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Do I qualify for a discount or exemption?

Do I qualify for a discount or exemption?

A full council tax bill assumes that there are at least two adults over 18 living in the property. However, you may qualify for a council tax percentage of discount or a complete exemption from paying council tax. If we give you a discount or exemption on your council tax and your circumstances change, you must tell us immediately.

Discounts and disregards

Not everyone has to pay the full amount of council tax due for the band their property is in. There are discounts that may apply to you. If you think you may qualify for one of these discounts, please download the relevant application form and return it to your local Wiltshire Council office with any evidence required.

If you are the only adult living in the property, you may qualify for a 25% single person discount on your council tax. You will not be considered as the only adult living in the property where another person is working away from home.

Please use this form if:

  • You are 18 or over and have always lived in this property alone
  • You are 18 or over and the only other people living in the property are under 18
  • You shared the property with someone else but they have now permanently moved out and you are the only person 18 or over left in the property

Where there is more than one person over 18 living in the property, it may still be possible to claim a discount, depending on the circumstances. Please see additional council tax discounts below.

Apply for a single person council tax discount.

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A student is a person who is:

  1. A foreign language assistant registered with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges; or
  2. Undertaking a full-time course of education and is enrolled at a prescribed educational establishment on a course of at least one year; study, tuition or work experience is an average of 21 hours each week; or
  3. Undertaking a qualifying course of education and is aged under 20 years and is not:
    • On a full-time course of education.
    • Undertaking the course as a result of employment.
    • An apprentice or youth training trainee.
    • Primarily taught through correspondence.

Required evidence: completed application form with a student certificate from the college or university.

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An apprentice is a person who is:

  • Learning a trade, profession, vocation etc.
  • Undertaking a training programme that is accredited by the National Council for Vocational qualifications or the Scottish equivalent.
  • Receiving an allowance or salary less than would be paid if qualified, and in any case less than £195 gross (before deductions) per week.

Required evidence: certificate or letter from employer confirming apprenticeship status.

A student nurse is a person who is:

  • Attending a college of nursing and midwifery; or
  • A college of heath
  • The course, if successfully completed, would lead to first registration on the Register maintained under section 10 or the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979

Required evidence: student certificate.

A youth trainee is a person who is:

  • Under the age of 25 years, and undertaking training under arrangements that constitute an approved training scheme as defined in section 28 (6) I or the Social Security contributions and Benefits Act 1992.

Required evidence: completed application form with certificate or letter from the training provider.

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A discount can be given when there is a disabled person resident and one of the following is a feature of the home:

  • A room other than a bathroom, kitchen or lavatory is used predominantly by the disabled person.
  • A second bathroom or kitchen.
  • Extra space in the home to allow a wheelchair to be used indoors.
  • The room or the wheelchair must also be of major importance to the disabled person's wellbeing, due to the extent of their disability.

Required evidence: completed application and in order to qualify for this discount a member of staff will need to visit the property.

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The severely mentally impaired discount may apply for a person who:

  • Has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent.
  • Has a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner.

And is entitled to one of the following benefits:

  • Incapacity Benefit.
  • Attendance Allowance.
  • Severe Disablement Allowance.
  • The highest or middle rate care component of Disability Living Allowance or the standard or enhanced rate of Personal Independence Payments Daily Living component.
  • An increase in the rate of disablement pension for constant attendance.
  • A disability element of working tax credit.
  • An unemployability supplement.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance payable under the industrial injuries or war pensions schemes.
  • An unemployability allowance under the industrial injuries or war pensions schemes.
  • Income Support, which includes a disability premium because of incapacity for work.

Required evidence: completed application form and a letter or certificate of severe mental impairment from the person’s doctor along with proof of the qualifying benefit.

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Under council tax legislation a person is considered to be a carer if they are:

  1. providing care to a person entitled to one of the following benefits:
    • Higher rate Attendance Allowance.
    • The highest rate care component of a Disability Living Allowance or the enhanced rate of Personal Independence Payments Daily Living component.
    • An increase in a Constant Attendant Allowance.
    • An increase in his/her Disablement Pension.
    • The highest rate of Constant Attendance Allowance payable on top of full rate Disablement Benefit paid for an industrial injury.
  2. Resident in the same property as the person they are providing care for.
  3. Providing care for at least 35 hours per week on average.

