Discounts, exemptions, and reductions

Find information regarding discounts and exemptions that may reduce your council tax charge.

The full council tax bill assumes that there are two or more adults living in a property as their main residence.

Council tax discounts can be granted where there are less than two occupants or where the occupants fall into certain special groups.

Single Person Discount

If you are the only person over 18 years of age living in the property, you will be eligible for a discount.

The full council tax bill assumes there are two people aged 18 or over living in the property. But, if only a single person lives in the property, they are entitled to a 25% reduction. 

Apply for Single Person Discount


If you are under 18 years old, you will not have to pay council tax and will not be counted as an adult when working out the council tax for your household.

If you are a student and meet the following criteria, you will be disregarded for council tax.

If the property is occupied by full-time students only, no council tax is payable if you apply for an exemption.

Criteria is defined as follows:

  • Full-time students in higher education at a prescribed educational establishment undertaking study for at least 21 hours per week and 24 weeks per year.
  • Full-time students under 20 years old in further education at a prescribed educational establishment  undertaking study for at least 12 hours per week.
  • School leavers under 20 who finish a full-time course of education between May 1st and October 31st (this does not apply to students who take a year out or change courses).
  • Student nurses on prescribed courses.
  • Certain apprentices earning less than £195 per week.
  • Foreign language students registered with the British Council.

Council Tax Student Exemption Certificate

For us to apply the discount we require a student certificate from the educational establishment you are attending, the certificate must provide the following information: 

  • The name of the course and qualification to be gained.
  • The name and address of the educational establishment.
  • The name of the student and student number.
  • The student’s address.
  • The hours of required study or mode of attendance.
  • Course start and end dates.
  • Name and signature of the administration officer.
  • The certificate must be dated within the current academic year.  

In addition, please also confirm the names of persons 18 or over living at the property.

Please forward the information to

Open university/ online learning

If the course/ courses you are studying are 90 credits you will be eligible for a reduction. 

The reduction you get will depend on how many people are in your household and what their status is.

We will require written confirmation of the courses you are studying, the points allocated to each course and the start and end dates of your course.

In addition, please also confirm the names of persons 18 or over living at the property.

Please forward the information to

Left empty by deceased/ reporting a death

As soon as possible, a relative, friend or solicitor of the deceased should notify the council tax office about the death of an occupant of the property.

The following information is required:

  • The deceased persons name and the date of death.
  • The address of the property they lived in.
  • Whether a single person discount is now required, should the property still be occupied (for example by a spouse).

If the deceased person was the council tax payer, we will also require the following information:

  • The names and addresses of any executors to the will.
  • The name and address of the appointed solicitor if you wish. the council to deal with a solicitor.

How will council tax be affected by the death of an sole adult occupant?

When a property had been occupied by a single person, who either owned or rented the property and that person dies, the property is exempt from council tax payment for as long as it remains unoccupied, and until probate is granted.

Following a grant of probate, a further six month exemption is possible as long as the property remains unoccupied and has not been sold or transferred to someone else.

This exemption will also apply where a tenant has died if their personal representative remains liable for rent after the date of death.

Executors must let us know:

  • The date probate is granted.
  • Details of the transfer or sale of the property or the end date of the tenancy, with new (date of sale/ tenancy ceased, new owners full names/ landlords name and address).
  • When the estate is settled.

During this time we may contact the executors periodically to review entitlement to the exemption.

To view our 'In Sympathy' leaflet, please click here.

Frequently asked questions

How is the council tax affected when there were two adults living in the property?

When a property was previously occupied by two adults, the council tax bill might have been in both names or in the name of only one of the occupants.

If only one person continues to occupy the property, the council tax bill will be put into their name and a single person discount will be applied, giving a 25% discount. 

What if more than two adults are living at the property?

If more than two adults previously occupied the property and one person dies, it is important that the council tax bill is in the names of the remaining occupants. 

Please contact us with this information as soon as possible.

Will the executors (personal representatives) be liable for council tax?

When probate has been granted, a document is issued to the executor providing them with the authority to deal with the estate. 

If after probate is granted, ownership of the property is transferred to a beneficiary of the will, the council tax liability will be passed on to them.

If the property remains under the control of the estate for more than six months after the date of probate, the executor will be responsible for making payment of any council tax due.

