Council Tax Reduction scheme
If you're on a low income, whether in work, unemployed or retired, you may be able to claim this discount.
If you currently receive Council Tax Reduction
If you're already in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and you've had a change in your circumstances, tell us straight away as you may be entitled to more reduction. You must contact us to report changes in your circumstances.
If you do not receive Council Tax Reduction but want to apply
If you do not receive Council Tax Reduction, but think you may qualify, apply using our online benefit claim and calculator. This will tell you if you're eligible and estimate how much Council Tax Reduction you'd get.
If you're unable to claim online we can also provide a telephone assisted application, contact us to make an appointment.
Council Tax Reduction schemes are individual to each council and are reviewed every year.
- Who can apply
- What information you need to provide
- What happens next
- How the reduction is applied
- If you disagree with the decision
- Tell us if your circumstances change
Who can apply
Anyone who is liable to pay council tax can apply. Unless you get guaranteed Pension Credit you won't qualify if you and your partner, if you have one, have savings or investments worth over £16,000. Our online benefit claim and calculator can tell you if you're eligible and estimate how much you'd get.
Second adult reduction
If your income or savings are too high to receive Council Tax Reduction, you could still get help with your bill. You may qualify for second adult reduction if:
- you live with another adult who is not responsible for paying council tax
- they're on a low income, and;
- if they weren't living with you, you would qualify for a single person discount
This person can't be:
- your partner
- a joint-tenant or joint-owner
- someone who pays you rent to live in your house
The most second adult reduction you can get is 25%.
When you apply for Council Tax Reduction, we'll automatically consider second adult reduction as well. You'll get whichever one means you pay less council tax.
What information you need to provide
When you make your application we will tell you what documents we need to see. Our What information should you provide? page gives details of what we might ask for. Please provide the evidence as quickly as you can otherwise this might delay your claim. If you don't get the evidence to us within a month, we may not be able to pay you any Council Tax Reduction at all.
What happens next
We'll consider your application and then write to you to tell you:
- If your claim has been successful or not.
- Why we made that decision.
- If successful, how much your council tax bill will be reduced by.
If you think we've got anything wrong, let us know straight away.
How the reduction is applied
We'll credit your council tax account with any reduction and send you a revised bill for the year showing the new total. We'll usually award it from the Monday after we received your application. We can backdate the reduction by up to 12 months, however, you'll need to show that there were good reasons why you weren't able to apply earlier. If you're a pensioner we'll automatically backdate the reduction by up to three months if you would have been entitled to it during that time.
The Government have given local authorities funding to offer additional support to some residents who receive Council Tax Reduction, but still have a council tax bill to pay. If you're entitled to this additional support, it will be automatically awarded at the same time as your Council Tax Reduction. The amount awarded will show on your Council Tax Reduction letters and on your council tax bill.
If you disagree with the decision
If you disagree with our decision, you can:
- ask us to further explain our decision
- ask us to look at our decision again
To do this you'll need to write to us, explaining why you don't agree.
Appeal to an independent tribunal
You can make an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal if:
- We look at our decision again and you still disagree with what was decided, or;
- You ask us to look at our decision again and we don't reply to you within two months of you contacting us.
The Valuation Tribunal is a free and independent organisation that deals with council tax appeals.
Universal Credit and Council Tax Reduction
Universal Credit does not include Council Tax Reduction (help with your council tax). If you've already applied for Universal Credit and indicated that you're claiming, or intend to claim Council Tax Reduction, we'll be notified of this automatically. We'll use this notification to process your claim and we'll contact you if we need more information.
Tell us if your circumstances change
If any of your circumstances change, you need to let us know as soon as possible. Financial penalties may apply if you fail to tell us about relevant changes in your circumstances. See our Report changes affecting your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction page for more information.
- Council Tax Reduction
- 03000 262 000
Our address is:
- Finance and Transactional Services
- PO Box 238
- County Durham
- United Kingdom
- DH8 1FP