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All council tax liabilities are calculated based on two adults living in a property, however, there may be certain circumstances under which this is not the case. There are a number of discounts that can be applied to council tax depending on the number of people living your home and their circumstances.

Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

Single resident

When calculating a council tax bill for a property, the local authorities assume there are two adults residing in the property. If you are the only resident, a 25% reduction is applied to your council tax bill.

Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

A second property

If you own a second home or holiday home, you will receive a reduction in council tax depending on how much of the year the property is occupied for. Reductions are usually between 10-50% depending on the policy of the local authority where the property is located.

Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

A main property

Under certain circumstances there may be occupants living in your property as their main home, but they will be entitled to a reduction on the council tax bill. This includes:

  • Main/sole residents of people less than 18 years old
  • Student accommodation and halls of residence
  • Housing association trial flats
  • Armed forces accommodation that is owned by the Secretary of State for Defence
Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

Exempt individuals

There are a number of people who are exempt from council tax liabilities and they fall broadly into the following groups:

  • Those 18 or 19 years old attending school or college, or who have just left.
  • Full-time students
  • Full-time student nurses
  • Apprentices
  • Youth Training Trainees
  • Those who are severely mentally impaired
  • Those sectioned under the Mental Health Act (Scotland) Act 1984
  • Those in hospital
  • Those living in residential care
  • Those living in shelters or hostels
  • Care-workers
  • A carer of someone disabled who is not in a personal relationship with them e.g. not a spouse, partner or child
  • Religious ministers
  • Prisoners, on remand and convicted
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Determining how much council tax should be paid depends on how many adults are present in the house and whether anyone else living there falls into one of the above groups.

For example:

Two adults over the age of 18 – the full council tax bill will be due
One adult over 18 – the council tax bill is reduced by 25%
One adult over 18 and one or more students – the council tax bill is reduced by 25%

There are many more situations which could attract council tax reductions. If you are unsure if you or someone living in your home falls into one of the categories above, and you are therefore due a discount, call and speak to one of our advisers on 0300 302 1806 so they can help point you in the right direction.

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There are three ways a council can find out whether you are eligible for a discount.

Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

First, it can use its records to identify that your household should have a discount based on information it already has on previous benefits you received.

Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

Second, it could send out a request to you for more information, and use this to judge whether discounts are due to your household.

Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

Third and finally, you can ask the council directly to consider your case if you believe your household is due a discount.

Discounts are assessed on a daily basis, so if your circumstances change so will your discounts and therefore also your council tax liability. Councils can charge penalty fines of £50 if a householder does not inform them of a change in circumstances within 21 days that could reduce the discount received.