This blog will answer the question “Can council tax reduction be backdated?” It will discuss the process and reasoning behind the same, along with the time duration for which a reduction claim can be backdated.

Can Council Tax Reduction Be Backdated?

Yes, Council Tax Reduction can be backdated for up to 6 months. The rules and procedures for backdating your council tax reduction claim vary according to the category you fall into. It depends on individual circumstances.

Backdating council tax reduction

When a taxpayer has applied for council tax reduction, if he has not done so on time, he can request the council for the council tax reduction to be backdated. Sometimes, when an application for council tax reduction has been made, it may be possible to award the reduction from a date earlier to the one when the application has been made. This is called backdating council tax reduction.

How do I qualify to backdate my Council Tax Reduction?

For you to qualify so that you can get your council tax reduction to be backdated, you need to give a “good reason” behind your claim being late. You need to have a good cause for the period you want your council tax reduction to be backdated. 

For a council tax reduction application to be backdated, the applicant must show good cause for two purposes.

These two purposes are:

  • For failing to apply at the earlier date, 
  • For failing to apply during the whole of the period for which the applicant is requesting backdating.

Acceptable Reasons for claiming backdating

The claimant who can get council tax reduction backdated needs to include some good reason why he could not have claimed at the earlier requested date. He needs to specify these reasons in the application form, or fill a separate backdated benefit claim form. There is no official definition of ‘good cause’.

A few acceptable ‘good reasons’ to request council tax reduction to be backdated are:

  • That the claimant has been unwell for the entire period and has been unable to manage his personal affairs.
  • That the claimant suffered with mental problems as a result of which he was unable to manage his personal affairs.
  • That the claimant was suffering from severe mental impairment which made him incapable of applying at the prior date.
  • That the claimant suffered a personal trauma or bereavement, due to which he was not in the mental space to carry out such responsibilities.
  • That the claimant had difficulty in communicating in english, and he was unable to or unaware of what to do.
  • That the claimant had difficulty in reading or writing English, as a result of which he could not even ask someone to help him.
  • That the claimant was given incorrect information by a person who can be expected to possess correct knowledge and information. These persons include someone who should know about benefits, for example someone from the Department for Work and Pensions, the Housing/Council Benefit department or an advisor. It does not include just another family member or a friend.
  • That the claimant could not immediately apply after being discharged from a hospital.
  • That the claimant had no one to make claims on hs behalf for whole of the period that he was incapacitated.
  • That the claimant was not aware of the provision of council tax reduction. This might be because of the claimant’s age, inexperience etc.

This list is not exhaustive. A claimant can provide any problem suffered by him which made him incapable of applying at the earlier date, as his reason to get council tax reduction to be backdated.

The chances of the claim request to be accepted increase if the claimant can provide some evidence to prove his reason stated behind backdating. This can be done in the form of a letter or certificate from the respective people to support the reason.

This can include the following:

  • Medical certificate from a doctor
  • Medical certificate from a health worker
  • Hospital bill
  • Letter from a social worker
  • Letter from the housing officer
  • Letter from a support worker

Time limits

The maximum amount of time for applying to get your council tax reduction backdated differs upon the type of claim. The claim is different for Housing benefit claim and council tax reduction claim. This again, is bifurcated into the type of claimant.

The council considers each claim on an individual basis. The factors in consideration behind granting the backdating of council tax reduction are the applicant’s age, health and other circumstances.

Working age claimant

  • The maximum period for backdating a Housing Benefit claim for working age claimants is one month from the date of the application is made and the backdating is requested.
  • The maximum period for a claim for Council Tax Reduction to be backdated for working age customers is six months from the date when the application requesting the backdating has been made.

Pension age claimant

The customers who are of pension age are treated more leniently when they apply for their council tax reduction to be backdated. The maximum time period when both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction can be backdated is three months.

This leniency goes to the limit that a pension age claimant does not even need to make a request to get his council tax reduction backdated. His claim is, by default, treated as one that was sent three months earlier from the date of the claim request. 

No claim to get council tax reduction backdated can be made for more than these amount of time periods.

How to apply

In order to get your council tax reduction backdated, you need to fill the backdated claims section available in the council tax reduction application form, fulfilling other rules according to the category under which you are an applicant.

This application should always be made in writing on an application form.

Council Tax Reduction backdating rules

The rules for applying for council tax reduction to be backdated differ according to the category of claimant. These rules are stiffer for the claimants of working age, and generous for pension age claimants.

Rules for working age claims

For working age claimants the request for backdating can be made by two methods.

The first one is a claim made online.

The second method is making a request in writing or through email.

In this case the applicant must provide the following:

  • Name and address of the claimant,
  • The council tax number or the CTR reference number of the applicant,
  • The duration for which the claimant wants to backdate his claim,
  • The reason behind the delay in making the claim sooner,
  • The evidence supporting the reason,
  • Evidence supporting the income and capital for the period for which backdating is requested.

Rules for pensioner claims

For a claimant of pensionable age, there is no requirement for any good reason or specifications to get council tax reduction backdated.

