Due to essential maintenance some of our forms will be unavailable between 20:00hours - 00:00hours

Birmingham City Council

Council Tax – Exemptions and Discounts

Overview

Important changes to Discounts and Exemptions

From 1 April 2013, the help available with your council tax bill will change.

The Government has abolished Council Tax Benefit from this date, and asked Authorities to replace it with a local scheme called Council Tax Support.

Birmingham City Council looked at the best way to do this whilst protecting the most vulnerable people and a scheme was prepared following consultation with the public. This scheme was agreed by full Council on 8 January 2013. You can find out more about this on our dedicated page

As a result of this, we have had to change the way we award discounts and exemptions for empty properties.

From 1 April 2013, empty properties will no longer receive any discount or exemption and will be liable for 100% of their council tax bill.

If you currently have an exemption or discount for any of the following, this will end on 31 March 2013 and a full Council Tax charge will apply:

  • an empty and unfurnished property;
  • an empty and furnished property;
  • a property under or requiring structural repair;
  • a non job related second home;

Also from this date if your property has been empty and unfurnished for two years or more you will be charged an additional 50% premium, as allowed by the Local Government Finance Act 2012. This will mean that you will now be liable for 150% of your Council Tax bill.

For example:

Band A property -

Charge from 1 April 2013 = £845.95

50% additional charge = £422.98

Total Council Tax to pay = £1268.93

Council Tax Benefit

This will continue to exist until 31 March 2013, and if you are on a low income you may be entitled to some help with your council tax bill.

Reduction for Disabled Facilities

If you or a member of your household has a disability and your home has been adapted to meet these needs, you may qualify for a reduction in your bill.

Please contact us if you require more information regarding council tax.


Reduction for Occupied Annexes

The Government has introduced a council tax discount of 50% for annexes used by the owner or tenant of the main building or occupied by a member of his or her family. This is applicable from 1 April 2014.


The discount will apply where the annexe has been separately banded and is classed as a separate dwelling. The Council Tax payer will know if the property has been classed as a separate dwelling, because they will have a separate Council Tax bill for it.

The new discount applies if the annexe is used by the resident of the main building or if it is occupied by a family member. Where a non-family member occupies an annexe, the discount will not apply.


In order to obtain the discount, the Council Tax payer will be required to apply for it by filling in the attached form.




Essential Information
  • Who qualifies?

    The full bill is payable where there are at least two adults living in the property and no discount or exemption applies.

    If there is only one adult living at the property you can apply for a 25% discount.

    You may be entitled to a discount if adults living in the property fall into a category which means they are disregarded (ignored) for the purposes of calculating the discount.

    • If all the adults are disregarded there is a 50% discount.

    • If all but one of the adults living at the property is disregarded there is a 25% discount.

    • If there are two or more adults who are not disregarded there is no discount.

    In some cases an exemption may apply instead, for instance where all the adults at the property are students.

    To find out if you might be entitled to an exemption or discount please see the categories set out in the essential information section.


    How to apply

    If you think you qualify you can:

    • use the online Discounts and Exemptions form, OR
    • make a postal application by printing off and completing the relevant form at the bottom of this page

    If you are getting a discount or exemption, circumstances have changed and you think you may no longer qualify, you can:



    How can I appeal against a refusal to award a discount or exemption?


    You can ask us to reconsider our decision not to award a discount or exemption by


    • writing to us at

    Birmingham City Council

    Resources Directorate (Revenues and Benefits)

    PO Box 5

    Birmingham B4 7AB

    You will need to state clearly what it is you are asking us to reconsider and provide supporting evidence.

    We will respond in writing once we have reviewed our decision. We aim to do this within two months although you should receive a reply much sooner.

    • If we agree you that your discount or exemption is incorrect we will send you a revised bill

    • If we decide our original decision was correct we will provide you with a full written explanation and advise you of your right of appeal to the Valuation Tribunal within two months from the date of our response.

    If you have not received a reply after two months, you can appeal direct to the Valuation Tribunal within a further two months but we would ask that you contact us again first to check that we received your original request.