And they are not:

  • The partner of the person being cared for.
  • The parent of the person being cared for, who is a child below the age of 18.

Required evidence: completed application form and proof of a qualifying benefit.

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A residential care home must be registered under:

  • The Residential Homes Act 1984 or
  • The National Assistance Act 1948 or
  • The National Health Service Act 1977 or
  • Be residential accommodation provided and run by the Abbeyfield Society or a body affiliated to the society.

A nursing home is:

  • an establishment which is a nursing home within the meaning of the Registered Homes Act 1984 or
  • an establishment which is a mental nursing home within the meaning of that Act

Hospitals

  • During temporary stays in hospital you do not qualify for a discount in your council tax.
  • During long-term stays in hospital you may qualify for a discount in your council tax.

If someone has a short stay in hospital it has no effect on council tax liability or the amount of tax that must be paid. If the person has been, or is likely to be, in a hospital for so long that s/he can no longer be considered to be solely or even mainly resident in her/his home, then s/he should be ignored for the purpose of a discount. A dwelling left empty by someone who is solely or mainly resident in hospital is exempt from the council tax.

Most hospitals are subject to non-domestic rates, but some types of long-stay hospitals can be considered dwellings for council tax purposes. Persons who are solely or mainly resident in such a hospital are disregarded for the purposes of a discount. In this context, and for the purpose of exemptions, a ‘hospital’ means:

  • An NHS hospital including any NHS trust hospital; and
  • A military, air force or naval unit or establishment in which medical or surgical treatment is provided.

Required evidence: completed application form and letter from institution showing admission date.

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A discount applies if a person is:

  • Held in a prison, a hospital or any other place by a British court.
  • Held under the deportation provisions of the Immigration Act 1971.
  • Held under the Mental Health Act 1983.
  • Imprisoned, detained or in custody for more than 48 hours under the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 or the Naval Discipline Act 1957.

A person who is in police custody before their first court appearance, or who is detained for non-payment of council tax or non-payment of a fine, is not treated as detained for the purpose of a discount. A prisoner on temporary release is treated as being detained.

Required evidence: completed application form.

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A person is a member of a religious community if:

  • The principal occupation of the community consists of prayer, contemplation, education, the relief of suffering, or any combination of these; and
  • S/he has no income or capital of her/his own and is dependent n the community to provide for her/his material needs.

Required evidence: completed application form.

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A person who has a relevant association with a visiting force will not be taken into account when assessing the number of adults living in a property. A visiting force is anybody, contingent or detachment of the forces of a country to which the Visiting Forces Act 1952 applies.

A 'relevant association' is:

  • being a member of that visiting force or a member of a civilian component of that force, or
  • being a person, not a citizen of the United Kingdom or ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, but being a dependant of a member of that visiting force or of a civilian component of that force

The countries listed in the Visiting Forces and International Headquarters (Application of Law) Order 1965 are:

Malta
AustraliaNew Zealand
BelgiumNew Zealand
CanadaNigeria
DenmarkNorway
FrancePakistan
GambiaPortugal
GermanySierra Leone
GhanaSri Lanka
GreeceTanzania
IndiaThe Netherlands
ItalyCyprus
JamaicaTrinidad and Tobago
KenyaTurkey
LuxembourgUganda
MalawiUSA
MalaysiaZambia

In the case of U.S. civilian employees only, please provide a copy of your U.S. passport showing both CES stamps, together with a current U.S. civilian D.O.D. ID card verifying current D.O.D. employment.

Required evidence: completed application form.

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If we give you a discount or exemption on your council tax and your circumstances change, you must tell us immediately.

If you think you may qualify for any kind of discount and need help with your application, please contact us.

Further information

We are unable to grant a discount at aproperty if one of the occupiers is away in the armed forces. This is because the house would still be classed as their main residence for taxation purposes. This applies to all those in the armed forces throughout the country and is in accordance with the government guidelines.