However, to qualify under this head, both the claimant and their partner should have been of a pensionable age for three months, as well, the claimant should be liable for rent or council tax for three months.

What happens next?

After an application has been received by the authorities, they start the claim procedure from the Monday after they receive the application form.

Based on the information provided by the applicant, it is decided whether or not to backdate a council tax reduction claim. The more information and evidence provided by the applicant, the quicker is the decision made by the council. The council may write and ask the applicant to provide more information, or they may even call the applicant to come for an informal interview, as per the requirement from case to case basis.

It will take at most 21 days to look at the council tax reduction backdating application and send the reply or further action to the applicant. Once a decision has been made, the council shall notify the applicant of their decision.

If the request is successful and the council tax reduction is granted to be backdated, the money shall be issued to the claimant as soon as possible.

If the council comes to the conclusion that the applicant has not given good reasons behind the delay in the application, and that they cannot backdate the council tax reduction claim, they would deny the request. If the request is denied, the same shall be notified to the applicant. The response letter sent to the applicant shall contain the reason behind such a decision, and the further action that can be taken by the applicant if he is dissatisfied with that decision and thinks that it is wrong.

Appeal against a backdated decision

If an applicant does not agree with the council’s decisions and tinks that his council tax reduction backdating request should have been granted, he can write to the council to ask them to look again at their decision. It is best if the applicant states his reason behind backdating in as much detail as possible in such an application. The council should check the request as soon as possible and get back to the applicant.

If the applicant is further not satisfied with the council’s decision, he may make an appeal against the decision. This appeal should always be made in writing. It should be made at the earliest possible time.

The applicant can attach supportive documents along with his application, in support of his request.

He should get a response within two months from the date when the application has been made.

If the applicant does not agree with this outcome, he can make an appeal before the Valuation Tribunal. All these appeals are dealt with by the independent Appeals Officer of the Tribunal. The case is reviewed by an external Tribunal. In case the Valuation Tribunals needs the attendance of the appellant, it shall contact him. The details such as the date, time and place of attendance are informed to the appellant by the assigned officer.

Conclusion 

This blog answered the question “Can council tax reduction be backdated?” You got to know the details regarding whether you can get your council tax reduction to be backdated or not. It clarified in details the time period for which you can claim backdating according to your circumstances, the requesting procedure and all the steps involved for that purpose.

Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comment section below.

FAQs

Can you backdate council tax reduction?

Yes, you can backdate your council tax reduction if you provide sufficient reasons behind the delay in making the application at the proper time.

How far back can council tax be backdated?

For working age claimants, council tax reduction can be backdated up to 28 days, and for pensioner age claimants, council tax reduction can be backdated up to 3 months.

How long does it take to get council tax reduction?

Once the applicant provides all the required details and documents to the local authority, it must make a decision as to granting the CTR or not within 14 days, or as soon as possible.

How do you qualify for council tax reduction?

If you have a low income, or if you have savings less than £16,000, or if you have a dependant staying with you.

Do I have to pay my council tax during Covid?

You might be qualified for council tax reduction if your income has fallen low during the covid period, or if you recently started claiming any state benefits due to the covid pandemic.

Citations

https://www.hastings.gov.uk/benefits/ctaxreduction/backdating/
https://m.luton.gov.uk/Page/Show/Benefits/Council-tax-reduction/recalculating-backdating-council-tax-reduction/Pages/Backdating%20council%20tax%20benefit%20claims%20and%20overpayment.aspx
https://www.sandwell.gov.uk/info/200149/council_tax_reduction/2351/backdating_of_housing_benefitcouncil_tax_reduction
https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/council-and-government/backdated-housing-council-tax-benefit
https://www.southlakeland.gov.uk/council-tax-and-housing-benefit/council-tax-reduction-scheme/council-tax-reduction-claims-and-appeals/backdating-council-tax-reduction/
https://www.bradford.gov.uk/benefits/general-benefits-information/can-my-claim-for-benefit-or-council-tax-reduction-be-backdated/
https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/701/council_tax/412/housing_benefit_and_council_tax_reduction/6
https://www.gravesham.gov.uk/home/council-tax/council-tax-reduction/backdated-council-tax-reduction
https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20176/benefits_information/377/backdate_your_benefits_claim
https://www.eden.gov.uk/council-tax-and-housing-benefit/council-tax-reduction/backdating-your-council-tax-reduction/
https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/benefits-and-grants/backdating/
https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/residents/council-tax-and-benefits/benefits/claiming-backdated-benefits
https://www.southampton.gov.uk/benefits-welfare/housing-benefit/apply-for-housing-council-tax-reduction/backdating-late-applications/
https://www.sandwell.gov.uk/info/200149/council_tax_reduction/2351/backdating_of_housing_benefitcouncil_tax_reduction
https://www.gravesham.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/93659/GBC-HB-claim-form.pdf
https://www.eden.gov.uk/council-tax-and-housing-benefit/council-tax-reduction/council-tax-reduction-rights-of-appeal/

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.