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Council Tax discounts and exemptions

There are a variety of Council Tax discounts, reductions and exemptions available and they apply in various circumstances.

If you think you are entitled to any of these discounts please continue to pay your Council Tax bill but follow the instructions given. Once we have your details, we can consider whether the discount or exemption applies. If it does apply we will send out a new bill which takes into account any money you have already paid.

If we give you a discount or exemption by mistake, or you are no longer entitled because your circumstances have changed, you must let us know within 21 days. Failure to do so may result in a £70 fixed penalty, or you could be prosecuted.

Council Tax is based on the assumption that there are at least 2 adults (people aged 18 or over) living in the property.

Council Tax Support

If you are on low income you may be eligible for Council Tax Reduction.

Council Tax Reduction may reduce a Council Tax bill by:

  • up to 65% where a person of working age lives in the property 
  • up to 100% where an individual or couple are over pensionable age

Single Person Discount

If you are the only adult living in your home (aged 18 or over), we can give you a single person discount of 25%. If your circumstances change and you are no longer the only adult in your property you will need to cancel your discount with us.

You can apply for/cancel a single person discount online at www.reading.gov.uk/customeraccount and select 'Dashboard'

Your property is unoccupied or is a second home

Those with job related second homes provided by an employer for reasons of employment may be eligible for a 50% discount if certain conditions apply:

  • the duties of the job make it necessary for you to live there. For example a publican who owns their own home but their contract states they must live in the pub they run
  • the accommodation is provided for the better performance of the duties of the employment and it is usual for employers to provide accommodation. For example a caretaker or church minister
  • there is a threat to the employee's security or special security arrangements are in force and the employee resides in the dwelling as part of those arrangements

Long term empty properties

If your property is unoccupied and unfurnished you will have to pay the current 100% charge:

  • from 1 April 2020 an extra 100% will be charged on properties that are unoccupied and unfurnished for two years or more, but less than five years
  • if the property is unoccupied and unfurnished for five years or more an extra 200% will be charged, this is in addition to the current 100% charge

Discounts for people who aren't counted

Certain people aren't counted when working out the number of adults who live in your home, therefore your bill will be reduced. If 2 adults live in your property and we do not count 1, you can apply for a 25% discount. You can apply for a 50% discount if all the adults are not counted.

When someone is not counted, this means that they are 'disregarded' for Council Tax discount purposes.

Who do we disregard?

  • 18 and 19 year olds for whom child benefit is being paid or who leave school or college between 30 April to 1 November
  • full time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth trainees
  • students or a student's non British spouse or dependants
  • patients living in hospital
  • persons who are living in nursing or care homes
  • certain care workers and carers
  • those detained in prison, hospital or by a court order (except those in prison for non-payment of Council Tax, or paying a fine
  • severely mentally impaired (This must be medically certified and the person entitled to a qualifying benefit but not necessarily claiming)
  • resident of certain types of hostels
  • members of visiting forces and their families
  • members of international headquarters and defence organisations and their families
  • members of certain religious communities

If you think you are eligible for a discount please download and complete the appropriate form:

council tax discount form

Exemptions available

Sometimes you may not have to pay Council Tax on a property. Most exemptions only apply when no one lives in a property, but sometimes occupied properties are exempt. Where an exemption has been granted it will be shown on your bill. 

Exemptions available for unoccupied properties

B - property owned by a charity that is unoccupied for less than 6 months

D - property left unoccupied by someone who has gone to prison

E - property left unoccupied by someone who has moved permanently into a hospital or care home

F - a property left unoccupied because the former owner has died. The exemption lasts for up to six months after probate has been granted and providing that the property has not been passed to beneficiaries, sold or re-let before that time

G - property which is empty because occupation is forbidden by law

H - an unoccupied property waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion

I - property unoccupied by someone who lives elsewhere to receive personal care

J - property left unoccupied by someone who has moved out to care for another person

K - property left unoccupied by a student and was last occupied by that student

L - repossessed property

Q - property left unoccupied by a bankrupt individual

R - a vacant caravan pitch or boat mooring

T - unoccupied property forming part of another property (annex) which cannot be let separately

Exemption available for occupied properties

M - students halls of residence

N - property only occupied by students

O - property used by the armed forces

P - property occupied by visiting forces

S - property occupied only by people under 18 years of age

U - property occupied only by people who are severely mentally impaired

V - property occupied by diplomats or members of certain international organisations

W - self contained annexes occupied by elderly or disabled relatives 

A 50% discount may be granted for annexes used by the owner or tenant of the main building or occupied by a member of his or her family.

If you think you are eligible for an exemption please download and complete the appropriate form:

council tax exemption form

For advice or information on the other exemptions listed please call 0118 937 3727

Disabled person discount

If you use a wheelchair indoors or have an additional room to meet the needs of a disabled person you may be entitled to the disabled band reduction scheme.

When we consider your application we need to be sure that: 

  • There is a disabled resident who needs space for the use of a wheelchair in the home, or there is a special or additional kitchen, bathroom or other room, and
  • This space or room is essential or of major importance to the wellbeing of the disabled resident because of the nature and extent of his or her disability

You can use our online form to apply for this discount.  

We may need to inspect your property to confirm the adaptations meet the required criteria.

Reading Care Leavers

With effect from 1 April 2020, where a qualifying Reading Care Leaver is liable to pay Council Tax the following discount will be allowed reducing the Council Tax charge for the qualifying period.

  • Under 19 years, 100% discount
  • Under 20 years, 66% discount
  • Under 21 years, 33% discount
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