A full council tax is calculated under the assumption of two adults sharing premises. In case they are partners or spouses, both residents share joint liability for council tax payments.

Council tax calculations also take into consideration the valuation band assigned to the premises as per the Valuation Office Agency as well as any benefits or allowances extended to the residents via state benefits.

Once the total annual bill is calculated and applicable discounts accounted, it is broken down into 10 monthly instalments that are payable between April and January.

Council tax is a mandatory tax that applies to all residents (whether homeowners or tenants) in England, Scotland and Wales. Council tax debt is a priority debt and if caused deliberately, can lead to severe difficulties for the defaulting parties.

What Is A Single Person Discount On Council Tax?

If you live alone or are the only adult in the household, you are eligible for a 25 per cent discount on your council tax bills (irrespective of your income or savings). This is a single person discount on council tax. To avail of this discount, you must inform your local council office of your circumstances so that your bills may be adjusted appropriately. To apply for a council tax benefit, click here Apply for Council Tax Reduction – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

To learn more about council tax benefits, we will focus on the following areas through this article:

  • How Is Council Tax Calculated?
  • How To Avail a Discount On The Council Tax Bill?
  • How Do I Know If I Am Entitled To An Income Based Council Tax Benefit?
  • Who Is Eligible For Council Tax Benefits?

How Is Council Tax Calculated?

The amount that a resident must pay as council tax may vary across different local councils as they follow individual schemes. However, all of them consider the following factors while assigning an amount:

  • The CTR Scheme being at is followed by the local council. This determines the overall rate of council tax to be paid by residents.
  • The band is assigned to residents’ property through a valuation expert. Currently, there are 8 bands spread across A – H; where band A is assigned the lowest value and band H is assigned the highest rate. To check your council tax band, click on this link Check your Council Tax band – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • Any specific condition(s) that qualify residents for a discount on their council tax bill.

How To Avail a Discount On The Council Tax Bill?

Whether residents own or rent their homes, they may qualify for a council tax reduction in their bill, if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • living alone: regardless of financial circumstances, living alone is enough reason to avail of a 25 per cent discount as council tax rates are established on the assumption that each house will comprise of two adults.
  • living with a full-time student: full-time students and student nurses are exempt from council tax bills. Sharing a residence with them qualifies you for a discount.
  • living with someone below 18 years of age: since council taxes are applicable on adults, anyone below the age of 18 does not qualify to be counted as a member of the shared household where council tax is levied.
  • being a carer: while there are additional criteria to be considered her, being a carer for another member of the household for at least 35 hours per week qualifies the individual for a CTR. 
  • changes in home value: if there is a change in the surroundings of your residential property causing a full-time decrease in its value, the council tax band may be lowered by a valuation expert, enabling you to enter a lower band with reduced council tax bills due.
  • the desired mode of payment: while council tax payments are spread over 10 monthly instalments, should you require a change such as 12-month instalments, it will reduce the monthly amount to be paid. On the other hand, should you prefer to pay the annual amount in a lump sum, a bulk payment may also qualify you for a discount.

How Do I Know If I Am Entitled To An Income Based Council Tax Benefit?

While an online benefits calculator Benefit Calculator (eden.gov.uk) may prove to be useful in calculating council tax, it may also help claimants know the criteria that may apply to their specific circumstances. These relate to certain demographic data including the number of children per household and the age bracket that claimants belong to.

A household without children:

Single individuals between the ages of 18-24 may be eligible for a council tax reduction of between £153 to £200; depending on the band they are eligible for (bands vary from A to D). Meanwhile, couples belonging to the same category will be eligible for a reduction of £243 to £306 in their council tax bills; depending on their assigned band.

As an individual’s age bracket increase from over 25 to over state pension age, eligibility for increased benefits also increases. Singles aged 25-state pension credit age may be eligible for a council tax reduction of between £169 to £216.

A household with children:

A single parent with a child qualifies for a £255 council tax benefit and as age brackets and bands increase the discount may rise up to £419.

On the other hand, a couple with a single child qualifies for a £329 council tax benefit and as age brackets and bands increase the discount may rise up to £561.

To learn more about age and income-based council tax bands, this link may be helpful Are you entitled to a council tax reduction? (eden.gov.uk)

Who Is Eligible For Council Tax Benefits?

To qualify for a council tax benefit the general rule is that individuals above the age of 18 are eligible to pay as long as they own or rent a home. However, certain criteria need to be met to qualify for council tax benefits as well as the amount of benefit that one may qualify for.

Two adults who live in the same house qualify to pay full council tax; they may share the bill. However, if there is a single adult living in a property by themselves, they may be eligible for a 25 per cent reduction in the bill irrespective of the fact whether they are part-time employees or full-time ones. The same rule applies if an adult is sharing the premises with one or more individuals under the age of 18 years.

A 50 per cent council tax benefit becomes applicable if all the residents of the household are under 18 years of age. Complete exemption or a 100 per cent discount is applicable if all the residents of the said premises are full-time students.

Individuals on a low income or those receiving other forms of public support qualify for a 100 per cent discount on their council tax bills. To apply for this exemption, claimants may be homeowners or tenants; they may either be unemployed or working. Variation in homeowner and employment does not cancel out eligibility for council tax benefit; however, the amount that one is eligible for may vary. To learn more about benefits for individuals on a low income, click here Browse: Benefits and financial support if you’re on a low income – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Conclusion:

To summarise, whether or not an individual may be able to claim council tax benefit depends on the following factors:

  • location of their property of residence as local councils decide the rate of council tax to be billed; as well as discounted
  • claimant’s circumstances; this relates to the income, number of children and other benefits claimed by the household
  • saving and pension of the claimant and their partner sharing residence of the property with them
  • number of other adults sharing the premises  

FAQs: What Is A Single Person Discount On Council Tax?

How much is single person discount on council tax?

If a single adult occupies a house, they get a 25 per cent reduction on their council tax bill. This is a single person discount on the council tax bill. The same rule applies if there is a single adult living with other members of the household who are less than 18 years of age.

Does a single person pay less council tax?

Yes, a single person pays less council tax as they are eligible for a 25 per cent reduction on council tax bills.

How does the council check a single person discount?

To assure that only those who deserve a council tax discount receive it, councils carry out regular checks to confirm the single adult occupancy status (among others) at residences. Capita Local Government Services performs these checks on behalf of council authorities.

Can I get a discount on my council tax?

If you are the only adult occupying the property, you will get a 25 per cent discount on your council tax payments. A 50 per cent council tax benefit becomes applicable if all the residents of the household are under 18 years of age. Complete exemption or a 100 per cent discount is applicable if all the residents of the said premises are full-time students.

Can single person discount be backdated?

Yes, claimants can apply for a backdated single person discount. This usually happens when residents are not aware that they are eligible for a council tax reduction and have no informed local councils ahead of time. However, to prove their claim, claimants will be asked by local councils to furnish proof of their claim.

References: 

Council Tax discounts – Single Person Discount | Council Tax: discounts | West Northamptonshire Council – Northampton Area

Single person discount | Council tax discounts and exemptions | London Borough of Bromley

Council Tax: Who has to pay

Browse: Benefits and financial support if you’re on a low income

Are you entitled to a council tax reduction?

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