Council tax explanatory notes - 2019/20

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 below the band of your property. If your property is in band A, you may still be able to get reductions despite that band is the lowest band. These reductions ensure disabled people do not pay more tax because of space needed due to a disability.


The full Council Tax is based on 2 adults living in a property. If only 1 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 Training trainees with an evidence
  • 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 for example 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 or is undergoing structural alteration.

Empty Property

Unoccupied properties no longer receive a discount from the date furniture is removed

Until 31 March 2019, where a property had been empty for more than 2 years the Council charged an additional premium of 50% on top of the full Council Tax charge.

The Government considered changes to the amount levied to tackle the 200,000 empty homes in England and introduced those changes in the Rating (Property In Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018.

On 27 February 2019 the Council approved changes to the long term properties that are empty, and from:

  • 1 April 2019 – properties that have been empty for more than 2 years will attract 100 per cent premium instead of 50 per cent
  • 1 April 2020 – properties that have been empty for more than 5 years will attract 200 per cent premium
  • 1 April 2021 – properties that have been empty for more than 10 years will attract 300 per cent premium.

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
  • Armed UK forces accommodation
  • 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 a maximum period of 6 months in which case an application form needs to be completed for each property
  • 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 annex to an occupied dwelling, where the annex 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 our Discounts and Reductions page or email

Changes in circumstances

Please contact us if your circumstances change. Someone leaving or joining your household or reaching their 18th birthday may affect any discounts you receive. You'll need to advise the council of any discount 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've 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're experiencing exceptional hardship. You can have a look at the benefits provided on our benefits page.

Please also note that 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 to the Council as it is not included within your Universal Credit award.

If you believe you're not liable for the Council Tax, or a discount should've been awarded, please contact who will review your case.

The council will advise you on how to appeal further if you're not satisfied with the outcome.

A detailed leaflet of how your Council Tax is calculated and how the Council Tax collected is distributed and spent, can be found at our Council Tax page.

How to contact us

You can contact us by email at

To receive your council tax bill electronically rather than a paper version, visit our Council Tax page and sign up for paperless bills.

How to pay

12 monthly payments

If you wish to pay your bill over 12 monthly instalments and don’t already do so, please email

Direct Debit

If you'd like to set up a Direct Debit, you can pay on either the 7th or 27th of each month. please visit our Council Tax page

Via the bank – Lloyds TSB

Sort code: 30-00-00

Account number: 02390027.

Please quote your Council Tax account reference number.

Debit card/credit card

Please call the dedicated telephone number 01622 602544. This is a 24hr automated payment system

Via the council’s website

Go to our Council Tax page

Post Office

You can pay using the barcode on your Council Tax bill at any Post Office. Please note the Post Office will charge £2.60 per transaction.

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