Council Tax

You may know that people on a low income can get money off their council tax bill, but there are also other discounts and exemptions. The discounts and exemptions are given regardless of income and some carers and disabled people may qualify.

The information here is especially for carers and the people they care for. It is not a complete list of who can get help. In the further information section, there are links where you find out about all the help with council tax that is available.

Some of the definitions and discounts available have complex rules so it’s always best to get advice if you are not sure if you would be entitled.

I am on a low income. What help can I get with council tax?
My house has been adapted for the person I care for
What is the single occupier discount?
Who is a disregarded person?
Can carers be disregarded?
People who have a severe mental impairment can be disregarded. What does this mean?
After disregarding some people in my household, how much discount will I get?
Exemptions from paying council tax
How to apply for a discount
Further information

I am on a low income. What help can I get with council tax?

Council tax support or reduction is a means tested way of getting help with your council tax and people on a low income should check to see if they would qualify. The amount of council tax support you will get depends on many factors, including:

  • which benefits you receive
  • your age
  • your income
  • your savings
  • who you live with
  • how much council tax you pay

All local authorities in England have their own council tax support schemes, which means that support can vary depending where you live. There is a calculator on the Turn 2 Us website which you can use to get an indication of how much council tax support you may get.

You can find out more information on your local authority website:

Information if you live in Bristol
Information if you live in South Gloucestershire

My house has been adapted for the person I care for

Your bill may be reduced if you live in a property which has been adapted or altered to help a disabled child or adult. The disabled person must live in the property as their main home. The discount means that you are charged a band lower council tax. For example if the property you live in  is a Band C property and disabled band relief is awarded, the council tax payable will be at a Band B rate. You can get a disability reduction if the person you care for is “substantially and permanently disabled”. To be considered for the relief you must also  meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • you have an extra bathroom or kitchen needed by the disabled person
  • you have a room (apart from a bathroom, kitchen or toilet) that is needed by and predominantly used by the person that you care for. This could include a room that is used for a special purpose, such as dialysis
  • there is  enough space in the house for the person you care for to use their wheelchair indoors

You can find out more information on your local authority website:

Information if you live in Bristol
Information if you live in South Gloucestershire

South Gloucestershire and Bristol  City council say they will send an inspector to the property to make sure that the criteria is met.

What is the single occupier discount?

The full council tax bill assumes that there are two adults (over the age of 18) living in a property. If there are more than two people over 18 at the property, the bill does not increase, but if there is only one person who is counted as living there you could get a reduction – a single person discount

In the same way that children are not included when counting the number of people in a household for council tax purposes, some carers and some disabled people are ‘disregarded’.  When someone is ‘disregarded’ it is as if they do not live in the house, for the purposes of calculating council tax. More information on ‘disregarded people’.

If only one person is counted as living in the household you can get a single occupier discount which means a 25% discount on your bill.

For example:

Andy lives with his wife but as she counts as a disregarded person he can claim the single occupier discount.

You can apply for a single occupier discount on your local authority website:

If you live in South Gloucestershire
If you live in Bristol

Who is a disregarded person?

Some people can be ‘disregarded’ when calculating council tax.  For council tax purposes, it’s as if they do not live at the property. Some carers and people with what’s known as a severe mental impairment can be disregarded. You can find a full list of ‘disregarded’ people on the Citizens Advice Bureau website.

Can carers be disregarded?

Some carers can be disregarded if they meet the following criteria:

  • provide care for at least 35 hours a week
  • live with the cared for person
  • are not the spouse or partner of the cared for person, or their parent if the cared for is under 18

The cared-for person must receive either Disability Living Allowance middle or high rate care, the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment, or Attendance Allowance, the highest rate of Constant Attendance Allowance or Armed Forces Independence Payment. 

For example:

Nadiya is married to Jack. They both provide more than 35 hours of care a week to their adult son, Dominic who has a learning disability and lives with them. They are both disregarded as Nadiya and Jack count as carers.

See Carers UK for more information on this rule.

People who have a severe mental impairment can be disregarded. What does this mean? 

The rules say that people have a severe mental impairment when there is a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning and this impairment appears to be permanent. People who may qualify include people with dementia, a mental health illness or a learning disability. They will need to meet two conditions:

  • they will need a certificate from a registered medical practitioner confirming they have a severe mental impairment and 
  • they will need to get a qualifying benefit, which includes disability living allowance (middle or high rate care), personal independence payment (daily living part), armed forces independence payment, constant attendance allowance and attendance allowance, and employment and support allowance, incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, income support with a disability premium, income based jobseekers allowance with a disability premium, universal credit including the work capability amount, working tax credit with a disabled worker element.

After disregarding some people in my household, how much discount will I get? 

See which of the following best describes your situation to see how much discount you will get.

  • if everyone living in the property is considered to be ‘severely mentally impaired’, the property is then exempt from paying council tax.
  • if, after taking into account disregarded people, there is only one resident who counts for council tax a 25% discount is applied.
  • if, after taking into account disregarded people there are no residents who count for council tax a 50% discount is applied.
  • if there are two or more adults living in the property, in addition to those who are disregarded, then you will still pay full council tax, unless you qualify for Council Tax Support or disabled band relief.

For example:

Dominic, Nadiya and Jacks son, gets the daily living part of Personal Independence Payment and can be disregarded as he would be considered to have a severe mental impairment. His GP provides a certificate to confirm this.  They can claim a 50% discount as they are the only three adults living in the household and are all disregarded.

Peter lives with his wife and has Alzheimer’s disease. He gets Attendance Allowance and his GP agrees that he has a severe mental impairment. Peter can be disregarded for council tax purposes and they can claim a 25% discount.

Exemptions from paying council tax

Some properties are exempt from paying council tax. There are four main exemptions that may be relevant to carers:

  • the person you care for has left their property empty  because they now live somewhere else because they need to be cared for, e.g. in hospital, in a care home or with relatives
  • you have left your home empty as you have moved to live with the person you care for
  • a property which is occupied only by people with a severe mental impairment
  • there are two self-contained properties within a single property and one occupant is a dependent relative of someone resident in another part of the property. This exemption applies to the part of the property where the dependent relative lives and they must be over 65 or count as severely mentally impaired or be substantially and permanently disabled. People with a granny flat may meet this criteria.

You can find more details on other exemptions on the Citizens Advice Bureau website.

How to apply for a discount

If you live in South Gloucestershire you can find all their application forms on their website.
If you live in Bristol you can apply using their general form.

Further information

For details of help with council tax visit your local council’s website:

South Gloucestershire Council
Bristol City Council

Other helpful information about council tax can be found on these websites:

Carers UK
Disability Rights UK
Citizens Advice Bureau