Council Tax Reduction - when to apply
You should apply for Council Tax Reduction (CTR) as soon as possible if you think you are, or will soon be, eligible.
Coronavirus – council tax reduction
If you have less money because of coronavirus, check if you can pay less council tax. You might be able to get a council tax reduction.
Use our check my council tax tool to see if you can get any help with your council tax.
You might be able to get a payment of £130 if you were getting a council tax reduction in April 2021. You might also get it if you don’t have to pay council tax, for example, because you’re living in temporary accommodation.
Find out more about the low income pandemic payment.
Also check to see if you can get any other help to pay your bills if you’re struggling because of coronavirus.
When to apply
You are not yet liable for the council tax
If you are not yet liable for the council tax on the property, for example, because you have not yet moved in, you can make your application in advance. You may already have worked out that you will be eligible, because, for example, you are entitled to certain benefits.
You can apply up to eight weeks in advance.
You are liable for the council tax but not eligible for Council Tax Reduction
If you are liable for council tax but not eligible for Council Tax Reduction (CTR), but you know there is going to be a change in your circumstances, for example, your earnings will drop, you can apply for CTR in advance. How far in advance depends on your age and the age of anyone else who is liable with you for paying the council tax.
If you are applying for Universal Credit you can apply for CTR at the same time.
Reaching the qualifying age for state pension credit
You can apply up to 13 weeks in advance for CTR, if no-one will have reached the qualifying age for state pension credit on the date that you would like the CTR to start.
You can apply up to 17 weeks in advance if someone liable for council tax will have reached the qualifying age for state pension age on the date that you would like the CTR to start.
There is more about the qualifying age for state pension credit on the GOV.UK website.
Can Council Tax Reduction be backdated
When you apply for CTR you can have the reduction backdated by asking for it to be made from a date before your application.
This can happen in certain circumstances. You would have to show that you or a partner were already getting one of the relevant benefits or tax credits for CTR eligibility before your application for CTR. You might find it helpful to get help to ask the local authority to backdate your CTR if you have to explain why you were eligible for it sooner but didn't apply. Find out more about getting advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau.
Where to apply for Council Tax Reduction
You must apply to your local authority for CTR, even if you have made a claim for benefits. You cannot rely on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) passing information to your local authority and automatically starting an application for CTR, even though your local authority may use some figures supplied by the DWP to decide your CTR.
You can find out which local authority deals with your CTR application using the postcode of the property on the GOV.UK website.