MILLIONS of households may qualify for a city council tax break or even free.
It is estimated that more than 2.7 million households do not receive £2.9 billion in council tax support.
Many households don’t ask for assistance because they didn’t know it existed, and unfortunately, some local governments may not make their plans public.
There are also cases where the administrative process involved in making a claim can put some people off, and the negative perception surrounding claiming can also discourage some.
What support you can get depends on your situation and where you live, as each council decides what support to offer to people in its area.
Factors that will determine how much reduction you can get include your household income, whether you have children and whether you receive any benefits.
Here’s all you need to know:
If you are living alone, you can get 25% off your council tax bill.
The same applies if there is an adult and a student living together in the same building, or if there is an adult and a person classified as severely intellectually impaired in the home.
You can get up to 50% more off if you live with someone who doesn’t pay council tax, such as a carer or someone with a serious mental impairment.
And, if you live in an all-student household, you can get a 100% discount.
A complete list of council tax exemptions can be found on Citizens Advice.
Retirees may also find themselves eligible for council tax relief.
If you get the Guaranteed Credit element of Pension Credit, you can get a 100% discount.
If not, you can still get help if you have a low income and less than £16,000 in savings.
And a pensioner living alone will also get a 25% discount.
Households with low income
If you are on a low income or on a pension you may be eligible for some help with your council tax.
Whether or not you qualify will vary depending on where you live.
And if you find yourself having a hard time paying your bill, you can also apply for a deferral or talk to your council about setting up a payment plan to manage costs.
But one thing to remember is that if you are struggling you should contact your council as soon as possible.
How to apply for a discount?
You can apply for a reduction through government website.
You will need your national insurance number, bank statement, recent pay stub or letter from the Employment Center, and a passport or driver’s license.
If there are other adults in the household, you may need the same information for them as well.
You can check the council tax bracket your home falls in by entering your postcode on government website.
Check What local government do you live in? to find out how much your board changes for each band, as it varies.
You may also be able to get your house back if you think you are paying too much council tax.
To do this, you need to check what class your neighbors are in and calculate how much your property was worth in 1991, as this is when council tax groups are decided.
MoneySavingExpert has a free calculation tool to help you do this.
Be warned though – applications are not always successful and you may even be moved to a HIGHEST level and pay more.
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