  • If you’re the only adult (aged 18 or over) living in your home, you can claim a single person discount of 25%. This discount is awarded on your main home and not on second homes.

    If you are claiming a discount because someone has moved out of your home leaving you as the only adult, please tell us their new address. This will help us check your claim. You will not be entitled to a discount if someone has left your home for a short period of time, or intends to return in the future.

  • Please note that there are changes to these rules with effect from 1 April 2013.

    Currently if a property is not your main residence and is your second home, you may qualify for a 10% discount. This will end on 31 March 2013 and a full Council Tax charge will apply from 1 April 2013.

    We may have to decide which is your main residence. You may be asked for further information for us to check which property is classed as your main residence

    If your second home is job-related, that is, your employment contract requires you to live in the property, you may be entitled to a discount of 50%.

    If one of your properties is outside Birmingham, please include a copy of your council tax bill for this property with your application for a discount.

  • You could be exempt from paying council tax if:

    • You're a full time student living in a property on your own
    • You're a full time student living in a property solely with other full time students

    You could be entitled to a 25% discount on your council tax if:

    • All residents are full time students except one other adult who is not a student.
    • If two or more non-students occupy a property then there is no reduction.

    In most cases, it’s the people who are non-students that are liable to pay the council tax.

    A student’s non-British partner or dependant is also not included when we count the number of adults living in your home. To qualify they should be prevented from working or claiming benefits, as set out in the terms of leave to enter or remain in the UK; and not be a British citizen.

    We will need to see a copy of the appropriate visa or document of entry to the UK when you apply for a discount or exemption.

    If any of the following circumstances apply to you, a member of your household or your property then you may able to claim a discount or exemption.


    Full time students attending college or university

    To qualify you must be undertaking a full-time or qualifying course at a Prescribed Educational Establishment. A full-time course is one:

    • Which lasts for at least one academic year at the educational establishment concerned
    • Where attendance is required for periods of at least 24 weeks in the academic year; and
    • Which involves at least 21 hours a week during term time for periods of study, tuition, work experience or a combination of these.

    A Qualifying Course is one:

    • Where the person undertaking it is under 20 years of age
    • The course lasts for more than 3 months; is more than 12 hours per week; is not a course of higher education or a correspondence course and is not undertaken as a consequence of employment (I.e. day release)
    • Attendance must be between 8.00am and 5.30pm

    If you are a student at Birmingham or Aston University, confirmation of your student status is sent directly to us. However, you will still need to complete an application form to apply for a discount or an exemption.

    For all other educational establishments we will need to see your student certificate when you apply for a discount or an exemption.

    Student nurses

    Nursing and midwifery students, including those on pre-registration undergraduate courses and post-registration health visitor training, count as students. For discount purposes a student nurse means a person undertaking a course which if successfully completed, would lead to registration under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1997.Student nurses taking traditional hospital based training do not count as students.


    PHD Students


    PHD students are exempt from Council Tax; but not for an open ended period, if they meet the criteria of a full-time student.


    Foreign language assistants


    To qualify you must be registered with the Central Bureau for educational visits and exchanges; and appointed in a school or other educational institution in the UK.


    We will need to see the appropriate student certificate or Central Bureau registration certificate when you apply for a discount or exemption.

    School and college leavers under the age of 20

    An 18 0r 19 year old that has left school or college after 30 April will not be included until 1 November of the same year.

    To qualify, their education course must not have been any higher than A level or equivalent.

    If they go on to further or higher education they may continue to be eligible for a discount.

    Student halls of residence

    Halls of residence are exempt if they are occupied by students and owned and managed by an educational establishment.

    A property left unoccupied by a student owner

    Properties left unoccupied by a student owner may be exempt from paying Council tax.

    Please note: the following are not classed as students and are therefore liable for Council Tax:

    • people studying at evening classes or
    • courses taken in connection with a person's job, such as day release


    You may find the following websites useful:


    Register of Sponsors Licensed Under the Points Based System


    Department of Education Register of Educational Establishments in England and Wales


    UK Register of Learning Providers
  • Carers


    You can be disregarded as a care worker for the purpose of Council Tax if you are employed to provide care or support someone for at least 24 hours a week and are paid no more than £44 a week for doing so. You must also be employed to provide care to another person or persons on behalf of a public authority, a charitable organisation or the government. You must live in accommodation provided by your employer to help you perform your work.


