Ways to reduce Council Tax
Council Tax is a compulsory, property-based tax paid to local authorities.
How is Council Tax worked out?
How much Council Tax you pay depends on:
- your local council, which who sets an overall amount each year
- the ‘band’ assigned to your home based on its value. There are 8 Council Tax bands, ranging from A to I. A is the lowest band with the lowest charges and I attracts the highest charges
- whether you’re eligible for a reduced bill.
How can I get a discount on my Council Tax bill?
There are some circumstances where you may get a discount on your Council Tax. The amount of discount varies.
If you live alone
The full Council Tax is calculated assuming there are 2 or more people living in each home – if you live alone, you should apply to your local council for a discount. You could get a 25% discount, regardless of your financial circumstances.
If someone in the property has a severe mental impairment
If someone in the property has a severe mental impairment and is entitled to certain disability benefits, that person may be able to be disregarded for Council Tax purposes. To qualify, a doctor has to provide a certificate confirming that the person has a severe mental impairment.
If you live with someone under 18, a student or a carer
Council Tax isn’t calculated on anyone aged under 18, full-time students, student nurses and some apprentices or trainees.
If you’re a carer
Carers who look after someone in the household for at least 35 hours a week and who meet additional criteria are exempt from Council Tax. To qualify you cannot be the spouse or parent of the person you care for and the person you care for will need to be receiving certain disability benefits.
If your home has features to make it suitable for a disabled person
If your home has features that make it suitable for a disabled occupant, your Council Tax bill will be reduced by one band. For example, if your home is valued in band C you will only have to pay the amount for a band B property. Examples of features that could apply include an additional bathroom or kitchen for the use of a disabled person or enough space inside to use a wheelchair indoors.
If there are major changes to your home’s value
You may be able to get your home moved to a lower Council Tax band if your home has decreased in value. For example, if you’ve made home adaptations for a disabled person, or if a motorway is built nearby. Contact your local office of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) if you think your home’s Council Tax band should be changed
If you change the way you pay
Although the total year’s amount will stay the same, you can request that your bill be split over 12 months (instead of 10 months) so that each month’s bill is less. Alternatively, if you can afford to pay a year’s worth in one lump sum, check if you can get a discount.
Apply for Council Tax Reduction
You may be eligible to claim Council Tax Reduction, if you’re on a low income or claiming certain benefits.
Contact your local authority to find out if you’re eligible for any discounts and how you can apply.
Could I be exempt from paying Council Tax?
You won't pay Council Tax if:
- you live in a care home or hostel
- you've gone into hospital and your home is unoccupied
- your home is unoccupied because someone is living elsewhere to provide or receive personal care
- your home is unoccupied and needs major repairs (for up to 12 months)
- your home is unoccupied for another reason (for up to 6 months)
Talk to your local authority about your eligibility and how you can apply for an exemption.
What if I can’t pay my Council Tax bill?
Council Tax is compulsory and must be paid. If you don’t pay it or you fall behind on your payments, the council will send you a reminder letter. If you don’t pay after a few reminders then the council can take you to court.
If you're struggling to pay your Council Tax because of financial difficulties, then seek advice as soon as you can to get some help. Talk to your local Age Cymru, the Age Cymru Advice Line or Citizens Advice.
Councils may have a hardship fund available for people in financial difficulty. Contact your local council to find out what funds might be available, if any, and how to apply.
What should I do next?
For more information call Age Cymru Advice on 08000 223 444