If you are responsible for paying your Council Tax bill, you might be able to reduce the amount you pay.
Council Tax exemptions
You may not have to pay any Council Tax if you fall into any of these categories:
- Your home is empty. If your home is empty, you may not have to pay Council Tax. This could be because you’ve moved into a care home, gone into hospital or gone to live with a relative or friend so they can look after you. You can also apply for an exemption if you have moved out of your home to care for someone else. Contact your local council to find out if your property is exempt.
- You live on your own and have been medically certified as ‘severely mentally impaired’. This is a diagnosis that a doctor may give you if, for example, you have a condition such as dementia (including Alzheimer's), profound learning difficulties, or have had a severe stroke. If you have been diagnosed as ‘severely mentally impaired’ and live alone you can get a 100% Council Tax discount. In England and Wales, you also have to get certain disability benefits like Attendance allowance, severe disablement allowance, or Disability living allowance. In Scotland, you may not have to actually get these benefits, but you do need to be eligible for them. If you live in Wales, you can find more information here. If you live in England or Scotland, contact your local council for more information.
- You have, and everyone you live with has, been medically certified as ‘severely mentally impaired’. As with the point above, you won’t have to pay any Council Tax if a doctor has diagnosed you as ‘severely mentally impaired’, and everyone you live with has been diagnosed too. If you aren’t diagnosed as ‘severely mentally impaired’ but live with someone who is, you might be able to get a Council Tax discount (see below).
- There is a self-contained annex in your home. This only applies if you live in England or Wales.If there is a self-contained annex in your home, and a relative over 65 years old lives there, the annex is exempt from Council Tax. This exemption is only for the annex – you will still have to pay Council Tax for the main property.
Your council decides whether a home is exempt and the rules can be complicated. If you think your home might be exempt, call us on 0800 319 6789 to arrange to speak to an adviser.
Council Tax Support
If you live in England or Wales, each council has its own Council Tax Support scheme (also called Council Tax Reduction) to help people on a low income – this means that each council will have a different scheme. If you live in Scotland, there is a national scheme that your local authority will deliver. Wherever you live, contact your local council to ask about the scheme in your area.
You can also ask them who is responsible for paying the Council Tax on your home if you’re not sure. You can apply for support whether you rent or own your home.
If you receive Guarantee Pension Credit, you may get your Council Tax paid in full. If this doesn't apply to you, you may still get some help if you’re on a low income, and you and your partner have savings and investments of less than £16,000 between you. How much help you’ll get depends on:
- your household income and your savings or investments
- who you live with
- which benefits you receive
- whether you've reached State Pension age
- how much Council Tax you’re meant to pay
- how the scheme works in your area.
The amount you can get may be higher if you, or someone living with you, have a disability or caring responsibilities.
Council Tax Discount
If you live alone, you can get a 25% discount on your Council Tax bill. You could still get this even if you live with other people, because not everyone is counted for Council Tax purposes. This includes:
- full-time students
- some carers
- people with a severe mental impairment - for example, dementia, a brain injury, a health condition such as Parkinson's or a serious mental health condition.
If everyone living in your home, including you, is disregarded, you can get a 50% discount.
If you live in Wales, you can find more information here. If you live in Scotland visit mygov.scot. If you live in England contact your local council for more information.
If you're unsure whether you qualify for a discount, please call us on 0800 319 6789 to speak to our Helpline advisers.
The Disabled Band Reduction scheme
If your home has been adapted because someone with a disability lives there, the council can reduce your Council Tax bill. It can be brought down to the band below, or by 17% if your home is in the lowest band. This also applies if your home is larger than it would otherwise be, to facilitate a person with disabilities living there.
There's no set test to determine whether you qualify. Your council may ask for supporting evidence, such as a letter from your GP, and they may want to visit your home.
You can check here to see if you qualify for the Disabled Band Reduction scheme.
Second Adult Rebate
If you live with someone on a low income who isn’t your partner, you may qualify for a discount on your bill called a Second Adult Rebate - if this is available in your area. You can’t get this at the same time as Council Tax Support, but after you apply for Second Adult Rebate, your local council should automatically consider which one you’d be better off getting. Depending on your income, your Council Tax bill could be reduced by 7.5%, 15% or 25%. Contact your local council to find out whether they offer this.
You have the right of appeal against decisions on:
- who is liable to pay council tax
- where you are normally resident
- whether a dwelling is exempt from council tax
- whether a discount or disability reduction applies.
For more information about how to challenge a Council Tax decision, please see our factsheet What to do if you disagree with a benefits decision, or contact Citizens Advice.
Also of interest
Also in this section
You may want more information about Council Tax discounts, support and exemptions, especially as more than one discount can be applied to you if you qualify for it. If you live in Wales, you can find more information here. If you live in Scotland visit mygov.scot. If you live in England contact your local council for more information.
If you’re unsure whether you qualify for a discount or reduction, such as the Disabled Band Reduction Scheme, call our Helpline on 0800 319 6789 for more advice.