    If the carer is not paid to provide care we may still disregard you for the purpose of Council Tax. To qualify you must be resident and provide care or support for at least 35 hours a week. This person must not be your partner, your spouse, or your child aged under 18.

    The person being cared for must also get one of these benefits:

    • The highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance

    • Higher rate Attendance Allowance

    • Increase in Constant Attendance Allowance under the Industrial Injuries or War Pensions scheme

    • Highest rate of Constant Attendance Allowance payable on top of full rate Disablement Benefit paid for an industrial injury

    A property left unoccupied by a carer is exempt, regardless of whether the carer meets any of the above conditions.



    A property unoccupied because the former resident is providing care

    If you provide full time care to someone and as a result you now have your sole or main residence elsewhere, your unoccupied property is exempt indefinitely.

    The person being cared for must need care because of:

    o Old age or

    o Disability or

    o Illness or

    o Past or present alcohol or drug dependence or

    o Past or present mental illness.



    A property unoccupied because the former resident is receiving care

    If you receive personal care and as a result you now have your sole or main residence elsewhere, your unoccupied property is exempt indefinitely.

    You must receive personal care because of:

    o Old age or

    o Disability or

    o Illness or

    o Past or present alcohol or drug dependence or

    o Past or present mental illness.



    Resident hospital patients

    If you have a short stay in hospital it has no effect on your council tax liability or the amount that must be paid. However if you go into hospital for so long that your home can no longer be seen as your main residence, your home will be exempt from council tax while it is unoccupied. For example, a patient moves into a residential home immediately after leaving hospital and does not return to their previous home.


    Nursing, residential care home and hostel residents

    It is the owners and not the residents of these types of accommodation who are liable for council tax. The person liable for the bill can claim a discount if the accommodation is the residents only or main home. They must also be receiving a high level of personal care or treatment because of:

     Old age or

     Disability or

     Illness or

     Past or present alcohol or drug dependence or

     Past or present mental illness.

    A property is exempt indefinitely if it has been left unoccupied by a person resident in a care home, nursing home or certain hostels which is now considered to be their main home.

    Residents in hostels and night shelters for homeless people

    It is the owners and not the residents of these types of accommodation who are liable for council tax. The person liable for the bill can claim a discount if the property’s main or only purpose is to provide accommodation for people of no fixed abode and no settled way of life. Most of the accommodation must be communal and not sub-divided into self-contained units.

  • People in this category are not included when we count the number of adults living in your home when we consider the award of a discount.

    A property may be exempt if it is occupied solely by people with a severe mental impairment, including the person liable to pay the council tax. Where the landlord or care home is liable the property is not exempt.

    A person is regarded as severely mentally impaired if, for whatever reason, they have severe and permanent impairment of intelligence and social functioning.

    To qualify

    A doctor must confirm that the person has a permanent mental illness. They must also be entitled to (though not necessarily receiving) one of the following benefits:

    • Incapacity benefit;
    • Attendance allowance;
    • Constant attendance allowance;
    • Severe disablement allowance;
    • Disability living allowance (higher or middle rate care component);
    • Disabled person tax credit;
    • Income support (if applicable amount includes disability premium);
    • An unemployability allowance or supplement.

    When you apply, we will need to see confirmation of entitlement to the appropriate benefit.

  • This will be exempt if:

    • The annex is separately banded for council tax but forms part of another property; and
    • Is occupied by a dependant relative as their sole or main residence.

    A relative is classed as a dependant if:

    • They are over the age of 65; or
    • Are substantially or permanently disabled; or
    • Severely mentally impaired.
  • People aged under 18 are not liable for council tax. If a property is occupied solely by people under 18, it’s the owner or the landlord who is liable.

    If you have received a bill and are not 18 years old, please tell us and we will amend our records. We will also need you to tell us your date of birth and the owner or landlord’s name and contact details.

