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Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Council Tax Reduction Scheme

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If you live in England and are on a low income, your local authority might be able to help you pay your council tax. These Council Tax Reduction Schemes, sometimes known as Council Tax Support, have been running since April 2013, and replace the old Council Tax Benefit.

Different criteria

The amount of financial help you’ll receive if you’re of working age depends on where you live as some councils work it out as a percentage of the total bill, others have a set discount within their scheme and others may not have to pay anything.

However, if you’re a pensioner, you’ll get the same amount of Council Tax Reduction as you would have done if you were still receiving Council Tax Benefit.

This means you’ll full Council Tax Reduction if your income is less than the amount government says you need to live on (applicable amount). If you receive guarantee credit, you’ll get the maximum reduction regardless of your income.

Who can get Council Tax reduction?

Not everyone can get Council Tax Reduction; you won’t be eligible if you are subject to immigration control or don’t have the right to live in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Republic of Ireland.

Each local authority within England is responsible for running its own scheme, and as such, there are differences between each council. You can find out more information about more than 300 schemes on the Rightsnet website www.rightsnet.org.uk.

There is a default scheme set up by the government that your council can choose to use. If they do, you’ll get the full Council Tax Reduction if your income is less than the applicable amount – for both pensioners and people of working age.

Anyone with a higher income might still get some financial help. This is calculated as 20% of the difference between the applicable amount and your income.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Still trying to reduce your bill?

Should you not be entitled to the full benefit, your council can still reduce your bill or cancel it altogether, but they will only do this in exceptional circumstances. You will need to provide evidence of financial hardship.

Even if your local authority uses their own scheme, it must include rules about how to apply. Information on how applications are decided, arrangements for backdating the benefit, extended reductions and when you need to inform them of a change in circumstances.

Can I appeal?

If you’re unhappy with the decision about Council Tax Reduction, you can appeal. Firstly, you’ll need to ask the council to reconsider their decision. If they won’t change it, or haven’t replied to you within two months, you can appeal through a Valuation Tribunal.

If you’re not satisfied with how your claim has been handled, for example there may have been undue delays, you can complain to the council via their official complaints procedure. If you’re not happy with the outcome, you may be able to refer it to the Local Government Ombudsman.



About Jemma Porter

About Jemma Porter

Jemma Porter is an experienced content creator who has written for a number of online publications. A self-confessed penny pincher; she's often found seeking out the best personal finance deals.

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