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Council Tax Discounts, Exemptions and Support

About Council Tax reduction

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. Therefore we may share Council Tax information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds or where undertaking a public function in order to prevent and detect fraud. For further information see our National Fraud Initiative page.

Depending on your individual circumstances you may be entitled to a reduction in your Council Tax. There are three distinct types of reduction:

  1. Council Tax discounts
  2. Exemptions
  3. Council Tax Support Scheme

What is the difference between a Council Tax Discount, Exemption and Support?

Discounts

Council Tax legislation assumes that there is more than one adult resident in a dwelling. Council Tax Discounts apply when 'qualifying people' living in a property fall into certain categories. Examples include Carers, Full Time Students and Single Occupants (Single Person Discount). There could also be other reasons why you may be entitled to a discount on the full Council Tax bill. To find out more information on Council Tax Discounts and which groups of people are not counted when looking at the number of adults resident in a dwelling, see Can I get a Council Tax Discount?

If you or a member of your household is disabled you may also be eligible for a reduction under the Council Tax Reduction for Disabilities Scheme. To apply for this reduction, and for more information, see our section on How do I claim Council Tax Disabilities Reduction?

You may also find the following Council Tax guide (opens new window) useful.

Exemptions

Council Tax Exemptions can apply to certain classes of property, or 'qualifying people' living in a property, can fall into an exempt category. To find out which dwellings are exempt from Council Tax see Can I get a Council Tax Exemption?

Support

The Local Council Tax Support Scheme (sometimes known as Council Tax Benefit) was introduced 1 April 2013. Council Tax Support is a means tested benefit designed to help people on a low income pay their Council Tax. For further details on eligibility criteria, how to claim and how Council Tax Support is applied, please refer to the relevant section below.

You may be eligible for a reduction under one or more of the above criteria, however you would not get both an 'Exemption' and 'Council Tax Support'.

You may also find our Housing Benefit page useful.

Can I get a Council Tax discount?

You may be entitled to a 25% single person discount if you are the only adult that lives in a property as your main/sole residence.

Complete this single person discount application form:

  • to apply for a single person discount
  • if you are already receiving a single person discount and need to notify us you are no longer the only adult living in the property

A 25% discount can also be awarded where all but one of the adult residents of the property are disregarded. For example, if the other person(s) is severely mentally impaired, a student or a careworker. You will need to complete a separate application for a Council Tax exemption or discount for this.

Can I get a Council Tax Exemption?

Can I get a Council Tax Exemption?

You may be eligible to apply for an exemption. Properties can be exempt from Council Tax under certain circumstances.  Many such exemptions will continue for as long as the circumstances remain the same, but some exemptions can apply for a limited time period only, after which a charge can apply.

Council Tax Exemptions

Below is a list of Council Tax Exemptions with descriptions detailing the circumstances where they apply.

List of exemptions detailing the circumstances in which a property may be exempt from Council Tax

Exemption

Description

Class B - empty properties owned by charities 

The property will be exempt for up to six months, provided that when last in use it was occupied in furtherance of the charities purposes/objects.

Please ask for an 'Application for a Class B Exemption' form to apply for this discount. 

Class D - Properties left unoccupied by prisoners

If the owner/tenant of a property is detained in prison, or detained under the Mental Health act, and the property is unoccupied, a full exemption may apply.

Please provide a letter from the prison or hospital confirming the date of admission and expected release date.

Class E - Properties left unoccupied by patients in hospitals and care homes

An unoccupied property can be exempt if the owner/tenant is living in a care home or hospital.

Please provide a letter from the hospital or care home confirming the date of admission and expected release date, if applicable.

Class F - Properties left unoccupied when a person dies

The property will be exempt if an administrator or executor of the person's estate is responsible for the property and no-one else lives in the property.  It will be exempt if it remains unoccupied and for up to six months after probate has been granted.

Please provide a copy of the grant of probate or letters of administration.

Class G - Empty properties where occupation is prohibited by law

The property will be exempt  if a property cannot be occupied without breaching part 3 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, its occupation is otherwise prohibited by law or if it is kept unoccupied under powers of any act of parliament with a view to prohibiting its occupation or acquiring it.

Please provide a copy of the prohibition notice.

Class H - unoccupied property held for a minister of religion

The property will be exempt if it is next used by a minister of religion as a residence from which he or she will perform their duties of office.

 

Class I - Properties left empty by a person receiving personal care

A property where the owner or tenant has left it empty to move elsewhere (not a hospital or nursing/care home) in order to receive personal care. The person must be receiving care due to old age, disablement, illness, alcohol or drug dependence, or mental disorder.

Please provide a letter from the hospital or residential home confirming the date of admission and expected release date, if applicable.

