With the cost of just about everything rising, including food, petrol, energy bills and clothes, it makes sense to try and claim every discount that you are entitled to. But some people still do not know that there are several ways of claiming discount on their council tax, and could save themselves a fair few pounds in the process.
Currently there the three main ways that you can pay less council tax on your home.
One of these is to apply for a discount if you are living on your own, the second is to claim for another person living in your house, who is not counted for council tax reasons, and the last is to see if you are eligible for an exemption, because you are on state benefits or a low-income bracket.
Here are the main criteria for each council tax discount option:
The single person discount
If you live on your own you are automatically entitled to 25% off your council tax bill, regardless of how much income or savings you have, but you have to notify the council, it will not be taken into consideration unless you inform them. It will state clearly that you have the 25% discount on your council tax bill so check carefully, and if it is not on there, get in touch immediately with your local council.
‘Second adult’ rebates
You might be entitled to a second adult rebate, if you live with one or more people who are aged 18 or over, who are not responsible for paying council tax on the property. For example, you could count people in this category such as full-time students, people under 18 and carers.
Common examples of a ‘second adult’ is a grown-up son or daughter who still lives in the family home, or a relative staying with you who has passed the pension credit age, however, the ‘second adult’ cannot be your wife, husband or partner and they must not pay rent to you, so they cannot be boarders or lodgers at your property.
People falling within this category will typically not earn more than around £180 and £220, and remember that your own income isn’t taken into account at all.
You will also automatically get the second adult reduction if any of them receive one of more of the following benefits:
- income support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- pension credit
It is worth remembering however that you will only get the council tax reduction or a second adult rebate – but not both. Our best advice is to apply for both, and your local council will work out which one will give you the biggest reduction, and allocate that one to you.
If you’ve been refused a council tax reduction because the council says your income or savings are too high, you might still be able to get the second adult rebate if the qualifying criteria are met.
Council tax exemption
Not many people know that councils have the power to reduce someone’s council tax bill, or even cancel it altogether, but only under very rare circumstances. If you are experiencing exceptional hardship and this is having a knock on effect on your standard of living, the council may decide that you do not need to pay the tax. It is worth getting advice from debt specialists if you are struggling with writing about your circumstances.
To apply for any council tax discounts you need to get in touch with your local council. Find your local council on the GOV.UK website.
If you are applying for a second adult rebate, you’ll need to provide proof of their identity and details of the weekly income of the person you’re claiming the rebate for. Many councils will ask you to fill in a benefits application form.