However, all armed forces personnel deployed on operations overseas, who normally pay council tax, benefit from a tax-free payment on the cost of council tax paid directly by the Ministry of Defence.

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  • Discounts will not be awarded on empty homes unless they are owned and let by a charity.
  • Properties undergoing alteration or major repair are not eligible for a council tax discount.
  • A property that has been empty for two years or more on 1 October 2016 will be subject to a 50% Empty Homes Premium with effect from 1 October 2016. From October 2016, the Empty Homes Premium will be charged on the second anniversary of the property becoming empty. This means that owners of an empty home (empty for over two years) will have to pay 150% of the council tax charge. There are a two exceptions where the Empty Homes Premium cannot be applied: 
    • An empty property that is the sole or main residence of a member of the armed forces who is absent from the property as a result of such service.
    • An unoccupied annexe in a property that is being used as part of the main dwelling in the property.
  • If you have an annexe which is lived in by a family member, you can receive a 50% discount on the annexe. In order to qualify for the discount, the annexe must be either used by the resident(s) of the main property or occupied by a family member. If a non family member occupies the annexe, the discount will not apply.

If you think you may qualify for the discount please contact us.

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We will keep and use your personal information in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.

This authority is under a duty to protect the public funds that it administers and, to this end, may use the information you have provided to the authority for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies administering or in receipt of public funds, such as HM Revenues and Customs.

The council participates in data matching exercises internally and through the National Fraud Initiative.

Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This is usually personal information used to:

  • Prevent or detect benefit fraud or any other crime
  • Support national fraud initiatives
  • Protect public funds

Find out more about the National Fraud Initiative.

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Council tax exemptions

Some properties are exempt from council tax altogether. It may be exempt for only a short period, for example, six months, or indefinitely. You may apply for an exemption if your property is:

An unoccupied property owned by a charity. It is exempt for six months after becoming empty. After six months has passed, a 100% charge becomes due.

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A property that is unoccupied because the owner (who was previously the occupier) is now being detained elsewhere (i.e. prison, mental care home).

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A property that is unoccupied because the owner (who was previously the occupier) has moved to receive personal care in a hospital or home and will not return home.

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A property that is unoccupied because the owner has died. This exemption is open-ended until probate is granted. The executors or personal representatives will then be allowed a further six months of exemption from the date of probate, providing the property is not occupied or ownership changed in the interim. After that time, a 100% charge will apply.

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A property that is unoccupied because the law prohibits occupation; e.g. due to a closing order.

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A property left empty and waiting to be occupied by a religious minister.

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A property that is unoccupied because the owner is receiving care elsewhere due to old age, disablement, illness, past or present alcohol or drug dependence or past or present mental disorder (other than an institution as in Class E).

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A property that is unoccupied because the owner has moved to provide personal care for the reason given in Class I.

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A property that is unoccupied because the owner is a student but lives away from home while studying.

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Unoccupied properties that have been repossessed by a mortgage provider.

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A hall of residence provided predominantly for students that is owned or managed by an educational establishment.

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A property occupied only by individuals who are students or Project 2000 student nurses.

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Armed forces barracks, messes and married quarters. Contributions for these properties are paid by the MOD.

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A property occupied by a member and/or their dependents of a relevant visiting force.

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A property left empty and is the responsibility of a bankrupt’s trustee.

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A pitch for a caravan or mooring for a boat that is not currently occupied by a caravan or boat.

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A property occupied only by people who are under 18.

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An unoccupied property that comes within the curtilage (the enclosed area immediately surrounding a house or dwelling) of another occupied property and may not be let separately without a breach of planning law.  

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A property occupied only by people who are severely mentally impaired (except in cases where a non-resident owner is the liable person).

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A property occupied only by people for whom diplomatic privileges and immunities apply.

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A property that is an annex or similar self contained part of a property that is occupied by an elderly or disabled relative of the residents living in the rest of the property. If the annex is no longer occupied by an elderly/disabled relative, the annex may be subject to a council tax charge.

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If you think you may qualify for an exemption or would like more information, please contact us.

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Last updated: 28 July 2017 | Last reviewed: 28 July 2017