Claiming a reduction in council tax.

Contact your local council if you want to apply for council tax reduction. Those who are entitled to support will be given a reduction in their council tax bills.

Council tax reduction was introduced in April 2013 and it was brought in to replace council tax benefit. Council tax reduction is sometimes referred to as council tax support. It is not available in Northern Ireland which has a different system of local property taxation.  

Council tax reduction is means tested and its purpose is to help people who may be having difficulty paying their council tax bills, for example if they are on low incomes or are claiming benefits. Those who are entitled to receive it will be given a discount on their bills and the amount of reduction could be as much as 100% of the total bill.  Council tax reduction schemes are open to owner occupiers and to people who live in rented accommodation, and may be available to both working and unemployed people.  

Entitlement to council tax reduction will be determined by factors such as the income of the applicant and their particular circumstances. For example a person’s savings, pensions, residency status, number of children in the household and whether a person is in receipt of certain benefits can influence a person’s eligibility for support and the amount they are given. The amount of council tax reduction a person can receive will also be determined by the scheme run by their local authorities.

Whereas council tax benefit was a national system and operated in the same way in different parts of the country, council tax reduction is localised and each local authority has the right to devise its own scheme. The reduction schemes are administered by councils and the amount a person can receive will depend on the level of support their local authority provides to people in their circumstances. There may be variations in the degree of support provided by local authorities across the country.

There is a prescribed council tax support system for pensioners. Although council tax reduction schemes are localised, government regulations provide that people of pension credit age must receive the same level of support as they were given under the rules for council tax benefits.

Council tax reduction schemes are available in England Scotland and Wales, but are administered differently in the three countries. Council tax reduction is not available in Northern Ireland because domestic property is taxed by means of a rating system instead of council tax. However people in Northern Ireland might be able to receive assistance to pay rates.

In Wales there is a national council tax reduction scheme and all local authorities run the same system and offer the same level of support. People in receipt of support should be given as much assistance as would have been provided to them under the previous system of council tax benefit. In Scotland an agreement has been made between the Scottish government and councils to ensure that people getting council tax discount will receive as much as under council tax benefits. A national council tax reduction scheme was established by the Scottish government to ensure that the same scheme was operated in each local authority and that the same reductions were provided.

In England however, there is no integrated system of support and each local authority has created its own scheme. The majority of schemes offer a lower degree of protection to claimants than the previous system of council tax benefits. Most English local authorities have set minimum payments where every household even those on the lowest incomes have to make some contribution to council tax.






Council Tax Benefits Charges Rates Bands Exemptions Poll Tax

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