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Apply for discounts and exemptions

If you think you may be entitled to a discount or that your property is exempt for one or more of the reasons stated, you can apply online from this page. If you claim a discount, you will still have to pay the amount demanded on your bill until we make a decision on your claim.

1. Single person discount

If you live on your own you are entitled to a 25% discount off your annual bill.


When considering the number of adults living in a property, we do not count certain people. These include:

  • full-time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth-training trainees
  • patients living in hospital
  • people who are being looked after in care homes
  • people who are severely mentally impaired
  • people staying in certain hostels or night shelters
  • 18 and 19 year olds who are at or have just left school
  • care workers working for low pay, usually for charities
  • people caring for someone with a disability who is not a husband or wife, partner or child under 18
  • members of visiting forces and certain international institutions
  • foreign diplomats and certain members of international organisations
  • members of religious communities (for example, monks and nuns)
  • people in prison (except those in prison for not paying their Council Tax or a fine).

A single person discount remains on your account for the entire period that you are a single occupier. All single occupancy are reviewed every two years and if we do not receive confirmation from you that you are still a single occupier then the discount will be removed.

Remove a single person discount.

If you have someone staying with you for a short period of a few weeks then you do not need to inform us. If they are staying with you long term then you should notify our office as soon as possible.

2. Student discounts and exemptions

You will need to upload a student certificate or written confirmation from the educational establishment confirming the course being studied, start and end date of the course and the number of hours study required per week.


If everyone who lives in a property is a full time student the property is exempt from council tax.

If the property is occupied by both students and non-students, then a reduction of 25% may apply.

You will usually be considered a full-time student if:

  • you are enrolled to undertake a full time course of education at a college, university or other institutional establishment providing course of further higher education for at least one academic or calendar year
  • your attendance is required for at least 24 weeks in the year
  • study for at least 21 hours per week during term time


  • if you are under 20 years of age under taking a qualifying course of education up to (but not above) A level standard or equivalent
  • it must be more than three months and undertaken for at least 12 hours per week

3. Second home discount



A council tax discount is not available for second homes (furnished properties that are not used as a main residence.)

A 50% discount is still available in the following circumstances:

• The council tax payer must live elsewhere in job related accommodation because of the terms and conditions of their employment, for example a caretaker or minister of religion. It also applies to members of the armed forces who own second homes in England but who live in separate accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence in either England, Scotland or Wales. The discount does not apply to a second home you are occupying because living there is convenient for your work.

• The second home is a pitch occupied by a caravan or a mooring occupied by a boat.

4. Member of visiting forces, international organisations or diplomats

You may need to send us a copy of the military ID card, TX19 form.


5. Severely mentally impaired discount

People who are severely mentally impaired are exempt from council tax. You will need to send us proof of benefit entitlement.



6. Patients in care homes and hospitals

If someone in the household is now registered in a care home or is in hospital permanently and does not intend to return to the household, please complete the form.


7. Disabilities discount

The disabled band reduction scheme aims to ensure that disabled people do not pay more Council Tax because they live in a larger property than they would have needed if they were not disabled. Having a disability does not automatically entitle you to a reduction.

In summary, the requirements for a reduction are that the property must be the main residence of at least one disabled person and it must have at least one of:

  • an additional bathroom or kitchen
  • any other room (not being a toilet) which is mainly used by the disabled person, or
  • enough space for the use of a wheelchair - if the wheelchair is for outdoor use only, this will not count

The room or the wheelchair must also be essential or of major importance to the disabled person's well-being, due to the nature and extent of their disability.

'Disabled person' in this context means a person who is substantially and permanently disabled. The disabled person can be either an adult or a child and does not have to be responsible for paying the Council Tax bill.

An extra room does not need to have been specially built, but your home will not qualify for a reduction unless the 'essential or of major importance' test above is met. Simply rearranging rooms (for example, having a bedroom on the ground floor rather than the first floor) is unlikely to make your home eligible for a reduction.

What reduction you may get

If your home is eligible, your bill will be reduced to that of a property in the next Council Tax band down. For example, a Band D property will be charged a B and C rate. Even if your property is in Band A (the lowest band) you will still receive a reduction. It will be the same in cash terms as the reductions for homes in B, C or D.


Remember that before you apply the property must have been adapted for the use by the disabled resident with at least one of the special features mentioned above.

An appointment will be made with you to meet you at your home once we receive your application form so that you will be able to show our representative the adaptations that have been made. After that, we will consider your application then write and inform you of the decision.

If you would like any of the information provided here explained in more detail please telephone 0343 178 2743 and one of our advisors will be pleased to help you.

8. Child benefit discount

If someone in the household is 18 and child benefit is paid please complete the form.


9. Careworker discount

You will need to send us a care worker certificate or written confirmation from the care workers to confirm their status and salary as a care worker.


10. Carers discount

You will need to send us evidence that the person receiving care is entitled to benefits.


11. Prisoners discounts and exemptions

If someone in the household is/was detained in prison for any reason other than non-payment of council tax or a fine.


