electronically, rather than a paper version, go to our paperless billing page.

How to pay

12 monthly instalments: if you wish to pay your bill over 12 monthly instalments and don’t already do so, please go to our change your bill frequency page immediately so your instalments can be spread from April to March.

Direct Debit: if you would like to set up a Direct Debit, you can pay on either the 1st or 15th of each month. Please go to the pay by Direct Debit page of our website.

Online: you can pay via the council’s website using your credit/debit card at the pay online page.

Telephone: credit/debit card. Call the dedicated telephone number 0800 023 7086.

Bank transfer:

Bank name: Lloyds
Sort code: 30-00-02
Account number: 01396914
Account name: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

Please quote your Council Tax account reference number.

In person: you can pay in person using the bar code on your bill at The Amelia Scott in Tunbridge Wells.