Please note that the executor is not personally liable for the council tax bill and any payment should be made from the deceased estate.

What if the estate of the deceased are unable to make payment?

If the property is to be sold, a 'Letter of Undertaking' can be obtained from the solicitors which confirms upon sale of the property any outstanding balances will be paid from the proceeds of the sale.  This should be sent to us at   Upon receipt, a hold will put on the account to prevent recovery action from taking place.

What if the deceased was NOT the sole owner?

If the deceased was not the sole owner, upon death the liability passes to the estate of the deceased and ALL other owners.

If the property is furnished, full charge will be payable until the furniture is removed. An Empty & Unoccupied discount will then be applicable for 1 month only, after which full charge will become payable.

Council Tax Support (CTS)

If you are on Universal Credit or on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction in your council tax known as Council Tax Support (CTS).

This is NOT automatically awarded and you will need to apply for it if eligible. Apply via this link.

Further information can be found on our benefits page.

If you have queries or need to report a change in circumstances relating to Council Tax Support, please contact our benefits tea on 01902 696668 or by email via

Person in hospital or care home

You may qualify for a reduction if you or a member of your household moves permanently to live in a care home.

If a person has left a property empty because they have gone to live permanently in a hospital, nursing home or residential home the property will become exempt from council tax. 

If someone remains in the property as the sole occupier, that person would be entitled to a single-person discount. 

We require the address of the care home, the date the person vacated the property to go into either the hospital, care home or both, and the name of any other occupants who remain in the property.

Please forward all information to

Severely mentally impaired

This section provides information about reductions if a member of the household is severely mentally impaired.

Persons aged 18 or over who are severely mentally impaired may be disregarded for council tax purposes.

Households containing people suffering from severe mental impairment, including (but not limited to) those with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease; those who have suffered a stroke; those with severe learning difficulties; and those who have suffered such impairment as a result of injury; may be entitled to a reduction in their council tax. 

To qualify, someone must be medically certified as having a condition that affects their intelligence and social functioning that appears to be permanent, and be entitled to at least one of the following qualifying benefits: 

Eligible benefits 

  • Incapacity Benefit 
  • Attendance Allowance 
  • Severe Disablement Allowance 
  • Disability Living Allowance (higher or middle rate care component) 
  • An increase in disablement pension (as constant attendance is needed) 
  • Disability Working Allowance 
  • Unemployability Supplement or Allowance 
  • Constant Attendance Allowance 
  • Income Support (which includes a disability premium) 
  • Personal Independence Payment 
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment 
  • Universal Credit (in circumstances where a person has limited capability for work and/or work related activity) 

Level of discount 

If you have been diagnosed as being severely mentally impaired by a doctor and you are living alone or only with others who are severely mentally impaired, you will be exempt from paying council tax. 

If you have been diagnosed as being severely mentally impaired by a doctor and you live with one adult your household, will receive a 25% discount. 

If you have been diagnosed as being severely mentally impaired by a doctor and you live with two or more adults there will be no reduction unless another adult can be disregarded.

If you think you may be eligible you should complete an application form.

Doctors certificate 

Once you have completed the application form, you will need to arrange for this part of the application form to be completed by your doctor.  

The application form and written confirmation of the qualifying benefit entitlement, along with the date it was first awarded, should be sent to  

Without this information we will be unable to process your claim.

Empty and unoccupied properties

For owners or tenants of unoccupied and unfurnished properties, we can apply for a 100% property discount for a maximum period of up to one month. 

This discount can be used for properties which are empty awaiting sale or let, or undergoing refurbishments (which are not major).

After one month of the property being empty, full council tax becomes payable, even if the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished. 

Please note: if you purchase an unoccupied and unfurnished property you will only be entitled to any remaining balance of the discount. 


Empty homes premium 

If a property becomes empty and unfurnished for over two years, a ‘long-term empty premium' of 100% is applied. 

Once a property has been empty for five years, a 200% premium is applied and therefore the rate of council tax payable is 300%. 

When a property has been empty for ten years, a 300% premium is applied and therefore the rate of council tax payable is 400%. 

This is to encourage property owners to bring the properties into use.  


To apply, please contact us by email or call us on 01902 696664

Uninhabitable/ major repair works

A property which is unoccupied, unfurnished and in need of major or structural repairs to make it habitable, can receive a 50% property discount for a maximum period of 12 months. 

