Personal Finance

Council tax nightmare – bills hit £2,000 so slash yours NOW with these hidden discounts


The average Band D council tax bill in 2021/22 was £1,898 and could climb another 3.6 percent to £1,966 from April 1, almost £2,000 a year. This would cost the average council taxpayer £163.83 a month, adding to the UK’s cost of living crisis. Yet a host of people ranging from pensioners to students could get a huge discounts if only they knew what was available.

Council tax rates are flying out of control, says Danielle Boxall, media campaign manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance. 

Millions are “sick to the back teeth of shelling out thousands each year for substandard services and town hall fat cats”, she says, but there are also a number of discounts available.

She said councils are “notoriously quiet about these discounts”, so check your local authority’s rules to see if any of them apply to you.

As we reported last week, many pensioners could cut their council tax bill to ZERO. Here are some other ways you can bring your bill down.

Claim the single person’s discount. This gives you 25 percent off your bill if you live alone. It also applies if you live with someone under 18 or are still in full-time education. 

Boxall said: “You can also claim it if you live with someone with a severe mental impairment like dementia, or who is a long-term hospital patient or care home resident.”

Support for those on low incomes. If you get pension credit or income support, you could claim anything from a percentage off your bill to a full exemption. 

This depends on your income and your local authority, so check its website to find out how much you could save.

READ MORE: Council tax to hit £2,000 from April – pensioners can cut bill to zero

Savings for the disabled. If you or someone you live with is permanently disabled, you can apply to go in a lower council tax band, Boxall said. “You must be able to demonstrate that you live in a larger property than you would need were you not disabled. 

“This can be anything from an extra kitchen or bathroom to ensuring there’s enough space to use a wheelchair.”

Discount for live-in carers. Carers can get a 50 percent council tax discount if they are looking after someone who is not their partner, spouse, or child under 18.

Empty property discount. Some empty properties, such as those undergoing major works to make them liveable, or the property of someone who’s moved into a care home, can receive anything from a full to a 50 percent reduction, Boxall added. Typically, this discount is limited to just 12 months.

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Challenge your council tax band. Incredibly, tax bands are based on property prices from 1991. However, getting your council tax band reevaluated requires evidence and is only possible under specific criteria.

You may apply for a reevaluation if your property has been split into flats or become a business, or similar local properties are in a lower band. Find out more at Gov.uk/challenge-council-tax-band.

Second homes or holiday homes discounts. Some properties get a discount of up to 50 percent because no one lives there on a permanent basis. This depends on your local authority (some charge more) so check.

Student discounts. Students do not have to pay council tax whether in private rented accommodation, in halls, or living at home. This includes anyone studying for at least 21 hours a week, for at least a year, or under 20 and studying for a qualification up to A level.

Self-contained annexes. These are eligible for a 50 percent discount if used by the main resident or immediate family. There’s a full exemption if it is occupied by a dependent relative such as those aged 65 or over.

Boxall says many of these rules are restrictive and complicated. “Lower, simpler taxes would be more welcome.”





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