  • Eighteen year-olds who are still in full time education are still entitled to receive child benefit. People in this category are not included when we count the number of adults living in your home when we consider the award of a discount.

    Please provide confirmation of entitlement to child benefit when you apply for a discount.

  • People in this category are not included when we count the number of adults living in your home when we consider the award of a discount.


    To qualify


    They must be employed to learn a job and be undertaking a programme of training leading to a qualification accredited by the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NVQ)

    Their salary or allowance must be no more than £195 a week (before tax) but be likely to earn substantially more when qualified.


    When you apply for the discount a declaration is required from the apprentice’s employer as proof of the apprenticeship.


  • People in this category are not included when we count the number of adults living in your home when we consider the award of a discount.

    To qualify

    The trainees must be:

    • Under 25;
    • Receiving approved training funded by the Skills Funding Agency; and
    • Receiving training in line with an individual training plan under section two of the Employment and Training Act 1973.

    Please provide either a copy of the individual training plan issued by the training provider, or a declaration is required from the training provider, when you apply for a discount.

    Visit GOV.UK for more information about approved training courses.

  • Persons who are detained in prison, a hospital or any other place by a court are to be disregarded. This also includes people who are detained under the deportation provisions of the Immigration Act 1971 and those detained under the Mental Health Act 1983. However, this does not apply to a person who is in police custody before their court appearance, or who is detained for non-payment of council tax/fine.

    An exemption applies if a property is now unoccupied because the former resident is in prison or detention.


    When applying for the discount or exemption please provide a signed declaration from the place of detention.


  • It’s the owners and not the residents of accommodation occupied by religious communities who are liable for council tax. People in this category are not included when we count the number of adults living in a property when we consider the award of a discount.

    To qualify

    A person is considered a member of a religious community if:

    • The principal occupation of the community consists of prayer, contemplation, education, the relief of suffering, or a combination of these; and
    • They are dependent on the community to provide for their material needs and have no income or capital of their own (except any state or works pension from a former employer).

    Please provide a copy of the aims and objectives, or constitution of the religious community when applying for a discount.

  • If members of a visiting force or their dependants are resident in your household, you may be eligible for a discount or an exemption.


    To qualify

    o The member or their dependant should not be a British citizen, and;

    o The member should have a relevant association as defined in Part 1 of the Visiting Forces Act 1952.

    A discount can apply when the member of the visiting force or their dependant are resident but not liable to pay the council tax. For example, if a member of a visiting force lodges with a British Citizen.

    A property is exempt if one of the liable people has a relevant association with a visiting force. For example, where the liable persons are a visiting serviceman and his British wife.




    .

  • Properties owned by the Secretary of State for Defence that provide accommodation for the armed forces are exempt. These include barracks and married quarters.

  • A property is exempt indefinitely if at least one person who would ordinarily be liable has diplomatic, commonwealth or consular privilege or immunity.

    If they are resident but not liable for council tax, for example a lodger, then you may be eligible for a discount. These people are not included when we count the number of adults living in your home, when we consider the award of a discount.

    To qualify

    They must not be:

    • A permanent resident of the UK;
    • A British citizen;
    • A British subject; or
    • A British protected person.

    Please provide evidence of diplomatic, commonwealth or consular privilege or immunity when you apply for a discount or exemption.

  • A vacant property needing or undergoing major repairs

    Currently we can grant an exemption to an unoccupied, unfurnished property for up to 12 months that:

    • Needs major repair work to make it fit to live in, or
    • Is undergoing structural alterations.

    This exemption will end on 31 March 2013 and you will be liable for the full Council Tax charge from 1 April 2013.


    An unoccupied and unfurnished property

    This exemption can last for up to six months. .

    This exemption will end on 31 March 2013 and you will be liable for the full Council Tax charge from 1 April 2013.


    An unoccupied furnished property

    No discount will apply to this type of property from 1 April 2013. A full Council Tax charge will apply.



    An unoccupied property owned by a charity

    An unoccupied property owned by a charity is exempt for up to six months from the last day it was occupied. It must have been occupied for at least six weeks before this, for the purposes of the charity's objectives.

