What happens when you omit an occupant from your council tax declaration?

This blog answers the question “What happens when you omit an occupant from your council tax declaration?’’ It looks at how the residents of a council are all registered in official records with their addresses. 

What happens when you omit an occupant from your council tax declaration?

Missing out on someone living with you will quite surely change your council tax entitlement and once it is discovered, council tax will recover the underpaid amount by adding it to your next bill. 

So Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs still knows the number of people living in a house even if you omit them from your Council Tax returns. And similarly HMRC also knows if you are not eligible to avail the single person allowance.

If that occupant was not mentioned on council tax declarations until they turned 18, they must be added as soon as they reach the legal age. Everyone living in a council, 18 years and older is liable to pay full council tax for the ownership of property in their name.

In the case that the new cohabitants of property have moved in with you recently, they need to be mentioned on your next year’s council tax returns.

Does something like a total exemption or an abatement of the council tax exist?

In tax matters, an abatement is a reduction, a relief or even an exemption from tax. You can benefit from a tax reduction under different circumstances. It can be initiated by the tax authorities or be granted by a claim or a request for a tax rebate on your part. 

What is a tax rebate?

A tax rebate is a reduction applied and/or granted to a taxpayer by the tax authorities. It is also referred to as abatement or even an exemption depending on the amount of the abatement. The reduction can therefore be total or partial depending on each situation. There are two categories of tax reductions: 

  • the automatic reduction which is granted at the initiative of the tax authorities without you having to take any action, as may be the case for a reduction in local taxes for example;
  • the tax relief obtained at the request of the taxpayer if he/she considers that an error has been made in the calculation of his/her tax, if his/her personal situation has changed or in case of a request for a tax rebate.

In the first case, i.e. when HMRC decides to automatically apply a tax rebate, this will take the form of a relief or a total reduction of your tax. 

For what is called “la remise gracieuse” or simply when applying for a tax reduction, you will have to justify the merits of your request and be in special circumstances such as 

to be in a delicate financial situation that does not allow you to pay your income tax, your housing tax or your property tax.

Paying too much tax is never a desirable situation! However, many taxpayers, unaware of the optimizations allowed by HMRC do not benefit from the tax reductions they owe! Indeed, when you file your tax return online, you can deduct certain fees and charges from your declared income.

I am living on my own, am I entitled to a discount?

The council tax bill requires at least 2 adults to be living on a property

So according to this principle such applicants who are single are entitled to a 25% tax discount and those who also fall into the following categories are entitled to a 50% Tax Discount :

  • A single parent living with your children (who don’t count for tax purposes as they are under 18)
  • Someone working under a  government training scheme or an apprenticeship scheme
  • A full-time student
  • A Nursing School Student
  • Foreign Language translators registered with the British Council 
  • Anyone who is seriously mentally handicapped 
  • Anyone staying in accommodations such as these : The Salvation Army, The Marylebone Project
  • Someone in prison
  • A person living in a bail or probation hostel
  • A person who is living in a hospital for an indefinite period of time or undergoing treatment there for a number of years
  • A foreign envoy

All of these above mentioned people need to be living alone as well 

You can also get a discount for living with any of these people :

  • People who have Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons disease
  • Military Members from a country other than the UK 
  • People pursuing full time jobs in property premises; should be residents for at least 35 hours a week
  • Monks and Nuns; which applies to other monks or nuns living with them in the monastery who can get up to a 50% tax discount. They are naturally counted as single persons

What if I forget to add someone to my council tax bill, for up to a year after they start living with me?

You should inform council tax of any new occupants of your residence as soon as possible. The new persons change the calculation of your council tax benefits. The additional income they contribute to your own cannot be overlooked for the entire tax year.

You will be charged for their occupancy through fines for underpayment of council tax by HMRC, which is already aware of personal addresses through access to electoral records. So you might be sent an investigation letter or notice during the year for reporting this extra resident on your property.

Can I add someone who is in detention to my council tax bill?

No, normally people living in detention for long periods of time are not counted as residents for council tax purposes. But in the case where the period of detention is short such as the following:

  • Detained under the deportation provisions of the Immigration Act 1971
  • Detained in a prison hospital etc
  • Detained under the mental health Act 1983
  • Imprisoned, detained or in custody for more than 48 hours under the Army Act, Airforce Act 1955 or Naval discipline Act 1957

In the aforementioned cases, the person can be added to the council tax bill, especially if they are also owners of the property. A disregard applies given these circumstances if they have not been detained for failing to pay council tax or failing to pay a fine.

People who are the sole residents of a property who are in long term detention have their property exempt from council tax

Can I add and remove people from my council tax bill simultaneously and if a mentally impaired resident moves out and another one moves in to take his place, will I still count as living alone?

Yes, of course, you can add and remove residents simultaneously from your council tax bill. In the case that they are both severely mentally impaired and proven so by a medical practitioner, you will get the same tax reduction as before (around 50% of the bill).

In your case, as you were getting the Single Person Discount, this tax reduction will still be applicable to your bill. Mentally impaired persons are disregarded when living with one other person, who pays the council tax bill.

In what cases can I receive a tax rebate notice?

You can receive a tax reduction notice when HMRC considers that they have made an error in your favor. Here are some examples of situations: 

  • an error in the calculation of your income tax; 
  • an incorrect amount of your local taxes; 
  • the sending of two tax notices instead of one.

As soon as the tax authorities notice these inaccuracies and are in a position to make a correction, you will receive a tax adjustment notice. This is done exclusively on the initiative of the tax authorities and you do not have to take any action.

If you make a claim for tax relief yourself, you should know that the administration has a period of approximately 6 months to respond before sending you a tax relief notice.

What is the council income tax rebate?

There are two possible configurations for income tax rebate 

  • it can be automatic if the tax authorities notice the error; 
  • it can come following the declaration by the taxpayer of a change of situation or the finding of an error by the tax authorities.

Since the implementation of the withholding tax, you can report any changes in your situation that could affect your withholding rate 


This blog post addressed the question “What happens when you omit an occupant from your council tax declaration?” The owner of the property cannot escape the responsibility of being named on the council tax bill. 

If you are falsely getting the single person allowance or other benefits for living alone then council tax will catch you pretty soon. Council tax gets to know through HMRC (which has access to the electoral register with voters’ addresses) the true number of adult occupants of each property.

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What Happens When You Omit An Occupant From Your Council Tax Declaration?

How do I report council tax fraud?

You can report council tax fraud by completing a fraud report form. You can directly report someone for fraud to HMRC by calling the HMRC tax evasion hotline: 0800 788 887 or by filling in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs online form for tax fraud. You must provide as much information as you possibly can about the person you are reporting which includes their name, their address, and the type of fraud they are committing

I have received a phone call saying I have overpaid my council tax, is this right?

No this is a scam, do not give out any of your personal information to any such caller. They only plan to misuse your Name, Telephone numbers or other account numbers for fraudulent activities. If you have overpaid council tax and can claim a refund, we will write to you.

The Council Tax Overpayment Refund scam has claimed many victims and needs to be looked out for. Report your case immediately to the Action Fraud Police

Why have I received a Reminder/Final Notice/Summons?

A final notice is issued if you fail to make the payments of an installment by the date they are due. The Reminder Notice tells you to bring your account up to date within 10 days

The final notice cancels your monthly installments and you have to pay the entire year council tax together as a lump sum.

If the payment is not made within 7 days of the reminder notice a summons may be issued.

If you owe council tax £5000 or more, insolvency proceeding may be initiated against you



Bailiff Support

Report Council Tax Fraud