Council Tax discounts and exemptions – check if you qualify before your first payment is due

Council Tax bills for 2022/23 have now been issued letting every household in Scotland know how much they will be expected to pay over the coming financial year.

Many people choose to pay their annual bill by facilities, with the amount determined by the banding your property is allocated by the local council, and can be spread over a 10 or 12 month period.

First payments for the new Council Tax year are due in mid-April, so take some time to check your new bill carefully and compare it with last year’s – if you don’t have a paper copy, check your local authority online as e- bills are readily available – just register on their website for instant access if you don’t already have it.

Most local authorities offer households financial support with their current Council Tax bill, just look for a ‘deferred payment’ option on your council’s website.

However, many people may not be aware that they qualify for a discount, reduction, or exemption, which could save them hundreds of pounds this year. Below is our quick guide on how to check your Council Tax bill and find out if you may be paying too much – before your first payment of the 2022/23 year is due.

How is Council Tax worked out?

How much Council Tax you pay depends on your local authority, which sets an overall amount each year and assigns a ‘band’ to your home, based on its value – it’s isn’t banded by its current market value, but what it was worth on April 1, 1991 – the date Council Tax was introduced.

Council Tax bands range from A to H. A is the lowest band with the lowest charges and H has the highest charges.

  • Band – Up to £27,000

  • Band B – Over £27,000 and up to £35,000

  • Band C – Over £35,000 and up to £45,000

  • Band D – Over £45,000 and up to £58,000

  • Band E – Over £58,000 and up to £80,000

  • Band F – Over £80,000 and up to £106,000

  • Band G – Over £106,000 and up to £212,000

  • Band H -Over £212,000

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Your bill also takes into consideration whether or not you are eligible for a reduction or exemption.

How to check your Council Tax band

The band of every property in Scotland is available to check online here.

Could you be exempt from paying Council Tax?

You will not pay Council Tax if:

  • You are a full-time student

  • You are in the Armed Forces in Forces accommodation

  • You live in a care home or hospital

  • Your home is unoccupied and empty (up to six months) – for example, if you’ve gone into hospital

  • You have a severe mental impairment (eg dementia) – if you only live with someone who has dementia, then you’ll be treated as a sole occupant as they will be disregarded, but you won’t both be exempt

Contact your local authority about your eligibility and how you can apply for an exemption – a link to all 32 local authorities in Scotland is at the bottom of the page.

Could you be eligible for a discount on your Council Tax bill?

There are some circumstances where you may get a reduction on your Council Tax and the amount of discount varies depending on your circumstances.

If you live alone

The full Council Tax is calculated assuming there are two or more people living in each home – if you live alone, you should apply to your local council for a discount – you could get a 25 per cent reduction, regardless of your financial circumstances.

Financial help available in Scotland

If you live with someone under 18 or a student

Council Tax is not calculated for anyone aged under 18, full-time students, student nurses and some apprentices or trainees.

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If you are a carer

Carers who look after someone in the household for at least 35 hours per week and who meet additional criteria may be disregarded for Council Tax purposes, contact your local authority for their eligibility criteria.

Just be aware, this doesn’t apply if the person receiving care is the partner of the carer, or is the carer’s child aged under 18.

If there are major changes to the value of your home

You may be able to get your home moved to a lower band if it has decreased in value.

For example, if you have made home adaptations for a disabled person, or if a motorway has been built nearby.

You may also get the band lowered if a room in the house is dedicated to equipment used by a disabled person on a daily basis.

If you change the way you pay

Although the total year’s amount will stay the same, you can request that your bill be split over 12 months instead of 10, so that you can spread the cost and reduce your monthly outgoings.

Alternatively, if you can afford to pay the whole bill in one lump sum, check with your local council if you can get a discount.

Apply for Council Tax support

You may be eligible to claim council tax support, sometimes called Council Tax Reduction, if you’re on a low income or claiming certain benefits.

You can also claim Council Tax support regardless of whether you own your own home or rent, or whether you’re working or unemployed.

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Each local council is responsible for operating their own Council Tax support scheme, so the amount of support given across the country may vary.

The amount you will get depends on many factors, including:

You may get more Council Tax support if you receive a disability or carers benefit.

If you receive the Guarantee Credit Part of Pension Credit you may even get your council tax paid in full. If you don’t have it, but are on a low income and have less than £16,000 in savings, you may still get some help.

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Contact your local council from the list below to apply for a Council Tax discount or to check if you are eligible for their support scheme.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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