Council Tax explanatory notes

People with disabilities

If you, or someone who lives with you needs a room, an extra bathroom or kitchen, extra space for a wheelchair to be used indoors you may be entitled to a reduced Council Tax bill.

The bill may be reduced to that of a property in the band immediately below the band of your property. If your home is in band A, you may still be entitled to a reduction even though there is no lower band in the valuation list.

These reductions ensure disabled people do not pay more tax because of space needed due to a disability.


Full Council Tax is based on two adults living in a property. If only one adult lives in the property the Council Tax may be reduced by 25%.

The following people do not count when deciding how many people live in your home:

  • full time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth trainees
  • non-British spouses of students
  • people living permanently in care homes or hospitals
  • people who are severely mentally impaired
  • people in hostels for the homeless or night shelters
  • 18 and 19-year-olds who are at or have just left school or college, or in respect of whom child benefit is payable
  • care workers working for low pay usually charities
  • people caring for someone with a disability who is not their spouse, partner or child under 18
  • members and dependants of international headquarters and defence organisations
  • members and dependants of visiting forces
  • people with diplomatic privilege or immunity
  • members of religious communities
  • people in prison, unless this is for not paying Council Tax or a fine

Discounts for annexes

  • annexes occupied by non-dependant relatives are subject to a 50% discount
  • annexes being used as part of the main residence are subject to a 50% discount

A discount is no longer given for a property that requires or is undergoing major repair work to render it habitable, or is undergoing structural alteration.

If an annexe is occupied by a dependent relative there is an exemption. A dependent relative is a person over the age of 65, a person who is severely mentally impaired or a person who is substantially and permanently disabled (whether by illness, injury, congenital deformity or otherwise).

Care leavers

If you've left care, and Kent County Council has appointed you a personal adviser, please pass your bill to them to arrange payment.

Further information on their local offer is available at the Kent County Council's Care leavers local offer page.

Empty properties

We can charge you an ‘empty homes premium’ if your home is empty and unfurnished for 12 months or more. You will pay this on top of your council tax. The premium can cost up to:

  • 100% of your council tax if your home is empty for over a year (this was originally two years, however, under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 this has been cut to 12 months with effect from 1 April 2025 as approved by Full Council on 21 February 2024)
  • 200% of your council tax if your home is empty for over 5 years
  • 300% of your council tax if your home is empty for over 10 years

We will consider the home empty until you furnish and occupy it for more than six weeks in a row. If your property is already exempt from council tax, you will not be charged the empty homes premium.

You will not have to pay if the property is an annex, or if you are in the armed forces and need to move into armed forces accommodation as part of your work.

Exempt properties

Occupied properties are exempt in the following cases:

  • halls of residence for students, dwellings occupied by students, school or college leavers or certain spouses or dependants of students
  • accommodation for the UK armed forces
  • members and dependants of visiting forces
  • dwellings occupied only by persons under 18
  • dwellings occupied by the severely mentally impaired
  • dwellings which are the main residence of a person with diplomatic privilege or immunity
  • occupied annexes dependant relative

Unoccupied properties are exempt in the following cases:

  • properties owned by charities and used for charitable purposes for up to 6 months
  • caravan pitches and moorings for boats
  • the person who was liable for the Council Tax has died
  • occupation is prohibited by law
  • the dwelling is held for a minister of religion
  • left unoccupied by a student
  • in possession of the mortgagee
  • left empty by a bankrupt
  • an unoccupied annexe to an occupied dwelling, where the annexe cannot be let separately without breach of planning
  • left empty by a person living in a hospital, hostel or care home
  • left empty by a person needing personal care
  • left empty by a person providing personal care

The information provided gives a brief description of discounts and exemptions available. For full information please visit our Discounts and Reductions page.

Changes in circumstances

You can tell us about a change in your circumstances on our changes in circumstances page.

Someone who leaves or joins your household or reaches their 18th birthday may affect any discounts you receive. You'll need to tell us about any discounts you think you may be entitled to.

If you do not tell us about changes, you may have to pay a penalty of £70.

If you've applied for Council Tax Support because you're on a low income and the amount you have been awarded does not meet your full Council Tax liability, you may be entitled to further assistance under Section 13A of the Council Tax regulations.

If you are experiencing exceptional hardship. Please visit our problems paying Council Tax webpage to complete an income and expenditure form which will be passed to the team to see if we can help you.

If you've applied for or are in receipt of Universal Credit and are liable for Council Tax, you must make a separate application for Council Tax Support as it's not part of Universal Credit. To apply visit our apply for Council Tax support webpage.

If you think you're not liable for the Council Tax or a discount should have been awarded, please contact us and we'll review your case.

If you're not happy with the outcome we'll advise you how to appeal it.

How to contact us

If you have any further queries visit our contact us page

To receive your bill by email, rather than in the post

You can sign up for paperless bills using our form.

Sign up for paperless bills

How to pay

You can find out more about the different ways to pay your Council Tax on our pay your Council bill page.