    An application for this exemption must be made in writing to the council, stating the organisation's registered charity number and / or supporting evidence of charitable purposes e.g. associations governing documents. This application form is attached at the bottom of this page.

    A property unoccupied because the former resident is in prison or detention

    An unoccupied property is exempt indefinitely if it was last occupied as the sole or main residence of someone who is:

    • On remand;
    • In prison; or
    • Detained under the Mental Health Acts or under the Immigration Act.

    The exemption will continue as long as the former resident remains the person liable for Council Tax.

    This does not apply to people who are in prison for non-payment of a fine or council tax.

    It doesn’t matter whether the unoccupied property is furnished or unfurnished.

    A property unoccupied because the former resident is in a hospital, home or hostel

    An unoccupied property is exempt indefinitely if the last person who lived there has been, or is likely to be in:

    • Hospital;
    • A care home;
    • A nursing home; or
    • Certain hostels

    For so long that their former home is no longer considered to be their sole or main residence. If someone has a short stay in hospital it has no effect on council tax liability or the amount that must be paid.

    It doesn’t matter whether the unoccupied property is furnished or unfurnished.

    The exemption will continue as long as the former resident remains the person liable for Council Tax. For so long that their former home is no longer considered to be their sole or main residence. If someone has a short stay in hospital it has no effect on council tax liability or the amount that must be paid.


    A property unoccupied because the owner or tenant has died

    Please use the online form to notify us of a death.

    The property is exempt until probate is granted or letters of administration are obtained. Exemption then continues for up to six months afterwards if the property remains unoccupied. It doesn’t matter whether the unoccupied property is furnished or unfurnished.

    This exemption does not apply if the deceased left the property to a beneficiary in their will. In this case the beneficiary becomes liable for council tax at the date of death as they are deemed to become the owner on that date.


    It is important that you let us know if you sell the house or if some moves in



    A property where occupation is prohibited by law

    A property is exempt indefinetly when it's unoccupied because by law it is not allowed to be lived in.

    An example of this is when a compulsory purchase order has been served on the property.

    If the home is lived in illegally, for example by squatters, it will no longer be exempt. The illegal residents will be charged council tax.

    A property left unoccupied for a minister of religion

    Unoccupied vicarages and similar properties are exempt indefinitely. They must be awaiting occupation by a minister of any religious denomination who will perform their duties there.

    It doesn’t matter whether the unoccupied property is furnished or unfurnished.

    A property unoccupied because the former resident is receiving care elsewhere

    An unoccupied property is exempt indefinitely if the last person to live there is now living elsewhere to receive personal care and the property they have moved to is classed as their sole or main home.

    Different conditions apply for resident hospital patients, nursing, residential care home and hostel residents.

    The people who are receiving personal care must need it because of:

    • Old age
    • Disability
    • Illness
    • Past or present alcohol or drug dependence; or
    • Past or present mental illness.

    This exemption would end when the person is no longer responsible for payment of Council Tax on that property

    A property left unoccupied by a student owner

    An unoccupied property is exempt indefinitely if the last person to live there is a student and they have:

    • Been a student since they last lived in the property; or
    • Become a student within six weeks of leaving the property; and
    • The property was their only or main residence.

    This exemption would end when the person is no longer responsible for payment of Council Tax on that property.

    An unoccupied property repossessed by a mortgagee

    An unoccupied property is exempt indefinitely if it has been repossessed by a mortgagee under the terms of the loan.


    The exemption is awarded to the mortgagor not the mortgagee, as they remain liable for council tax. The exemption ends when the property is sold.


    Please provide confirmation of the repossession date from the mortgagee when you apply for an exemption.


    An unoccupied property where the liable person is a trustee in bankruptcy

    An unoccupied property is exempt indefinitely if the person liable is a trustee in bankruptcy.

    The trustee is appointed by a general meeting of a bankrupt person’s creditors or the court. It’s their duty to take over the property that the bankrupt person owns and sell it. They distribute the resulting funds among the creditors.

    The property will be exempt as long as the circumstances remain the same. You must tell us about any changes that affect the exemption, for example someone moves into the property, the property is sold or the bankruptcy order is cancelled.