The discount can continue for up to six months after the works are completed, providing the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished and does not exceed 12 months.

In order to apply for this discount, we will require evidence of the work required or being carried out to make the property habitable.

Evidence should include photographs and/or contract invoices.

Alternatively, you can arrange an inspection of the property by one of our officers by emailing

The following do not fall into the criteria of major repair works: 

  • Replacement, refurbishment or modernisation of a kitchen, bathroom or toilet 
  • Rewiring 
  • Redecoration 
  • New plumbing, re-carpeting, re-plastering or new windows 

After the 12 months, full council tax becomes payable - even if the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished. 

Further to this, if the property is still empty after two years, the property will be subject to a council tax premium as shown below. 

Empty homes premium 

If a property becomes empty and unfurnished for over two years, a ‘long-term empty premium' of 100% is applied. 

Once a property has been empty for five years, a 200% premium is applied and therefore the rate of council tax payable is 300%. 

When a property has been empty for ten years, a 300% premium is applied and therefore the rate of council tax payable is 400%. 

This is to encourage property owners to bring the properties into use. 


If the property is derelict and cannot be lived in, you may be able to get it removed from the Valuation List. You should make any further enquiries to the Valuation Office Agency.

Please note, if you are resident in a mobile home or touring caravan within the grounds of the property whilst works are carried out, the mobile home/touring caravan is deemed to be an extension to the property. As such, you will not qualify for the uninhabitable discount.


Disabled band reduction

You may qualify for a reduction in your council tax if you or any member of your household is disabled.

Council tax band reduction may apply on properties that have been permanently adapted to assist residents with disabilities.

If you or someone who lives with you is disabled and your property has been permanently adapted to help with their condition, you may be entitled to a reduction in your council tax.

Someone is considered a disabled person if their illness, injuries or disability are substantial and not likely to improve.

The property is classed as being permanently adapted when either:

  • There is a second kitchen or bathroom which is required to meet the needs of the disabled person.

    For example, a second kitchen has been installed where the work surface is lower to allow a person using a wheelchair to use it fully; or an additional bathroom has been installed with specialist equipment, such as hoists or grab bars to assist the disabled resident); or

  • There is a room, other than a bathroom or kitchen which is required for meeting the needs of the disabled person.

    The expression 'required for meeting the needs of the disabled person', means anything which is essential or of major importance to the disabled person's wellbeing by reason of the nature and extent of that person's disability. There must be a causative link between the room and the person's disability.

    Therefore, the predominant use of that room must be specifically linked to their disability and needs. For example, a room containing equipment such as a dialysis machine; a room used for therapy; braille equipment; specialist lighting etc. will link the person, their disability and the need for that room; or

  • The disabled person needs to use a wheelchair in the property, and there is enough floor space to allow this.

    A wheelchair is not considered as required for meeting the needs of an individual resident if they do not use it within the dwelling.

We may need to visit your property to assess whether or not any of the above criteria have been met prior to making a decision regarding this reduction.

If you do apply for this reduction, please ensure you provide an up-to-date telephone number, so we can ring you to arrange an inspection if necessary.

Additional information

Please be aware that having a disabled resident in your property does not automatically entitle you to a reduction.

Please also be aware that changes to the property, or activities such as:

  • putting in a stair lift
  • putting in grab rails or ramp access
  • putting in movable equipment (commode etc)
  • using another lavatory, or
  • using a ground floor room as a bedroom

do not necessarily mean you would get this reduction, unless at least one of the three permanently adaptations listed above are also present.

If a reduction is granted, your bill will be based on the band immediately below that shown for your property in the valuation list.

For example, a Band C property would receive a reduction to bring the charge down to the equivalent of a Band B property. If you qualify and your property is valued at Band A, a reduction of 1/6th of the council tax for that band (which is equal to 1/9th of the current Band D charge) will be awarded.

How to apply

The application must be made by the person who pays council tax at the property. This does not need to be the person with the disability.

To apply, download and fill in an Application for Disablement Relief.

To complete this form you will include name, address, council tax account reference number, information relating to the disabled person and type of disability

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available to help people who require further financial assistance to meet their housing costs (including council tax).

Further information can be found here.

If you are eligible, please complete the application form.

