Exemptions, discounts & council tax support

Exemptions, discounts & council tax support

You may be eligible for discounts, exemptions and council tax support.

Properties exempt from council tax

Here you will find out about homes and properties exempt from council tax.

Important council tax changes from 1 April 2013 for empty properties
From the 1 April 2013, council tax exemptions for homes that are empty, substantially unfurnished properties, and those in need of structural alteration or major repair, have been abolished.

The 10% discount that was available for second homes has been removed. An empty homes premium is now charged on properties which have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for more than two years.

If you have any queries regarding these changes, please contact the council tax team on 01670 624884.
Classes of exemptions
View our classes of exemptions here and follow the appropriate instructions. All relevant forms can be found below, but if you require further information please contact the council tax section by:  
I have applied for an exemption. What happens next?
  • If you are granted an exemption, we may send you a review form to check you are still entitled to it. Failure to supply this information could result in removal of the exemption.
  • If you are awarded an exemption and your entitlement ends, you must notify the council within 21 days.
  • If you have applied for an exemption but have not yet received a decision on this application, you must still pay your council tax in accordance with your most recent bill.
  • If you are awarded a time-limited exemption with an expiration date, the council tax bill issued will show the exemption to the end of the financial year. A further bill will be issued immediately before the expiry date, showing the revised council tax liability.

Council tax - empty homes premium

An empty homes premium is now charged on properties which have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for more than two years.

The owners of these properties will now have to pay 150% of the council tax charges, except in certain circumstances which are detailed in our discount policy document.
 
If you require further information on this matter, please contact us by:

Council tax support

There are two types of financial support available to help you to meet your council tax payments - main council tax support and second adult rebate. Only one or the other can be granted, not both. The higher amount of the two will be granted if both types of reductions are applied for.

How to apply
If you wish to claim council tax support or second adult rebate, you can either:
What is council tax support?
Support is assessed on the income of the person or persons liable to pay council tax. Reductions of up to 100% of the amount payable are available. 

If your income exceeds the amount the government says you need to live on, a deduction is made from the full amount of support available. A further reduction may be made in respect of other adults living with you.
What is second adult rebate?
This is available where there is only one person liable to pay the council tax and they share their home with another person or persons, on a non-commercial basis.

The amount of second adult rebate granted is not linked to the income of the person liable to pay the council tax, but to the income of the other persons living with them.

You cannot normally claim second adult rebate if you live with your partner.
Who is eligible for second adult rebate?
You may get second adult rebate if the person you share your home with is:
  • not your partner or civil partner
  • aged 18 or over
  • not paying you rent
  • not paying council tax themselves
  • on a low income
  • you may be able to get second adult rebate even if you don't receive council tax support
How much would I be entitled to?
How will I receive the benefit?
The reduced amount of council tax you have to pay will be shown on your bill.

Council tax - disabled band relief

This reduction is available to disabled people who meet certain criteria.

How to apply
Send all completed forms to:

Northumberland County Council
Council Tax Section
Wansbeck Square
Ashington
Northumberland
NE63 9XL

The facilities need to be of major importance to the wellbeing of the disabled person due to the extent of their disability.
Who qualifies for disabled relief?
To qualify for a reduction, the disabled person must be a resident in a property with one of the following:
  • a room used predominately by the disabled person
This must be a room that is not a kitchen, bathroom, lavatory or bedroom in normal use. For example, the room may be used for housing a dialysis machine or other special equipment.
  • a second bathroom or kitchen
This extra bathroom or kitchen must be essential, or of major importance, to the wellbeing of the disabled person because of the extent of their disability.
  • space to use a wheelchair
This must be space that has been allowed for the disabled person to use a wheelchair indoors.
I have applied. What happens next?
Once we have your application, an inspections officer will contact you to arrange a time to inspect and assess the property. You will be notified in writing of the outcome of your application.

If you are awarded disabled band reduction, you will receive a reduction in your council tax equivalent to being charged at the next lowest valuation band.

For example, if you have a Band C property you would be charged council tax of a Band B property. If you are in Band A, your reduction is equivalent to 1/9 the charge of an average Band D property.

Single person council tax discount

If you live on your own, you may be entitled to a 25% discount.

How to apply
Send all completed forms to:

Northumberland County Council
Council Tax Section
Wansbeck Square
Ashington
Northumberland
NE63 9XL
Find out more about single person discount and who qualifies
If you are the only adult living in your property, you are entitled to a 25% discount on your council tax. An adult is anyone aged 18 years or older. This applies to single occupancy only where it is the sole/main residence, and not if the house is empty.

If you have become the sole adult in your property, as a result of another person moving out, we need a forwarding address for that person to process your discount.

If you have a partner or adult children who work away, they will usually be regarded as living in the family home. Please contact us to be sure.
Has your entitlement to single person discount changed?
We urge residents to let us know if they have had a change in their circumstances that would affect their entitlement to the discount.

If you receive a review form, it’s vital you fill it in promptly and accurately. Failure to return the review form may result in your discount being removed. Anyone who knowingly supplies false information may also be liable for a fine.

If you are no longer the only eligible adult living in the property, contact the council tax team on 0345 600 6400 or for local telephone numbers, click here.

Other council tax discounts

Certain adults are not counted for council tax purposes.

They are referred to as disregarded persons. This means that when we count the number of people in your property they are ignored.

The categories of disregarded persons can be found here, along with application forms and the evidence required to disregard them from council tax at a particular property.

How to apply
To apply you will need to download and complete the relevant disregard discount application form or write to the address shown below.

Completed application forms should be sent to:

Northumberland County Council
Council Tax Section,
Wansbeck Square,
Ashington,
Northumberland
NE63 9XL

Please ensure all required evidence and information is provided, as this allows us to process your application quickly and accurately. Applications made without the necessary evidence cannot be processed until it is provided.

Council tax - annexe reduction

Annexes used by the council tax payer of the main dwelling as part of the main dwelling, or annexes which are occupied by a relative of the council tax payer of the main dwelling, will be entitled to a 50% reduction in the amount of council tax payable on the annexe.

Criteria for reduction
  • the annexe must form part of a single property which includes at least one other dwelling. For example, the annexe must be within the grounds of the main dwelling, but not necessarily attached to it, and:
  • is being used by the resident of the main dwelling as part of their main home
         or
  • is the main residence of a relative* of the council taxpayer living in the main dwelling
* a relative is defined as: a partner, parent, child, step child, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, great grandparent, great grandchild and other relationships as defined in the Council Tax (Reductions for Annexes) (England) Regulations 2013. 

The 50% reduction is in addition to any other discount that the council tax payer or their relative may be entitled to. For example, if an adult son is living in the annexe on his own he will be liable to pay the council tax on the annexe and will be entitled to a 25% single person discount, plus a 50% annexe reduction on the remaining liability.
 
How to apply
Applications must be made in writing, including the following information:
  • name
  • address
  • confirmation that they fulfil criteria
  • relationship of person in annexe
  • dates from which discount to apply
Please send to:

Northumberland County Council
Council Tax Section,
Wansbeck Square,
Ashington,
Northumberland
NE63 9XL

For further information, please contact the council tax section on 01670 624884.

Change of circumstances

If you have been granted any exemption, discount or support that you are not entitled to, or you fail to notify the council within 21 days of a change in circumstances that may affect your entitlement, you could be liable to a civil penalty of £70 or £280. You may also be prosecuted.

To notify us, please include all information regarding your change of circumstance and contact us by: