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Can you get Council Tax Reduction

This advice applies to Scotland

If you have a low income, you might be able to get help to pay less Council Tax from a Council Tax Reduction scheme. 

If you are liable to pay Council Tax, you might be able to get 1 of the following:

  • Council Tax Reduction - if you get certain benefits or have a low income 
  • Council Tax bands E to H relief scheme - if you have a low income and you live in a home in council tax band E to H
  • second adult rebate scheme – if you live with another adult, who is not your partner, and they’re not liable for council tax and have a low income.

The scheme you get will depend on which one gives you the most money off of your Council Tax bill. 

You can use an online benefits calculator to check how much reduction you might be entitled to. You can find a list of benefits calculators on GOV.UK.

To find out more about Council Tax Reduction (CTR), contact your local council. You can find your local council on mygov.scot.

Before applying for a Council Tax Reduction

Before you look at whether you can apply for a reduction to help with your Council Tax bill, you must check:

  • who's liable to pay Council Tax - usually the person named on the bill
  • if you can get help with your water and sewerage charges - find out more about paying for water and sewerage
  • if the bill can be reduced because you are exempt
  • if you can apply for a discount - for example, if you live on your own or are disabled.

In some circumstances, the property you live in should be exempt from paying Council Tax. For example, if you're a student and live only with other students your property might be exempt from Council Tax.

Find out more about when a home is exempt from Council Tax or you can get a discount

Check if you can pay less Council Tax

You might be eligible to pay less Council Tax if you:

  • live in the property as your main home - sometimes you may have to work elsewhere but the property where you pay council tax is your main home
  • are liable to pay Council Tax - usually the person named on the bill
  • have income below a certain amount - eligibility can also be affected by your household circumstances
  • have capital below a certain amount - capital includes savings and some other types of property. If you’re part of a couple, the capital of both of you is taken into account. Your capital must be £16,000 or less, unless you’re entitled to the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit
  • meet the residence rules - be in Great Britain with the correct rights to be here.

Check if you can apply for Council Tax Reduction

You can apply for Council Tax Reduction (CTR) if you’re liable for the Council Tax bill and you get:

  • guarantee credit part of Pension Credit, either on its own or with the savings credit. You can apply for full CTR even if your weekly entitlement to the guarantee credit is too small to be payable
  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment Support Allowance – you’ll get maximum Council Tax Reduction less any non-dependent deduction.

If another adult who is not your partner lives with you, your maximum Council Tax Reduction might be less because they are expected to contribute to the Council Tax bill. This is called a 'non-dependent deduction'.

If you do not get one of these benefits, you can still apply for a CTR if you have a low income and capital below £16,000.

If your client has capital below £16,000

If your client has capital below £16,000, the way tariff income from it is calculated depends on which rules are used. For example:

  • if the pension age Council Tax Reduction rules are used - £1 per week for every £500 (or part of £500) between £10,000 and £16,000
  • if the working age rules Council Tax Reduction rules are used - £1 per week for every £250 (or part of £250) between £6,000 and £16,000. 

Calculating Council Tax Reduction 

Find out more about calculating Council Tax Reduction on the CPAG website

If you are a student, special rules apply to you. Find out more about Council Tax Reduction and students.

Council Tax Reduction and water and sewerage charges

You should also get a reduction on your public water and sewerage charges on your Council Tax bill if you:

  • get Council Tax Reduction (CTR) 
  • do not get any other discount.

The maximum reduction is 35%. This means you still need to pay up to 65% of the charge for water and sewerage.

The amount of reduction on your bill depends on the amount of CTR you get. The local council should apply this automatically to your bill.

For example, if you get 50% Council Tax Reduction you will have a reduction applied to your water and sewerage charges. You will get 35% reduction on the water and sewerage charges because that is the maximum possible reduction.

Check if you can get Council Tax bands E to H relief 

You will be eligible for bands E to H relief if all of the following apply:

  • your home is in bands E to H, this will be stated on your Council Tax bill
  • you live in the property as your main home
  • you are liable to pay Council Tax
  • your capital is below a certain amount
  • you meet the residence rules
  • your income is below a certain amount.

There are special income rules for bands E to H relief and your reduction is calculated in a different way from main Council Tax Reduction.

You can apply for bands E to H relief in the same way you apply for Council Tax Reduction. Your council will check which one will give you the biggest discount.

Check if you can get Second Adult Rebate 

If you live with another adult who is not your partner, you might be able to claim Second Adult Rebate.

The other person must:

  • have income below a certain amount
  • be 18 or over
  • not pay rent
  • not be responsible to pay Council Tax in their own right in your property, for example, joint tenant
  • not be someone who would be exempt if they lived on their own, for example, a student or care leaver.

You can apply for Second Adult Rebate in the same way you apply for Council Tax Reduction. Your council will check which one will give you the biggest discount.

You’ll need to give your council information about the income of the other person. Your capital and income will not be taken into account.

If you don't give information about the other person's income the local council won't be able to work out if you are able to claim the rebate.

Find out more about other ways to have your Council Tax bill reduced from discounts.

Council Tax discounts

Find out more about Council Tax discounts.

Check if you meet the residence rules

To be eligible for a reduction in your Council Tax, you must:

  • have the right to reside
  • not be subject to immigration control
  • satisfy, or be exempt from the habitual residence test, which can apply to British citizens
  • be present in Great Britain.

You’ll have the right to reside for CTR purposes if you are a worker, self-employed, or a family member of such a person.

You are also eligible if you:

  • have refugee status
  • have humanitarian protection
  • have discretionary leave or exceptional leave to remain, granted outside the immigration rules
  • have been granted leave under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy, the ex gratia scheme for locally employed staff in Afghanistan or the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme
  • were living in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022 and left because of the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022. You must have been granted leave or a right of abode in the UK
  • are a Crown servant or member of the forces posted overseas
  • have leave to remain under the Destitution Domestic Violence concession
  • have leave under the Displaced Persons (Temporary Protection) Regulations 2005
  • are a national of a country that has ratified the European Social Charter (ESC), or the European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance (ECSMA), and you are lawfully present in the UK and habitually resident in the Common Travel Area
  • are on income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

If you're from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

If you want to apply for Council Tax Reduction (CTR), you'll need to show you have a right to reside and are habitually resident.

If you have settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you automatically have a right to reside.

If you have pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you cannot apply for CTR unless you have another right to reside.

Find out more about showing you have a right to reside and are habitually resident.

If you're away from Great Britain

You are treated as present in Great Britain if you are:

  • a member of HM Forces or a Crown servant posted overseas
  • an aircraft worker or a mariner with a UK contract of employment
  • a continental shelf worker in designated EU or Norwegian waters, for example on an oil rig.

If you are the partner of someone treated as present in Great Britain due to their employment and you are with them, you are also treated as being present in Great Britain for a Council Tax Reduction (CTR).

If you are away from Great Britain but intending to return, you can still get a CTR if you are away:

  • for any reason for up to 1 month
  • for the second month that you’re away if it is due to the death of a close relative of you or your partner, and your local council is satisfied that it would be unreasonable to expect you to return within the first month
  • for up to 6 months for medical care for you, your partner or child.

You should tell your local council about changes in your circumstances that might affect your CTR. Find out more about reporting changes in your circumstances that might affect CTR

Find out more about immigration control and habitual residence.

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