Discounts and exemptions
If you are the only adult living in your household then you are entitled to a 25 per cent discount off your bill.
Cheshire West and Chester operates a local Council Tax Reduction Scheme to support residents on low incomes. More information is available here:
People in some categories are disregarded if they meet certain criteria.
If you think you may be entitled to a student or student nurse discount, please complete the following application form online:
If you think you may be entitled to one of the following discounts, please complete an online application form where available or contact the Council Tax Office for more information:
- Severely mentally impaired
- Prisoners in detention
- 18 or 19 years old in full time education or 18 years old for whom child benefit is paid
- Apprentices and youth trainees
- Main residence care home or NHS hospital
- Carers who live with a person who requires care who is not their spouse or partner or a child under 18
- Residents of hostels
- Members of religious communities
A property can be occupied by many people some, of which, can be disregarded as per the above list. A property where all bar one person is disregarded will be classed as a single occupation and a discount of 25 per cent will apply. If a property is occupied wholly by disregarded persons, there will be charge of 50 per cent due to be paid. The only exceptions to this can be seen in the section occupied properties.
With effect from 1 April 2013 the following change has been made to Council Tax discounts.
For the first month that the property is empty and unfurnished a 100% discount is applicable, up until 24 months a 25% discount is applicable. After 24 months there is no discount and 150% of the council tax is payable. Should you purchase a property that is already empty you should check with the council the date that the property first became unfurnished for council tax purposes to be able to determine when a premium would commence.
Properties classed as second homes – which are defined as furnished properties that are no-one’s main residence will no longer be entitled to a discount and will pay a full Council Tax charge.
Reductions for disabled people
If someone in your household is disabled and you have additional rooms to meet their needs; or have taken a room other than a bedroom out of normal use such as a downstairs living room which has been converted to a bedroom for the disabled person you could qualify for a reduction in your council tax. The reduction has the effect of reducing the band on the property by one. For example a band C becomes a band B.
The criteria that must be met is as follows:
- A room, but not a sole bathroom, kitchen or lavatory, which is predominantly used (for providing therapy or otherwise) by the person with a disability. For example, a downstairs bedroom; or
- An additional bathroom or kitchen which is necessary for meeting the needs of the person with the disability; or
- A wheelchair used indoors.
If you think you may be entitled, please complete a disability relief application form.
If certain groups occupy a property they may be entitled to receive a discount or be exempt from paying Council Tax. These are as follows:
- Properties occupied wholly by full time students or student nurses
- Properties occupied wholly by people who are mentally impaired and liable for paying Council Tax’
- Students halls of residence
- Properties occupied wholly by persons under the age of 18
- An annexe occupied by a qualifying relative
There are instances when a property has been left unoccupied but furnished that may be exempt from paying Council Tax. The exemption may only last for a fixed period of time after which a charge would be due and payable. These are as follows:
- A property left unoccupied but furnished due to a bereavement will be exempt from the date of the persons death to six months after probate has been granted
- A property left unoccupied and furnished by a person who has gone into a residential care home on a permanent basis. This will not apply to properties that subsequently have been rented out for any period after a tenant has been in occupation.
- A property left unoccupied but furnished by a person who has left to either receive care or to give care to another due to illness, disability or old age in their home, which is not a nursing home.
- A property left unoccupied but furnished by a person who is in prison.
- A property left unoccupied but furnished where the owner is a student
Properties that are left unfurnished and unoccupied maybe entitled to a discount or exemption, some for up to six months some for up to 12 and some for no fixed time period.
Please note - After a period of two years has elapsed from the date that a property first became empty and unfurnished, an empty homes premium charge will be levied. This maybe a date before you purchased the property. The premium will be 50 per cent above the full Council Tax payable on your property and will replace the 75 per cent previously charged.
Examples of unfurnished and unoccupied properties include:
- Properties undergoing major structural repairs are entitled to 25 per cent discount for up to 12 months
- Properties left empty and unfurnished are entitled to a discount of 100 per cent for one month followed by a 25 per cent discount from the date the property first became unfurnished. This may be a date before you purchased the property.
- Properties where occupation is prohibited by law - no time limit up to the order being lifted
- Properties that have been repossessed - no time limit up to the time of sale
- An unoccupied annexe
- A property left unoccupied, which is the responsibility of a trustee in bankruptcy
If a property you own becomes unoccupied you must tell staff in the Council Tax department immediately. You could qualify for a reduction or an exemption if you meet any of the criteria shown above.
When an exemption expires a charge of 75 per cent of the full charge will be due and payable. The person responsible for paying is the owner or the person who holds a lease or rental agreement. If at any time the property changes hands, the new owner becomes liable for the tax or any remaining time of the exemption if the property remains unoccupied.