Council Tax Reduction, Discounts and Exemptions
About the Council Tax Reduction scheme as well as discounts and exemptions available
You can find full details about all discounts, reductions and exemptions (and whether you may be eligible) in our.
We've listed key information about the Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme and different discounts and exemptions below.
All Council Tax discounts are reviewed on a regular basis. If you have received a review letter asking to confirm your entitlement to a discount, please complete and return the letter as instructed. Failure to do so may result in the discount being cancelled.
Most Council Tax discounts require documentary evidence. Please contact the Council Tax Team for further information.
You can also find further details about Council Tax on the GOV.UK website.
On this page:
Council Tax Reduction
If you qualify for Council Tax Reduction, you'll get money off your Council Tax bill.
For full details about the scheme, please read our
The 2023/24 Scheme
In 2023/24 there are no significant changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTR) for West Berkshire. The CTR scheme for 2023/24 continues to mirror Housing Benefit annual uprating of allowances and premiums used in the calculation of entitlement.
Local variations in working age CTR schemes are summarised below, and were implemented following consultation. These amendments do not apply to pension age claimants or working age claimants who fall within a protected group.
The following working age scheme amendments continue into 2023/24:
- The capital limit for people of working age seeking to claim CTR has reduced from £16,000 to £6,000, unless a claimant or partner qualify for an income-related benefit (income based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support). Where the sum of capital held by a claimant and/or their partner exceeds £6,000, either on 1 April 2023 or on the date of a new claim for CTR, there will be no entitlement to CTR for the entire remainder of the billing year.
- The maximum Council Tax liability eligible for CTR cannot exceed the amount for a Band C property. If you are residing in a property banded D to H you can receive CTR but this will be limited to the amount which would have been received if living in a Council Tax band C property within the same parish.
- A minimum contribution is payable by working age claimants, equivalent to 30% of Council Tax liability after deductions for any other discounts or reductions.
- If neither claimant or partner are receiving an income related benefit, the percentage of excess income (taper) used in the calculation is 30%. Excess income is the difference between weekly income and applicable amounts (the applicable amount is the minimum weekly income figure set by Central Government for anyone sharing your circumstances).
- The minimum weekly CTR award is £10 per week. No CTR will be awarded where calculated entitlement is below this level.
- Second adult rebate is no longer available where another adult is residing with you. CTR can only be awarded where the income and circumstances of a claimant and partner (if applicable) qualify for an entitlement.
A maximum reduction of 100% from a Council Tax bill can only be considered in some circumstances, for instance, if you or your partner are of pensionable age or fall into a protected group.
This means that Council Tax Reduction will be deducted from your full Council Tax liability if you or your partner are:
- of State Pension age and not receiving a working age benefit
- in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
- in receipt of Attendance Allowance
- in receipt of a War Pension
- in receipt of a disability element of Working Tax Credit
- in receipt of Severe Disablement Allowance
- in receipt of Incapacity Benefit at the long term rate or, if they are terminally ill, the short term higher rate
- in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (income or contribution based)
- in receipt of a 'limited capability for work' component within an award of Universal Credit
- responsible for a child or young person who lives with you and receives Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
Owners of empty homes in West Berkshire have to pay Council Tax for those properties.
Making a claim
You can apply for Council Tax Reduction whether you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.
To find out how to make a claim for Council Tax Reduction, please see our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction claims page.
Exceptional Hardship Fund
If you have applied for Council Tax Reduction but you believe that you (or a member of your family) will suffer exceptional hardship if you do not receive further assistance, you should complete a Benefits Team. This form is now provided in Word format so that it can be completed and returned to us in the same way as a claim for Council Tax Reduction.
Keep us informed
If you are already receiving Council Tax Reduction (and/or Housing Benefit) and your circumstances have changed, please report the change(s) using our. This may affect how much Council Tax you have to pay.
We'll send you a revised Council Tax bill showing any changes.
Disagreements and appeals
If you disagree with our decision regarding your entitlement to Council Tax Reduction you can ask us to look at it again.
You should contact the Benefits Team promptly, in writing (by letter), telling us what you think is wrong and why.
Single Person Discount
If you're the only resident in your household over the age of 18, you can apply for Single Person Discount to get a 25% discount on your Council Tax bill.
This discount can still apply where there are other adults in the household. These adults can be:
- full time students
- student nurses
- youth training trainees
- permanent hospital patients
- residents of certain homes and hostels
- severely mentally impaired people
- residents of certain hostels and night shelters
- members of certain religious communities
- certain 18 and 19 year olds
- carers and care workers
- persons held in prison or legal detention
- members of international headquarters or defence organisations
- members of visiting forces
- non-British spouses of students
- residents of a self-contained annexe occupied by a relation of the person liable to pay Council Tax on the main dwelling (50% discount)
You can apply for Single Person Discount on the My Council Tax website (this form is underneath 'Apply for Council Tax reductions').
You can also cancel your Single Person Discount on My Council Tax if your circumstances change (this form is also underneath 'Apply for Council Tax reductions').
If a disabled person is resident in your home, you may be eligible for Council Tax Disabled Reduction.
For full eligibility information, please refer to our.
To apply, please complete and return the Council Tax Team.to the
Exemptions and unoccupied charges
The following categories of property are not eligible for an exemption or reduction:
- vacant property (unless included in the exemptions below)
- second homes
- landlord unoccupied/unfurnished property
- property newly constructed or subject to repair
Properties exempt from Council Tax are those:
- unoccupied and owned by a charity
- left empty by prisoners
- unoccupied due to the person having gone to live in a care home
- the unoccupied home of a deceased tax payer (certain conditions apply)
- prohibited by law from being occupied
- held for minister of religion
- left empty because the liable person is providing care elsewhere
- left empty by students
- student halls of residence
- only occupied by students
- repossessed properties
- UK armed forces accommodation
- visiting forces accommodation
- left empty by a bankrupt person
- unoccupied caravan pitches or boat moorings
- occupied solely by persons under the age of 18
- unoccupied annexes which are unable to be let due to planning restrictions
- occupied solely by severely mentally impaired persons
- diplomatic residences
- self contained annexes occupied by a relation of the person liable to pay Council Tax on the main dwelling who are aged over 65, disabled or mentally impaired
To find out more about exemptions, how to apply and council tax for empty properties, please read our.