Putting in a Request for a Discount on Your Council Taxes
To receive Council Tax Reduction (CTR) or Second Adult Rebate, you must apply to your local council.
Before you apply, you should determine whether you are eligible for CTR or the Second Adult Rebate.
CTR rules are divided into two sets. You should double-check which rules apply because they affect things like how much CTR you can get and when you can submit the application.
Determine which CTR rules apply.
Which rules apply is usually determined by whether or not you have reached State Pension age.
GOV.UK allows you to check your State Pension age.
The 'working age CTR rules' apply if you are under the State Pension age.
The 'pension age CTR rules' usually apply if you have reached State Pension age.
Even if you have reached State Pension age, if you or your partner receive:
- The Universal Credit system
- Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) based on income
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) based on income
- Income Assistance
The CTR rules for pension age are typically more generous than the CTR rules for working age. If you have a partner and one of you is under State Pension age, the person who has reached State Pension age should usually apply.
When should you apply for CTR?
If you are eligible for CTR, you should apply as soon as possible.
If you know when you'll be eligible, you can apply ahead of time. If you apply early, you will not have to wait as long for CTR when it becomes available.
You can apply for CTR up to 8 weeks before you are required to pay council tax on your home, for example, if you have not yet moved in.
If you already pay council tax, you can apply for CTR up to 13 weeks before you become eligible - for example, if you've recently learned you'll be laid off. If the pension age CTR rules apply to you - or will apply to you by the time you become eligible - you can apply up to 17 weeks early.
Learn how to apply for CTR.
You can apply online or fill out a form. Your local council may also allow you to apply by phone. GOV.UK has a website for your local council that will tell you how to apply.
If you live with another person, only one of you must apply.
If you are already eligible for CTR when you apply, you may be able to have it backdated. The rules differ depending on whether the working age CTR rules or the pension age CTR rules are in effect.
Check your local council's CTR policy if the working age CTR rules apply. You may be able to request that your CTR be backdated if there was a valid reason you couldn't submit the application earlier, such as illness. GOV.UK has the website for your local council.
If the pension age CTR rules apply, you can request that your CTR be backdated for up to three months before you applied. You are not required to explain why you did not claim earlier.
On the CTR application form, request that your CTR be backdated. Backdating may be addressed in the form, which is sometimes referred to as a 'late application.' If there isn't a section on backdating or late applications, write it on a separate piece of paper and send it with your form to the council. Explain why and when your CTR should be backdated.
Sending proof with your application
The website of your local council should specify the type of evidence you must submit. For example, you may be required to send proof of your income and savings.
If you need more time to gather the evidence, mark the application form with 'evidence to follow' and return it as soon as possible.
Following your application, your local council may contact you and request additional evidence. Extra evidence should normally be sent within one month. Inform your local government if:
- You are unable to obtain the requested evidence.
- you require more time, such as if you are ill
If you made a mistake, contact your local council as soon as possible and request that your application be changed. It's best to make your request in writing so that you can keep a copy of your letter or email.
Obtaining the decision of the council
When your local council has all of the necessary information and evidence, it should make a decision and notify you in writing.
If the decision of the council is unclear, write to them as soon as possible and ask them to explain their decision.
If the council's decision is unclear, write to them and request an explanation within one month of the decision.
Typically, the council should send you their reasoning within 14 days.
If you are still unable to pay your council tax,
Because you are struggling, you can request that your local council reduce your council tax. This is referred to as a 'discretionary reduction.'
Whether or not you receive CTR, you can apply for a discretionary reduction. You can get both CTR and a discretionary reduction.
If you have fallen behind on your council tax payments, you can apply for a discretionary reduction to help you catch up.
GOV.UK has a website for your local council that should tell you how to apply for a discretionary reduction.
If the council's website does not indicate how to apply, contact them and request a "discretionary reduction under section 13A(1)(c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992."
Explain your difficulties and send the council evidence, such as:
- a copy of a letter from your doctor if you are ill or disabled
- a copy of a letter from your landlord if you are falling behind on your rent payments
- a list of your monthly income and expenses - you can use our budgeting tool to help you create one.
If you disagree with a CTR or discretionary reduction decision,
Write to your local council, explaining why you disagree and requesting that they reconsider.
You should contact the city council as soon as possible. Check your local council's CTR policy to see how long you have to challenge the decision. GOV.UK has the website for your local council.
Within two months, the council should respond in writing. They should tell you if and why they are changing their mind.
If you continue to disagree with the council's decision, you may be able to file an appeal with the Valuation Tribunal.
Taking an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal
You can only file an appeal after explaining to your local council why you disagree with their decision and requesting that they reconsider. You can file an appeal after they respond, or after two months if they do not respond.
You may file an appeal if either:
you believe the council has broken the rules of the CTR scheme, such as refusing to give you CTR when they should have
The council turned down your request for a discretionary reduction.
You can begin your appeal on the website of the Valuation Tribunal.
You must file an appeal within two months of receiving the council's response. If they do not respond, you must file an appeal within four months of the date you asked them to reconsider. If you do not appeal within the time limit, contact the Valuation Tribunal; they may still allow you to appeal.
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