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How To Reduce Your Council Tax Bill

Discounts and Exemptions

Discounts

The full Council Tax bill assumes that there are two adults living in the dwelling. If only one adult lives in a dwelling (as their main home) the Council Tax Bill will be reduced by 25 per cent. Certain people will be disregarded when looking at the number of adults resident in a dwelling if they meet certain conditions. If any of these conditions are met then follow the links below, complete, save and return the relevant form(s).

If you feel you may be entitled to a discount and have not been granted one you should contact the Executive Director (Resources and Support Services).

If you have been granted a discount you must tell the Council of any change in circumstances which will affect your entitlement. If you fail to do so  you may be faced with a penalty of £50.

What if all the residents are disregarded?

Then a 50 per cent discount may apply. If you are not sure you should contact the Council.

Properties exempt from Council Tax

Council Tax is not charged on certain properties - ‘exempt properties’. The classes of property exempt from Council Tax are shown below. If you think that your property falls into any of these classes please contact us. You may need to provide us with evidence before we grant the exemption.

Below is the list of current Council Tax exemptions that are available, if your property falls into any of the categories then follow the link, complete, save and return the relevant form(s).

Empty property charges and reductions

Please note: On 1 April 2013 exemption classes A (undergoing repair) or C (unoccupied and unfurnished) were removed from legislation. Instead such properties may be eligible for a local discount of up to 100 per cent of Council Tax payable.

From 1 April 2015 there is a 100 per cent discount for the first 28 days that the property becomes empty and unfurnished, then there is a 100 per cent Council Tax charge. The 100 per cent discount applies from the date the property first becomes vacant so may be applied to the tenants account from the date of vacation up to the official end of the tenancy, the landlord if his liability starts from the date of vacation or a combination of both. Only one 28 day period of 100 per cent discount however can be applied.

In Newcastle-under-Lyme no discount is available for properties undergoing major structural repair, however there is a 100 per cent discount for the first 28 days that these circumstances apply then there is a 100 per cent Council Tax charge.

Second Homes (empty and furnished property) – There is a 100 per cent Council Tax charge for these properties.

Vacant dwelling (empty and unfurnished property) – There is a 100 per cent discount for the first 28 days that these circumstances apply then there is a 100 per cent Council Tax charge.

Empty homes premium (empty and unfurnished property for at least 2 years) - There is a 150 per cent Council Tax charge for these properties once they have been empty for two years - This applies to all properties irrespective of their condition and no discretionary reliefs are available.

Discounts and Exemptions for Family 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 will be entitled to a 50 per cent reduction in the Council Tax payable on the annex.

The 50 per cent reduction is on top of any other discount you or your relative may be entitled to (excepting Council Tax reduction).

In order to qualify the annex must form part of a single property which includes at least one other property (that is, the annex must be within the grounds of the main house although not necessarily attached) and must be included in the title deeds of the main house and not registered separately and either the annex is being used by the residents of the main house or as part of their main home.

Or the annex is lived in by a relative of the person who lives in the main house.

However, an annexe is exempt if it is occupied by dependant relatives, that is to say those aged 65 or over, or substantially or permanently disabled or severely mentally impaired. In addition you will not be charged an empty homes premium on a long term empty annexe.

Follow this link if you believe that you may qualify for this reduction

Disabled Relief Scheme

You may be able to pay less Council Tax under the disabled band reduction scheme if your home has had work carried out on it to help you or someone else living there with a disability. This scheme reduces the Council Tax payable by disabled people who live in a larger property than they would have needed if they were not disabled. Having a disability, however, does not automatically entitle you to a reduction.

Can I qualify for a disabled band reduction?

In summary, the requirements for a reduction are that the property must be the main residence of at least one disabled person and it must have at least one of the following:

  • an additional bathroom or kitchen,
  • any other room (not being a toilet) which is mainly used by the disabled person, or
  • enough space for the use of a wheelchair - if the wheelchair is for outdoor use only, this will not count.
  • the room or the wheelchair must also be essential or of major importance to the disabled person’s wellbeing, due to the nature and extent of their disability.

‘Disabled person’ in this context means a person who is substantially and permanently disabled. The disabled person can be either an adult or a child and does not have to be responsible for paying the Council Tax bill. Please note an extra room does not need to have been specially built but your home will not qualify for a reduction unless the ‘essential or of major importance’ test above is met. Simply rearranging rooms (for example, having a bedroom on the ground floor rather than the first floor) is unlikely to make your home eligible for a reduction.

What happens if my home meets this criteria?

If your home is eligible, your bill will be reduced to that of a property in the next Council Tax band down. For example, a Band D property will be charged a Band C rate. Even if your property is in Band A (the lowest band) you will still receive a reduction.

Follow this link to apply.

Section 13a Council Tax Relief

All Local Authorities must have a Section 13A scheme through which any person can make a request for an amount of Council Tax to be reduced or written off. The award is discretionary.  The local authority must have a system in place to allow a person to make the request.

All claims will be considered on an individual basis.  There is a financial implication to the Council as funding for any section 13A discounts must be provided by the Council. All applications are considered on their individual merits.

Every Council Taxpayer is entitled to make an application for a discretionary Council Tax reduction. Although, the discretionary reduction will only be granted to Council Taxpayers in exceptional circumstances.

Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council will treat all applications on their individual merits. However some or all of the following criteria should be met for each case:

  • There must be evidence of financial hardship or personal circumstances that justifies a reduction in council tax liability. Where an application is made in respect of financial hardship, evidence of all income and expenditure will be required to enable a full assessment to be undertaken
  • The taxpayer must satisfy the Council that all reasonable steps have been taken to resolve their situation prior to application
  • All other eligible discounts/reliefs/benefits have been awarded
  • The taxpayer does not have access to other assets that could be used to pay council tax
  • Can the situation be resolved by some other legitimate means, such as the complaints procedure? If it can it is unlikely that an award will be made
  • The situation and reason for the application must be outside of the taxpayer's control
  • The amount outstanding must not be the result of wilful refusal to pay or culpable neglect
  • The power to reduce under this section will be considered taking account of all circumstances and any reduction will take into consideration the borough’s council tax payers

Discretionary Council Tax reductions must be applied for in writing by the Council Taxpayer, their advocate/appointee or a recognised third party acting on their behalf.

Where the application is on the grounds of financial hardship evidence must be provided. You will be required to provide proof of earnings for you and your households and proof of savings.

Any relief to be awarded is entirely at the Council’s discretion.

Under Section 16 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, there is a right of appeal if a customer applying for a discretionary reduction under Section 13A is aggrieved by the Council's decision. The appeal must be made in writing to the council tax office. The Council will then consider whether the customer has provided any additional information against the required criteria that will justify a change to its decision. If the original decision is upheld and the customer remains aggrieved, there is a further right of appeal to a valuation tribunal

If you would like further details please contact us.

What to do with an empty property?

Follow this link for advice and information on owning an empty property and the options available to you.

If you wish to apply for any of the discounts or exemptions please download the form from the link and return it to us.


Last updated 10 June 2019

 
 
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