Changes to Council Tax Benefit and Council Tax Discounts & Exemptions
On the 16 January Full Council decided on the Local Council Tax Reduction scheme that would replace the national Council Tax Benefit scheme from 1 April 2013 and on changes to some Council Tax Discounts & Exemptions.
The decision followed a 12 week consultation period and looks to minimise the impact on the most vulnerable households whilst supporting work incentives. The results from the consultations are at appendix 1 and appendix 2.
The local Council Tax Reduction scheme follows the lines of the Council Tax Benefit scheme with some important changes. The changes are:
- It is now a discount scheme rather than a benefit scheme
- Second adult rebates have been abolished
- An increase in non-dependant deduction
- A minimum award of £5.00 per week. If you qualify for less than £5.00 per week you will not get any help.
- Run-ons have been increased from four to eight weeks. A run-on can be awarded, under certain circumstances, to someone who goes back to work.
If you recieve Council Tax Benefit on 31 March 2013 we will automatically assess your entitlement to a Council Tax Reduction; there is no need to claim again.
We will be writing in February/March to all those affected by this change. If you want to know how this may affect you, you can use our Council Tax Reduction calculator to find out what it means for you. The calculator is:
A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is at appendix 3.
Council Tax Discounts & Exemptions
The Council agreed to:
- End the current 10% discount enjoyed by second home owners
- Reduce the council tax discount on empty properties undergoing major repairs to 50%
- Reduce to one month the period that unoccupied, unfurnished are exempt from council tax
- Charge 150% of the usual council tax on properties that have been empty and unfurnished for more than two years. Exceptions will be properties that are genuinely being marketed for sale or rent; those that are the sole or main residence of a member of the armed forces and properties deemed unoccupied because they are being treated by the occupier of the main dwelling as part of that dwelling (this is usually an annex).