If you have any queries relating to council tax support or Discretionary Housing Payment, please contact our benefits team on 01902 696668 or email

Second homes

The definition of a second home is a dwelling which is not a person's sole or main home and is substantially furnished.

The council's policy is not to award any discount on second homes.

Job-related second home

If your second home is job-related you may get a 50% discount.

This is if your (or your spouse's) employment contract requires you to live in the property.

When applying for the discount, we will need a copy of your employment contract.

If one of your properties is outside South Staffordshire, we need a copy of that property's council tax bill. 

To apply please email or call us on 01902 696664.

Annexe discount/ exemption

Annexes which are used by the occupier of the main property as part of the main home, or annexes which are occupied by a relative of the person living in the main property, will be entitled to a 50% reduction in the council tax payable on the annexe.

The annexe must form part of a single property which includes at least one other dwelling.

The annexe must be within the grounds of the main property (not necessarily attached) and must be included in the title deeds of the main property and not registered separately.

Annexe discount

A 50% discount will be available for annexes if used by the occupier of the main property or a member of their family.

For this purpose a relative is defined as: a partner, parent, child, step child, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, great-grandparent, great-grandchild, etc.

If a non-family member lives in the annexe, the council tax charge will remain at 100% with no discount.

Annexe exemption 

An exemption may apply to the annexe if it is occupied by a dependent elderly or disabled relative(s) over the age of 65.

If the annexe is unoccupied and cannot be let separately because of a planning restriction, it could also be exempt.

To request an annexe discount/exemption you must be the main occupier of the annexe.

To apply, please contact us by email via or telephone 01902 696664.


If you or someone living with you is an apprentice, and without them there is only one adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your council tax.

Who is an apprentice?

A person is an apprentice, regardless of age, if they meet the following criteria:

  • They are employed to learn a trade, a business, a profession or a vocation.
  • They are receiving training leading to a qualification accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
  • They get a salary or allowance (or both), which are in total less than £195 gross a week (before deductions - we don't count bonuses and overtime); and they can expect to earn substantially more when they are qualified.

How do I apply for council tax apprentice discount?

To apply, please complete the apprentice council tax discount form.

Please remember to ask the apprentice's employer to sign the declaration on the form.

Care providers

You may be entitled to a discount on your council tax if you are looking after someone who is living with you and meet certain criteria.

You must either:

  • Provide care on behalf of a charity or local authority for at least 24 hours per week and be paid no more than £44 per week, or
  • Care for someone, who is entitled to certain disability benefits, for at least 35 hours a week on average. That person cannot be; your husband, wife, partner, civil partner or child under 18. 

Please note: You will only be eligible for a discount if all/ all but one of the occupants are 'disregarded' for council tax purposes.

Please be aware that you do not need to be in receipt of Carer's Allowance to be classified as a carer.

To apply, please contact us by email or telephone 01902 696664.

Detained in prison or hospital

Residents in prison, on remand, or detained in hospital under the Armed Forces Act 2006 or Mental Health Act are disregarded for the purposes of council tax.

We may be able to reduce your council tax bill if a member of your household is in prison for a conviction.

This discount will not apply to residents charged of or convicted for non-payment of council tax or fines.

If a property is left unoccupied because the resident is detained or in prison and intends to return, an exemption may be applied where no council tax needs to be paid. 

To apply, please contact us by email; or telephone 01902 696664.

Diplomats and visiting forces

You will not be counted for council tax if you are a:

  • Diplomat
  • Member of a visiting armed force
  • Member (or dependant of a member) of certain international headquarters and defence organisations

If another adult lives in your property who pays council tax they may qualify for a discount.

You will need to provide the following documents to support your application:

  • A letter from bureau or a certificate issued under Section 11 of the Visiting Forces Act 1952.
  • TX19 from Foreign and Commonwealth Office for diplomats

These can be sent via email to

Members of religious communities

If you are a member of a religious community and, apart from you, there is only one adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your council tax.

A person is a member of a religious community if:

  • The main occupation of the religious community consists of prayer, contemplation, education, the relief of suffering, or a range of these, and
  • He or she has no income or capital of his or her own (with the exception of any occupational pension due to former employment) and is dependent on the religious community for his or her material needs.

If you think this discount may apply to you, please contact us via

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