    An unoccupied caravan pitch or boat mooring


    Council tax is charged on a pitch occupied by a caravan or a mooring occupied by a boat if it is someone’s sole or main home.

    A pitch or mooring not occupied by a caravan or boat is exempt.

    An unoccupied annex which cannot be let separately

    An unoccupied annex is exempt indefinitely if it can’t be let separately from the main property without breaching planning conditions. An example is an unoccupied ‘granny flat’.

  • If you receive benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions, or you are on a low income, you may be entitled to council tax benefit to help towards your bill.

    It reduces the amount of council tax that you have to pay. If you qualify, it can be awarded in addition to any other reductions you may be entitled to, for example, a single person discount.

    You may still qualify for council tax benefit if:

    • You are working;
    • You have other income such as a works pension or a private pension; or
    • You have savings.

    How much can I get?

    The amount depends on your individual circumstances and takes account of any:

    • Income you get from working;
    • Pensions you have;
    • Other benefits you receive;
    • Tax credits;
    • Savings over £6,000; and
    • Members of your household.

    Single people, couples and families of any age can get council tax benefit. There is no minimum amount – even if you are only entitled to £1.00 per week that still means over £50.00 coming off your annual bill!

    Second adult rebate

    If your income is too high to qualify for council tax benefit you might still be able to get some help. You may be able to claim a second adult rebate if:

    • You are a single person; and
    • You are living with another adult on a low income; and
    • They are not your partner; and
    • They are not liable to pay council tax.

    There may be more than one ‘second adult’ in your household.

    The application should be made by person liable to pay the council tax and not the ‘second adult’.

    How to make a claim or notify us of a change in your circumstances

    For further details about applying for council tax benefit or second adult rebate go to make a new claim.


    If you already get council tax benefit you must inform us about any changes in your circumstances immediately.

  • If you or someone who lives with you has a disability and your home has been adapted to meet their needs, you might be able to claim a reduction.

    The reduction will be equivalent to rebanding the property into the band that is the one below your property is currently banded at.  Band A is the lowest, so if you’re already in this band, we will reduce your bill by the equivalent of one-ninth of Band D.

    We can give you this reduction as well as any other discounts you may be entitled to and council tax benefit, if you qualify.

    We might be able to give you a reduction if you have any of the following features that are necessary to the disabled person’s wellbeing:

    • A room, other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet which is used mainly by the disabled person. Examples are an extension or a room used for storing dialysis equipment or wheelchairs, or a bedroom on the ground floor in a property with two or more floors.
    • An additional bathroom or kitchen, specifically to meet the needs of the disabled person.
    • Adaptations to your home to allow sufficient floor space inside the property for the use of a wheelchair.

    How to apply

    If your property has been adapted for a disabled person and you want to apply for a reduction, please use the Reduction for Disabled Facilities Form.

    We will contact you when we receive your application. We may need to visit your property to decide whether you qualify for a reduction.

  • People in this category and their dependants are not included when we count the number of adults living in your home, when we consider the award of a discount.

    The headquarters and defence organisation must be the subject of an order in council under section 1 of the International and Defence Organisations Act 1964.

    Please provide evidence of the relevant association when you apply for a discount.

Frequently Asked Questions
    • There’s no specific discount for someone of a pensionable age. However, if you are on a low income you may be entitled to Council Tax Benefit which reduces the amount you have to pay.

    • In most cases this will be when the qualifying conditions are met. For example, if someone moved out of your home last year leaving you as the sole occupier, and you’re still paying the full charge, the single person discount will be awarded from the date they moved out, and not from the date that you tell us about it. In some cases we may request some proof to confirm the date the award should apply.

    • Yes. Please write to us stating why you think the decision is wrong, providing any evidence that may help your appeal.

      We have to make a decision within two months, although you should receive a response sooner than this. If you disagree with our decision, or we have taken longer than two months, you can appeal to a Valuation Tribunal. We will explain this process when we respond to your appeal.

    • No. The council tax you pay goes towards providing a wide range of services to all of the city's residents rather than individual taxpayers. The money collected from council tax payments only accounts for a small amount of the actual cost of providing these services.