Class J - Properties left unoccupied by a person providing care

A property where the owner or tenant has left it empty to live elsewhere to provide personal care. The person being cared for must need the care due to old age, disablement, illness, alcohol or drug dependence or mental disorder.

Class K - Properties left unoccupied by a student

A property owned by a student, and when it was last occupied was the sole or main residence of that student. The student must be a 'qualifying person', that is he or she must be the person liable for Council Tax. In some cases the 'qualifying person' may not have become a student until moving, in which case he or she must have become a student within six weeks of leaving the property.

Please provide a copy of the letter or certificate provided by the educational establishment to confirm course start and end date.

Class L - Properties where the mortgage lender is in possession

A property that has been re-possessed is unoccupied and remains in the hands of the mortgage lender can be exempt from Council Tax.

Please provide a letter from the lender to confirm date of re-possession.

Class M - Halls of residence

A property, which comprises halls of residence, provided predominately for accommodation by students and is owned or managed by an educational establishment that has the right to nominate most of the occupiers.

Class N - Properties solely occupied by full time students

A property solely occupied by full time students is exempt from Council Tax. To count as a full time student the course must last at least one year and involve at least 21 hours study a week.  The exemption ceases when one of the occupiers ceases to be a student.

Please provide a copy of the letter or certificate provided by the educational establishment to confirm course start and end date.

Class O - Armed forces accommodation

Living accommodation for UK armed forces which is owned by the Secretary of State for Defence is exempt whether occupied or not. Contributions in lieu of Council Tax are payable to billing authorities by the Ministry of Defence.

Please provide a letter from the MOD confirming CILOCT contributions.

Class P - Properties lived in by members and dependants of visiting forces

A property is exempt if the person who would be liable has a 'relevant association' with a visiting force from a country to which the Visiting Forces Act 1952 applied. A person is considered to have a relevant association with a visiting force if he or she is a member of that force, or a dependant of a member, provided that the dependent is not a British citizen or is not ordinarily resident in the UK.

Class Q - Properties left empty by a bankrupt

A property where the person who would be liable to the Council Tax in respect of an unoccupied dwelling is a trustee in bankruptcy.

Please provide a letter to confirm the name and address of the 'qualifying person' under the Bankruptcy Act 1914 or Insolvency Act 1986.

Class R - Empty caravan pitches or boat moorings

A pitch not occupied by a caravan or a mooring not occupied by a boat.

Please contact us on 01493 846244 to arrange a visit by an inspector.

Class S - Properties solely occupied by persons under 18

A property that is solely occupied by persons under 18 can be exempt. In these circumstances the owners name will appear on the bill.  The exemption ceases when one of the occupiers turns 18 and subsequently they will be the liable tax payer.

Please provide a copy of the tenancy and dates of birth of all occupiers.

Class T - Unoccupied annexe to an occupied dwelling

An unoccupied dwelling of the sort commonly referred to as granny annexes, but may also refer to other annexes. The property has to form part of premises which includes another dwelling and where the unoccupied property may not be let separately from the main dwelling without a breach of planning control within the meaning of Section 171A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Please provide a letter from Planning confirming the restriction on the property.  

Class U - property occupied solely by the severely mentally impaired

A property where all occupiers meet the criteria to be disregarded as severely mentally impaired. The condition must be confirmed by a doctor, we will ask for permission to write to the doctor for confirmation.  The mentally disabled person must qualify for one of these benefits: Incapacity benefit, ESA, Attendance Allowance, PIP, Severe Disablement Allowance, high or middle rate care component of DLA, disability element of WTC, Armed Forces independence payment.  

The exemption does not apply where Council Tax liability falls on a non-resident owner (for example a residential home where all occupiers are disregarded is not exempt as the owner is liable for the Council Tax).

Please complete the Severely Mentally Impaired form, for each resident, to apply.

Class V - Properties occupied by a person with diplomatic privilege or immunity

A dwelling where at least one resident has diplomatic or immunity privileges conferred upon them. This does not apply however, if there is another resident with a higher legal interest in the property.

Please provide a letter from the relevant embassy.

Class W - An annexe that is occupied by a dependent elderly relative.

A dwelling which forms part of a single property, including at least one other dwelling, which is occupied by a dependent relative of a person who is resident in that other dwelling.  A dependent relative is aged 65 or more, severely mentally impaired or substantially disabled.

Please apply in writing confirming the relevant details.

Do I have to pay Council Tax on an empty or second home?

Empty and second home discounts are based on the property, not on the owner. When assessing how long a property has been empty, we disregard periods of occupation lasting six weeks or less.

See the table below for charges for empty or second homes.