12. Apprentices discount

You will need to send us written confirmation from the apprentice's employer to confirm the apprentice is undertaking training leading to a National Vocational Qualification, that the salary is less than £160 per week and the start and end date of the apprenticeship.


13. Youth training trainee discount

You will need to send us written confirmation from the training provider to confirm the trainee is undertaking a government sponsored youth training scheme and the start and finish dates of the training scheme.


14. Members of religious communities discount

You will need to send us a deed of covenant or similar document to confirm the named person has no income or capital of their own.


15. Self contained annexes exemptions and discounts

With effect from 1 April 2014 an annex occupied as the sole or main residence of a relative (as prescribed in the Council Tax (Reductions for Annexes) Regulations 2013) of the main property can qualify for a discount of 50%.




16. Long term empty properties

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) (Amendment) (No.2) (England) Regulations 2012 gave billing authorities the discretion to levy an empty homes premium, payable on properties that have been left empty and unfurnished for two years or more.

As this premium applies to the property, a change of ownership or tenancy of an empty property will not affect the premium. If, when you purchased or leased your property it had already been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, you will have to pay the premium. The additional charge can only be removed by bringing your property back into use.

If the premium affects you, it will show on the Council Tax bill that we send you. 

The Council has determined that the premium in Westminster will be levied at the highest level allowed for by the legislation which for 2020/21 is:

  • 2-5 Years        100% premium
  • 5 Years +        200% premium

There are two types of property that are not affected by the premium:

  • property which is left empty by a member of the armed services, who is away from the property as a result of their service
  • property which forms part of a single property, for example, an annexe.

If your bill shows a long-term empty premium charge and you think that your property is in one of these categories, please contact us straight away.

How to end the premium charge:

To end the premium charge, you must bring the property back into use.  If you bring your property back into use, please contact us so we can arrange an appointment to visit your property.  If the property has been occupied for a short period of time, we will treat it as not having been occupied for the purposes of calculating the two-year period.

17. Dwellings left unoccupied by charities

If the owner/leaseholder is a registered charity you will need to send us a copy of the index slip stating the objective of the charity.
If the owner/leaseholder is not a charity, you will need to detail the organisation's aims and objectives and send us the latest set of accounts.


18. Exemptions


Council Tax discount is not available for empty properties. An empty property may qualify for an exemption if it meets one of the criteria below:

Here are the reasons why a property could be exempt from Council Tax:

  • Class B - It is vacant (furnished or unfurnished) and is owned by a charity. Exempt for up to six months.  Apply
  • Class D - It is vacant ( furnished or unfurnished) because the person liable to pay Council Tax is in prison.  Apply
  • Class E - It is vacant (furnished or unfurnished) because the person liable to pay Council Tax is a permanent patient in a hospital or a care home.  Apply
  • Class F - It is vacant (furnished or unfurnished) because the person liable to pay Council Tax has died and probate or letters of administration have not yet been granted. Exempt for up to six months after probate or letters of administration are granted.  Apply
  • Class G - It is vacant (furnished or unfurnished) because nobody is allowed to live there by law.  Apply
  • Class H - It is vacant (furnished or unfurnished) and a minister of religion will be moving in.  Apply
  • Class I - It is vacant (furnished or unfurnished) because the person liable to pay Council Tax is receiving care elsewhere (but not in a residential care home which would come under class E).  Apply
  • Class J - It is vacant (furnished or unfurnished) because the person liable to pay Council Tax is caring for someone elsewhere.  Apply
  • Class K - It is vacant (furnished or unfurnished) because the person liable to pay Council Tax is a student living elsewhere to study.  Apply
  • Class L - It is vacant (furnished or unfurnished) because it has been repossessed.  Apply
  • Class M - It is a hall of residence for students. Apply
  • Class N - It is lived in only by students.  Apply
  • Class O - It is owned by the Ministry of Defence and lived in only by members of the armed services.  Email
  • Class P - It is lived in only by visiting service personnel.  Email
  • Class Q - It is left vacant by a bankruptcy trustee (furnished or unfurnished).  Email
  • Class R - It is an empty caravan pitch or a boat mooring.  Email
  • Class S - It is lived in only by people who are under 18. Email
  • Class T - It is a vacant part (furnished or unfurnished) of another property and may not be let separately due to planning restrictions.  Email
  • Class U - It is lived in only by people who are severely mentally impaired.  Apply
  • Class V - It is lived in by a foreign diplomat or a member of certain international organisations.  Apply
  • Class W - It is an annexe occupied by a dependant relative.  An annexe occupied by a relative who is a non-dependant is subject to a 50% discount.  Apply

Under Section 13A of the Local Government Act 1992 the Council may reduce the amount of Council Tax you are required to pay. The Council may reduce the amount of Council Tax in an individual case or in a class of cases where national discounts and exemptions do not apply.

If your bill shows that you have an exemption or discount, you must tell us about any change in circumstance that affects your entitlement. If you do not do this, you may have to pay a penalty.
Last updated: 30 April 2020