Who is exempt from council tax?

This blog will answer the question “Who is exempt from council tax?” It will cover the people who are responsible to pay council tax, and those who are exempt from it. It will discuss the various categories of people, and specific exemptions awarded by a few local councils.

Who is exempt from council tax

Many people and properties are exempt from paying council tax, mainly those who the government deem unable to pay for their council tax. These include students, disabled persons, etc, and few people the government recognises and exempts from paying council tax by law. Such persons and properties are discussed in the following sections.

Who pays council tax

Any person over 18, who resides in a property, or owns or rents a house, and is sufficiently able to do so, in general pays the council tax. A  full Council Tax bill assumes at least 2 adults living on a property. Spouses, partners and adults who live together are jointly responsible for paying their council tax

However, there are various exemptions on people and their specific properties, from paying tax..

General exemptions given for council tax

Generally, most of the councils give the following exemption on council tax:

  • Any property occupied by full-time students, college or university students is exempt from council tax. Student halls of residence are automatically exempt.
  • Any condemned property is exempt from council tax.
  • Any property which has been legally re-possessed by a mortgage lender is exempt from council tax.
  • A property that has been unoccupied because the person who lived there now lives elsewhere because they need to be cared for, such as in a hospital, a care home or with relatives is exempt.
  • Conversely, any property which is unoccupied because the person who lived there has gone to care for someone else is also exempt.
  • Any property in which only Foreign Language Assistants on the official British Council programme live in is exempt.
  • A holiday caravan or boat if it’s on a property where council tax is paid is exempt
  • A property where all the people who live in it are aged under 18 is exempt on account of its occupants.
  • People with severe mental impairment are exempt from council tax, as is any property occupied just by them.
  • A self-contained annexe where the person who lives in it is a dependent relative of the owner of the main property is exempt from council tax.
  • If you live in a care home or hostel, you are exempt from council tax.
  • You are exempt if you are in hospital on a permanent basis

People not counted as adults 

Council tax is only applicable on adults. The rules have specific people who are not counted as adults for taxation purposes. 

The following persons are not counted as adults for Council Tax


  • Children under 18
  • People on any apprenticeships
  • 18 and 19-year-olds in full-time education
  • full-time college and university students
  • Young people under 25 who get funding from the Skills Funding Agency or Young People’s Learning Agency
  • Student nurses
  • Foreign language assistants registered with the British Council
  • People with a severe mental impairment, such as dementia
  • Live-in carers who look after someone who is not their partner, spouse, or child under 18
  • Diplomats

However, you might need to prove that any of the above mentioned conditions apply to you. To show that you do not qualify as an adult for Council Tax, you’ll need a declaration from your employer.

The declaration might state any of the following:

  • That you are not paid more than £195 a week
  • That the training leads to a qualification accredited by a body recognised by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation or the Scottish Vocational Education Council (SVEC)


Exemptions given by different councils

Besides these general exemptions, many others are exempt from paying council tax as per the rules of specific councils. Some of the local councils and their exemptions are discussed below. 

Merton Council

The website of Merton Council mentions different classes of properties, which, whether occupied or not occupied, are exempt from council tax.

The classes of properties are as follows:

  • Class A: It consisted of an uninhabitable property requiring or undergoing major repairs or structural alterations, but this exemption has been revoked unavailable from 1 April 2013.
  • Class B: It consists of an unoccupied property owned or leased by a registered charity, and must have been last occupied by the charity for the purpose of its objectives
  • Class C: It consisted of a property that has been empty for up to six months. This class is also unavailable from 1 April 2013.
  • Class D: It consists of a property that has been empty because the person  liable for that property is in prison or detained in hospital for the period related to the claim and that property must previously have been his sole or main residence.
  • Class E: Empty property previously occupied by a person must previously have been the sole or main residence for the absent person now residing in a care home, hospital or hostel for the entire period since he was last living in the property
  • Class F: it exempts the property which was owned or rented by a single council tax payer, who has died, from Council Tax payment for as long as it remains unoccupied, and until a probate is granted.
  • Class G: it exempts a property whose occupation is prohibited by law, including a closing order or demolition order, or to acquire it as a compulsory purchase order. Such property must be unoccupied and unfurnished.
  • Class H: it includes any property held for Minister of religion, or held available for occupation by a Minister of any religious denomination, for the purpose of allowing him or her to perform the duties of office
  • Class I: It includes a building whose occupant goes to live elsewhere to receive personal care. His sole or main residence must be in another place which is not a Health Service hospital, registered care home, mental nursing home or hostel and must have moved in order to receive personal care due to old age, disability, illness, or mental disorder.
  • Class J: It includes the same property as above where a person has moved to provide personal care.
  • Class K: This class consists of a building whose last resident or owner was one or more students, and has been left empty by them.
  • Class L: It consists of an unoccupied property which has been repossessed by the mortgagee.
  • Class M: It consists of a property that is provided predominantly for the accommodation of students and owned or managed by an educational institution
  • Class N: This is a property occupied by one or more residents all of whom are students or students and their non-British spouses, civil partners or dependants of students who are prevented by the terms of their entry visa to the UK from taking paid employment or claiming benefit.
  • Class O: It consists of the accommodation of UK armed forces, owned by the Secretary of State for Defence.
  • Class P: it consists of a property used as an accommodation of visiting forces, or their non-british and non-resident dependents.
  • Class Q: it includes a property whose liable person is a trustee in bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Act 1914 or the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Class R: it consists of an unoccupied caravan pitch or boat mooring that may be dwellings for the purpose of council tax.
  • Class S: Consists of any property occupied only by under eighteen year olds.
  • Class T: It consists of an unoccupied annexe of sort commonly referred to as ‘granny annexes,’ such as premises which are included in another property and where the unoccupied annexe cannot be let separately from the other property.
  • Class U: It consists of a property occupied by severely mentally impaired persons, who are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits and have severe mental impairment certified by a doctor.
  • Class V: It includes a property which is the main residence of a person with diplomatic privilege or immunity, or member of an international organisation headquartered in the UK, whose liable persons status is verified by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
  • Class W: it includes an annex occupied by a dependent relative, defined as a person aged 65 years or more, or a person who is substantially and permanently disabled or severely mentally impaired for the purpose of council tax.