Discount or charge from 1 April 2023
Property typeDiscount or charge from 1 April 2023
Unoccupied furnished properties / second homes0% discount (full charge)
Unoccupied furnished properties with planning restriction on occupancy10% discount
Vacant property that:
  • needs or is undergoing major repair 
  • is undergoing structural changes 
  • has undergone major repairs under six months ago

100% charge (no discount)

Please refer to LEVY charge below

Unoccupied / unfurnished properties for two years or more100% charge plus 100% LEVY charge = 200% charge
Unoccupied / unfurnished properties for five years or more100% charge plus 200% LEVY charge = 300% charge
Unoccupied / unfurnished properties for ten years or more100% charge plus 300% LEVY charge = 400% charge

What is Council Tax Support?

Council Tax benefit has been replaced by a Local Council Tax Support Scheme. This change only affects working age claimants. Pensioners are protected from the new scheme.

The change means that:

  • Some people will now have to pay a small amount of Council Tax
  • Some people will now have to pay more
  • Some people will no longer be entitled to help

Local councils have set up a scheme taking into account the funding which is available and the three main guidelines set out by the Government:

  • Pensioners being fully protected
  • Vulnerable groups being protected as far as possible
  • The Government's work incentives not being undermined

For the last three years, our local scheme has been similar to the national scheme for pension age with the exception of the maximum amount of help customers of working age can qualify to receive is restricted to 80% of the Council Tax liability excluding Care Leavers.

Further scheme information can be found in our Council Tax Reduction Scheme document.

Who can get Council Tax Support?

You can get Council Tax Support if:

  • You are responsible for paying the Council Tax bill
  • You are on a low income - from benefits or low paid work
  • You - and your partner - don't have more than £16,000 in savings or capital, unless you are getting Pension Credit

Use our Council Tax Reduction Calculator (opens new window) to find out how much you are entitled to.

You cannot get Council Tax Support if any of the following apply:

  • You are an asylum seeker - unless you have been given refugee status or indefinite or exceptional leave to remain in the UK
  • You have been admitted to the UK on condition that you have 'no recourse to public funds'
  • You are a sponsored immigrant and have lived here for less than five years, unless your sponsor has died
  • You are in the UK illegally or your permission to stay has run out

How do I claim Council Tax Support?

You can claim for Council Tax Support or Second Adult Rebate, along with Housing Benefit, using our online claim form.

We will need to see evidence of:

  • your income
  • your savings
  • the rent payable on your home

You should make your claim as soon as possible. Council Tax Support is normally awarded from the Monday after you make your claim.

How will I get my Council Tax Support?

Your Council Tax Support will be taken off your Council Tax bill. We will send you an amended bill showing your revised payments.

What should I do if my circumstances change?

If any of the circumstances listed below apply to you, you must let us know immediately by filling out our change in circumstances form.

You must tell us if:

  • You move home (complete our online  form)
  • Your rent changes
  • Your landlord changes
  • Anyone moves in or out of your home
  • You get married or change your name
  • Anyone in your household has a change in their income
  • Anyone in your household goes into hospital or prison
  • Anyone in your household becomes a student, starts work or changes job
  • Your savings change
  • There is any other change that may affect your benefit

We will let you know the outcome when we come to a decision. If you haven't given us all the information we need we may suspend your claim until we have all the necessary details.

Can I appeal the decision?

If you disagree with our decision on your Council Tax Support you can:

  • Ask us to give you a further explanation of our decision
  • Ask us to review the decision
  • Make an appeal against the decision

If you want to appeal you must do so within one calendar month of the date of the decision letter.

How do I claim Council Tax Disabilities Reduction?

If you or someone in your household is disabled (including children) and you have made alterations to or additions to your home to help cope with the disability - or recently moved into a house/flat which has extra space or special features needed because of the disability - then you may be able to claim a reduction in your Council Tax bill.

This is a form of tax relief: if you qualify for this reduction it is your right to receive it. If in doubt, apply - you have nothing to lose.

Qualification under the Council Tax for Disabilities Scheme includes people whose home have:

  • an extra room needed because of disability
  • an additional Kitchen or Bathroom
  • sufficient space to allow the use of a wheelchair

It is not essential for someone to be registered as a disabled person in order to qualify for a Disability reduction. You can apply for this reduction by filling out this form online, we then contact you to arrange to visit you at home to discuss your application and eligibility for a reduction.

Note: qualification for this reduction does not affect your right to apply for Local Council Tax Support. You may qualify for both the disablement reduction and Local Council Tax Support.

Can I backdate my claim?

If you are completing a new application and require a backdated payment, please indicate this on your application form. If you have already applied and require a backdated payment, complete our backdate form.

How do I contact the Council about my Council Tax?

If you have a question about your Council Tax which is not answered above you can contact our Council Tax department.

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