Discounts and exemptions
A full council tax bill assumes that there are at least two adults over 18 living in the property. However, depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a discount. There are also exemptions available on property if, for example, it is used as as annexe for an elderly relative.
Not everyone has to pay the full amount of council tax due for the band their property is in. There are discounts and disregards that may apply to you. If you think you may qualify for one of these, please download the relevant application form and return it to your local Wiltshire Council office with any evidence required.
If we give you a discount or exemption on your council tax, and your circumstances change, you must tell us immediately: Contact the council tax team.
Discounts and disregards, and their application forms
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.
You can apply for a single person discount 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.
You can apply for this discount via your account (if you do not have an account, read about the benefits of having one, and sign-up, here: Login and manage your council tax online). Alternatively you can use the application form below.
A student is a person who is:
- a foreign language assistant registered with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges; or
- 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
- 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
The course must:
- last for more than 3 calendar months
- average more than 12 hours per week
- be mainly carried out between the hours of 8.00am and 5.30pm
Required evidence: completed application form with a student certificate from the college or university.
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 health
- attending a course that, if successfully completed, will 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.
A discount can be given when there is a disabled person living at the property, 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
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
- Universal Credit (including an amount due to limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work-related activity)
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.
Under council tax legislation a person is considered to be a carer if they are:
- providing care to a person entitled to one of the following qualifying benefits:
- any rate of Attendance Allowance
- the middle or highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance
- any rate of the daily living activity component of Personal Independence Payment
- resident in the same property as the person they are providing care for
- providing care for at least 35 hours per week on average
- not the partner of the person being cared for, or the parent, if the child is under the age of 18
You do not have to be in receipt of a carer's allowance to claim a discount.
To apply for this discount, please complete the application form and return it to the address on the form. You also need to provide:
- evidence of receipt of entitlement to benefits
- proof of address, for example a bank statement with your name and address.
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
- 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.
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 Armed Forces Act 2006
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.
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 on the community to provide for her/his material needs
Required evidence: completed application form.
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:
- New Zealand
- Sierra Leone
- Sri Lanka
- The Netherlands
- Trinidad and Tobago
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.
If you are required to live elsewhere due to an employment contract you may be eligible for a discount.
If you live in, and pay Council Tax for a property which your employer requires you to occupy, and you are liable for Council Tax on a second furnished property, you may qualify for a discount of 50%.
Who qualifies for this discount
The job related second home discount will apply to either:
- the job related dwelling if it is the second home of you or your spouse/ civil partner i.e. not their main residence, or
- to another dwelling if the job related dwelling is your main residence or your spouse/ civil partner and you have another dwelling that is therefore a second home
One of the properties must fall into Class A, B or C shown below:
A. the property is provided to you, or to your spouse/civil partner, because of your employment and it is necessary for proper performance of duties (as stated in your employment contract) i.e. tied accommodation
B. the property is occupied as a residence from which you, or your spouse/civil partner, perform the duties of a Minister of any religious denomination
C. you are in the armed forces and have your main residence in the UK in Ministry of Defence accommodation which is exempt from Council Tax under Class O
This discount is not applicable:
- if you have a second property in the locality of your place of work but you do not perform the duties of your employment from that address. There must be a direct link between your work and the property, such as caretaker, landlord of pub, schoolmaster
- unless both your addresses are in England, Wales or Scotland
- if you are not the liable person for council tax at both properties (unless the property is provided by the ministry of defence or for a minister of religion to perform his duties)
- if you are a director or a partner in the company providing the accommodation (unless you are a full time working director/partner or the company is non-profit making or charitable)
How to apply
Email the council tax team at email@example.com with the requested evidence.
What evidence is needed to submit
Enclose a copy of the relevant parts of any employment contract or agreement that confirms the provision of the property to you or your spouse/civil partner and the requirement to occupy it. Supply a copy of your Council Tax bill for your main residence. You may send us photocopies or email us scanned copies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We cannot assess your claim for this discount unless the above evidence has been provided.
Council tax exemptions
Some properties are exempt from council tax altogether. Your property may be exempt for only a short period, for example, six months, or indefinitely. Find the list of exemptions here:
Properties undergoing alteration or major repair are not eligible for a council tax discount or exemption.
Empty Homes and Premium
There is no discount given to empty homes. This includes homes between lets, second homes or homes that require repairs.
Once a property has been empty and unused for two years or more on it will be subject to a 50% Empty Homes Premium. This means that owners of an empty homes will have to pay 150% of the council tax charge, once this period has been reached. A change in ownership at any stage, does not trigger a new two year period.
There are a two exceptions where the Empty Homes Premium will not 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 their service
- an unoccupied annexe in a property that is being used as part of the main dwelling in the property
Army and service personnel
We are unable to grant a discount at a property 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 (gov.uk).
If you think you may qualify for any kind of discount and need help with your application, please get in touch: Contact the council tax team.
Fair processing statement
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 (gov.uk).
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 (gov.uk).