Newham Council

The council exempts ‘disregarded’ persons from council tax. 

The following persons are considered as ‘disregarded:

  • Aged under 18 
  • A prisoner, or someone in detention awaiting deportation
  • A person detained under mental health legislation 
  • Severely mentally impaired person
  • A full-time student in higher or further education studying for more than 21 hours a week and more than 24 weeks a year. 
  • A spouse, civil partner or a dependant of a student who is a non-British citizen and is prevented by immigration from taking paid employment or from claiming benefit in the UK  
  • A foreign language assistant on the official British Council programme 
  • A young person on a government training scheme or on an apprenticeship 
  • A long-term hospital patient or care home resident 
  • A person living in a hostel which provides care or treatment because of old age, physical or mental disability or illness, alcohol or drug dependence
  • A person living in a bail or probation hostel 
  • A live-in care worker 
  • A homeless person staying in a hostel or night shelter
  • A school or college student under 20 who has left school or college after 30 April. They will be disregarded until 1 November of the same year whether or not they take up employment 
  • A person aged 18 for whom someone is entitled to child benefit
  • A member of a religious community 
  • A member of visiting armed forces, or their dependants

Sheffield city Council

This council exempts an unoccupied furnished or unfurnished property from Council Tax when:

  • The resident has died and the liability to pay the bill falls solely on the deceased estate.
  • It’s repossessed by a mortgage lender
  • The former owner or tenant is in a hospital or home receiving care.
  • The owner has moved in order to provide personal care to another person
  • Occupation is forbidden by law or by impending purchase
  • The former resident is in prison, except in cases where the resident is detained for non-payment of fines
  • The owner is a student and living elsewhere to study.
  • It’s a vicarage and similar property is awaiting occupation by a minister of religion
  • It’s owned by a charity.
  • The person who would be liable is a trustee in bankruptcy
  • The property forms part of another property which can’t be let separately
  • It is an empty caravan pitch or a boat mooring

Croydon Council

It classifies exemptions as exemption applicable on people and those on properties. 

Exemption on people

A person does not need to pay Council Tax if he is:

  • Under 18
  • Severely mentally impaired
  • In prison or detention – except for non-payment of local tax or fines
  • One who has left school or college
  • A full-time student
  • A student nurse
  • An apprentice or youth training trainee
  • Receiving care in a registered care home
  • A resident of a hostel
  • A religious community member dependant on the community with no personal income
  • A non-British spouse of a full time student with restrictions on visa 
  • 18 or 19 years old receiving child benefit
  • A long-term hospital patient
  • Receiving or giving care elsewhere
  • A member or dependant of an international headquarters or a defence organisation
  • A member or dependent of visiting forces
  • Someone with diplomatic privilege or immunity

Exemption on properties

A property is exempt from council tax if it is:

  • An armed forces accommodation owned by the Secretary of State for Defence
  • Waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion
  • A self-contained unit forming a part of a larger property whose occupier is a dependent relative of the person living in other part of the property
  • An annex that cannot be let separately from the main property because of planning restrictions
  • An empty caravan pitch or houseboat mooring
  • A property whose occupation is prohibited by law 
  • A property which is with an executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased person
  • Repossessed by the mortgage lender
  • Property empty less than 6 months, owned by a charity

Watford Borough Council

This council has divided people who are exempt from council tax into classes of exemption like Meryton.

The classes are:

  • Class B: Unoccupied dwelling, owned by a charity
  • Class D: Unoccupied because former resident in prison or detained under the Mental Health Act
  • Class E: Unoccupied dwelling due to person now living in a residential care home
  • Class F: People awaiting probate
  • Class G: Unoccupied dwelling where occupation prohibited by law or planning restriction
  • Class I: People receiving care
  • Class J: People providing care
  • Class L: Unoccupied dwelling where a mortgagee is in possession
  • Class M: Student halls of residence
  • Class N: Students
  • Class  O: UK armed forces accommodation
  • Class  P: Visiting forces
  • Class  Q: Unoccupied dwelling left empty by a bankruptcy
  • Class  R: Unoccupied caravan pitch or mooring
  • Class S: Minors
  • Class  T: Unoccupied annex unable to be let separately
  • Class  U: Severely mentally impaired
  • Class V: Diplomats
  • Class W: Annexes occupied by a dependent relative


This blog answered the question “Who is exempt from council tax?” It covered the people who are responsible to pay council tax, and those who are exempt from it. It discussed the various categories of people, and specific exemptions awarded by a few local councils


Who is exempt from council tax?

 Your property is exempt from council tax if you are a student, under 18, or you are a ‘disregarded’ adult. 

Do all residents have to pay council tax?

Only oe person, called the liable person has to pay the council tax. He might be the resident, occupier, owner, leasee, etx.

Do I pay council tax if I don’t live there?

Not unless the owner of the property where no one lives.

Do you pay council tax if unemployed?

No, if you have been granted council tax support, even when you are employed, or on a low income and are responsible to pay council tax on your property.

How long can a house be empty without paying council tax?

A house be empty for one month from when it became empty, without paying council tax. After that full tax is charged on it.