Council tax discounts and exemptions

You may be eligible for a discount or exemption on your council tax for a wide range of reasons - you may be a single person or be disabled, or your property may be unoccupied and unfurnished or is having major repairs or structural work. Find out more below:

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Single person discount

A full council tax bill assumes at least two adults live in a house. If only one adult lives in a house (as their main home), they can claim a quarter off their council tax bill (25%). When working out how many adults live in a home, the following people do not count as adults:

  • Full time students
  • Student nurses
  • Apprentices and youth training trainees
  • Hospital in-patients
  • People who are being looked after in care homes
  • People who are severely mentally impaired
  • People staying in certain hostels or night shelters
  • 18 and 19 year olds who are at, or have just left, school and intend to enrol in further education
  • People for whom child benefit is payable
  • Care workers working for low pay, usually for charities
  • People caring for someone with a disability who is not their husband, wife, partner, or a child under 18
  • Members and non-British dependants of visiting forces and certain international HQs
  • Members of religious communities (monks and nuns)
  • People in prison (except those in prison for non-payment of council tax or a fine)
  • Special arrangements may also apply to certain non-British spouses of students

If you think you may be entitled to a single person council tax discount, please download one of the application forms below, or call customer services on 01543 308900 or email revenues@lichfielddc.gov.uk and ask them to send you a form.

If you receive a single person discount, you must tell us within 21 days of your circumstances changing, or you may be fined.

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Severe mental impairment exemptions

People classed as severely mentally impaired may not have to pay council tax, or may pay a reduced rate. This applies to anyone who meets all of the following criteria:

  • has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent.
  • has a certificate confirming this impairment from a registered medical practitioner, usually the person’s GP or consultant.
  • is entitled to certain disability benefits – the most common qualifying benefits are attendance allowance (lower or higher rate), disability living allowance (higher or middle rate care components) and the new personal independence payment (lower or higher rate of the daily living component).

If all the adults living at a property meet the three severe mental impairment criteria (above), that property is exempt. This means that no council tax needs to be paid on it.

However, if other adults, who are not severely mentally impaired, also live at the property, council tax will be charged. The amount depends on their circumstances.

A spouse or partner cannot be classed as a carer for council tax purposes. So, if someone lives with and cares for a partner who meets the severe mental impairment criteria (and no other adults live at the property), the spouse or partner will be eligible to apply for a single person’s discount (see above).

To apply, fill in our severely mentally impaired discount application form or contact our customer services for revenues and benefits on 01543 308900 or email revenues@lichfielddc.gov.uk to find out more.

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Carer discount

Carers can be disregarded for council tax purposes if they fall into one of two groups. The first group of carers who are disregarded for council tax purposes must meet all the following criteria:

  • care for at least 35 hours a week.
  • live in the same property as the person they care for.
  • not be the partner of the person they care for.
  • not be the parent of the person they care for, if the person cared for is aged under 18.

In addition, the person being cared for must be entitled to one of the following benefits: disability living allowance (highest rate of the care component), personal independence payment (either rate of the daily living component), attendance allowance (higher rate) or constant attendance allowance.

The second group of carers who are disregarded for council tax purposes must meet all the following criteria:

  • provide care or support on behalf of a local authority, government department or charity.
  • provide care through an introduction by a charity, where the person being cared for is the carer’s employer.
  • employed to care for the person for at least 24 hours a week.
  • paid no more than £44 per week.
  • resident where the care is given.

More than one person in the same dwelling can count as a carer, including where caring responsibilities are being shared.

Someone who falls into either of these carer groups will be eligible for a council tax discount. Contact contact customer services for revenues and benefits on 01543 308900 or email revenues@lichfielddc.gov.uk to find out more.

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Discounts for disabled people

If you are disabled and have to make or have made alterations to your home, you may be eligible for a discount. Visit our disabled band reduction section to find out more.

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Discount for annexes

A 50% reduction is available for people living in annexes provided they are related to the person liable to pay the council tax of the main residence. A discount is also available for people living in properties with an unoccupied annex that is being used as part of the main residence.

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Second home discount

No discount is given if you have a second home (holiday home or other) and you will need to pay the full charge due.  

However, if you are required to occupy either property as part of your employment contract you may be able to still claim up to a 50% reduction for your second home. If you think you may be entitled to a second home discount, please fill in and submit a second home discount application form or call customer services on 01543 308900 or email revenues@lichfielddc.gov.uk and ask them to send you a form.

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Empty properties council tax exemptions

An empty property may be exempt from council tax if:

  • the occupier is now a resident in a hospital or nursing home.
  • the occupier has gone to prison or it is being held for a minister of religion as a residence from which to perform his/her duties.
  • the occupier has moved to receive personal care.
  • occupation is prohibited by law.
  • the occupier has died and the property forms part of the estate of the deceased person and the personal representative is waiting for grant of probate or letters of administration, or less than six months have elapsed since such a grant was made.
  • the occupier has moved to provide personal care to another person.
  • the property has been repossessed by a mortgagee.
  • the property has been left unoccupied by students.
  • the property is the responsibility of a bankrupt's trustee.

An empty property may also be exempt if: 

  • it is unoccupied for up to six months and is owned by a charity.
  • it is an unoccupied and unfurnished dwelling that has been so for less than two months. After two months the full council tax charge will apply. Furthermore, any property that has continuously been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than two years on or after 1 April 2013, will pay an additional council premium of 50% - therefore paying a 150% charge. This is designed to encourage owners of empty properties to bring them back into use.
  • it is an unoccupied and forms part of, or is situated within the curtilage of another home and is difficult to let separately without a breach of planning control, within the meaning of the Town and County Planning Act 1990(d).

To apply for an exemption for a council tax exemption, please fill in our property exemption form. If you have any questions, please contact customer services for revenues and benefits on 01543 308900.

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Unoccupied properties undergoing/require major work or structural repair (Class A)

Properties which are unoccupied and are undergoing or require major work or structural repair will receive a 50% discount for a maximum period of 12 months. After 12 months the full charge will apply. 

To apply for council tax exemption, please fill in our property exemption form. If you have any questions, please contact customer services for revenues and benefits on 01543 308900.

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Other property exemptions

Other properties that may be exempt from council tax include:

  • a hall of residence provided predominantly for students.
  • a dwelling either wholly occupied by students, school or college leavers or by certain spouses or dependants of students as term time accommodation.
  • UK armed forces barracks, married quarters and accommodation for visiting forces.
  • visiting forces accommodation.
  • an unoccupied caravan pitch or boat mooring.
  • a home occupied only by a person or persons aged under 18.
  • a home only occupied by a severely mentally impaired person or persons.
  • a home where at least one liable person is entitled to diplomatic privileges or immunities.
  • granny annexes.

To apply for council tax exemption, please fill in our property exemption form. If you have any questions, please contact customer services for revenues and benefits on 01543 308900.

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Any questions?

Contact customer services for revenues and benefits on 01543 308900 or email our team at benefits@lichfielddc.gov.uk


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