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Reduce your bill

Help during the coronavirus situation:

If you are having concerns about paying your Council Tax during this difficult period, we would be grateful if you consider the following options:

  1. Check what benefits you may be entitled to.
  2. If you have applied for Universal Credit or have a low income, then you may be entitled to Council Tax Reduction. This is a means tested discount based on you and your partner’s income and household composition.  To qualify for this support, your saving must be below £16,000.  You can apply online via the the Council Tax Reduction section below.
  3. The Government is providing a Hardship Fund to provide residents with additional help towards the cost of their Council Tax.   This funding is primarily intended to support existing working-age claimants in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.   If you are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction, an award will be automatically applied to your council tax account shortly.
  4. If you are experiencing problems with paying your Council Tax instalment in April, and pay by Direct Debit, please contact the Council on 01744 675255 and we will look to re-profile your instalments over the rest of the year.

You could be eligible for help towards the cost of your Council Tax if you’re on a low income or claim certain benefits, including Universal Credit.

Your bill could be reduced by up to 100% if you are above state pension age or up to 80% if you or your partner is below state pension age or you are in receipt of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal credit.

You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

The level of support you will receive is calculated by looking at you and your partner’s income, savings and household circumstances.

Help with paying Council Tax if you have applied or are receiving Universal Credit

If you are liable for Council Tax, help towards paying this is not included in your Universal Credit payment.

Help with paying Council Tax if you are not receiving Universal Credit 

You can continue to make a claim for Council Tax Reduction (below) if you are not in receipt of Universal Credit.

A 25% single occupancy discount (also known as a single person discount) is available if there is only one person aged 18 years or over living in the property.

You may be entitled to a reduction on your Council Tax bill if one or more of the adults in your house are disregarded when calculating the charge. If the only resident is disregarded then an exemption may be awarded.

Persons who are disregarded include:

• Full time students and student nurses
• Apprentices and persons under 25 on youth training schemes
• Persons who are severely mentally impaired
• Carers - Persons who live with and care for someone who is not their partner, spouse or child under 18
• Persons who would be liable for Council Tax but are permanently resident in a nursing home, hospital or residential care home
• Persons staying in certain hostels or night shelters
• 18 & 19 year olds who are at school or college, or who may have just left
• Persons in prison or detention (unless confined for none payment of Council Tax or a fine)

Apply for Discount or Exemption if you feel one or more of the adults in your property are disregarded (opens in a new window).

You may be able to claim a reduction in your charge if your home has certain features used by a disabled resident, which are essential or of major importance to the well being of that person. These features are:

• A room which is not a bathroom, kitchen or toilet and which is predominately used by and is required to meet the needs of the person with the disability.
• An additional bathroom or kitchen which is required for meeting the needs of the person with the disability
• Sufficient floor space inside the dwelling to permit the use of a wheelchair. It must be necessary for the disabled person to use a wheel chair indoors predominately.

Apply for a Disabled Persons Reduction (opens in a new window).

It will be necessary for an inspector to call at your property by mutual agreement.

Some properties are exempt from Council Tax. If you own or occupy a property which is described below you may be entitled to claim an exemption.

  • The property is occupied wholly by full time students
  • The property is a halls of residence for students that is owned or managed by a prescribed educational establishment.
  • The property is owned by the Secretary of State for Defence and keeps it for members of the UK armed forces to live in
  • The property is occupied by members of visiting armed forces or their dependants
  • All the people who live in the property are under 18 years of age.
  • The property is occupied wholly by persons who are severely mentally impaired or students.
  • The property is the main home of a person with diplomatic privileges or immunity.
  • The property is an annexe to another dwelling, and is occupied by a dependant relative e.g. "Granny Flat".

Apply for an occupied property exemption (opens in a new window).

If your property becomes unoccupied and substantially unfurnished a 100% discount may be applicable from the date the property became unoccupied and unfurnished, for a period of up to 1 month.  After this period a 100% charge will be applied to empty properties.

Apply for an unoccupied and unfurnished property discount (opens in a new window).

Long Term Empty Property Premium

An additional charge (premium) will be applied to properties that have been and unfurnished for 2 years or more, as follows:

Empty Period  Charge Comment
Up to 1 month 0% A discount is applied for one month
Up to 2 years 100% Full charge due
2 years or more 200% A 100% premium is applied to long-term empty properties
5 years or more 300% A 200% premium will be applied from 1 April 2020
10 years or more 400% A 300% premium will be applied from 1 April 2021

Notes:

  1. Certain categories of property are exempt from the premium, including annexes and properties owned by the armed forces.  New owners may also be exempt from the premium, for up to 2 years, when an empty property is purchased with the intention of bringing it back into use.
  2. Liability for payment of Council Tax on unoccupied properties falls to the owner of the property, or to someone who holds a lease of 6 months or more.
  3. Periods of occupation of less than 6 weeks are excluded when determining the overall period a dwelling is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished.

Properties undergoing or requiring major repairs or alterations

If your property becomes unoccupied and substantially unfurnished and requires or is undergoing major repair or structural alteration, a 25% discount may be applicable for a period of up to 12 months.

Apply for a major repairs/structural alteration discount (opens in a new window).

Some properties are exempt from Council Tax. If you own or are liable for a property which is described below you may be entitled to claim an exemption.

  • An unoccupied property that is owned by a charity and was last used for charitable purposes, an exemption will apply for up to 6 months.
  • The property is left unoccupied because the usual occupier is being held in prison or detained elsewhere
  • The property is left unoccupied due to the usual occupier moving permanently to a hospital, residential home or hostel to receive care.
  • The property is left unoccupied as the liable person has passed away and the property is in the possession of a personal representative who is awaiting probate or probate has been granted for less than six months.
  • All occupation of the property is prohibited by law e.g. Compulsory Purchase Order.
  • The unoccupied property is being held available for occupation by a minister of religion.
  • The property is unoccupied as the usual occupier has gone to live elsewhere to receive care.
  • The property is unoccupied as the usual occupier has gone to live elsewhere to provide care.
  • The property is unoccupied because the usual occupier has gone to live elsewhere and they are a full time student.
  • The unoccupied property has been repossessed by the mortgagee.
  • The unoccupied property is a halls of residence for students that is owned or managed by a prescribed educational establishment.
  • The property is owned by the Secretary of State for Defence and keeps it for members of the UK armed forces to live in.
  • The property is unoccupied and the liable person is trustee in a bankruptcy.
  • An unoccupied caravan or boat mooring.
  • The unoccupied property is an annexe to an occupied dwelling.

Apply for an unoccupied property exemption (opens in a new window).

A discretionary discount is available to care leavers aged between 18 and 24 years. It will cease on the care leaver’s 25th birthday.  Further information is contained within section 3 of the Council Tax Discretionary Discount Policy, to apply for a Care Leavers Discount please complete and return an application form.  Completed forms should be emailed to ctaxenquiries@sthelens.gov.uk

Section 13A(1)(c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (amended), provides the Council with additional discretionary powers to reduce the Council Tax liability where national discounts and exemptions cannot be applied.

Council Tax legislation provides a wide range of discounts, exemptions and reductions that have the effect of reducing the level of Council Tax due. Applicants will be expected to have exhausted all other options before making an application under this policy.