The amount of Council Tax to be paid can be reduced by certain discounts and exemptions. If you think you may be entitled to a discount or that your property is exempt for one or more of the reasons stated, you can apply by completing the relevant form and returning it to us at email@example.com.
If you make an application for a discount or exemption, you must continue to pay your instalments as set out on your latest bill to avoid recovery action being taken against your account. If your application is successful you will receive a revised bill and any money you may have overpaid will be refunded at that point.
Some of the more common discounts and exemptions can be found below:
Unoccupied and substantially unfurnished properties are entitled to a 100% discount for one month. After this period has expired, 100% of the Council Tax again becomes payable, even if there is a change of liable party.
If you would like to apply for this exemption please email the details, including the date that the property became empty and unfurnished to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please provide a phone number in your e-mail, as part of our audit requirements it may be necessary for the our inspector to visit the property. If this is necessary our inspector will contact you directly to arrange a convenient time.
Empty property levy(premium)
From 1 April 2013 we have been given new powers to charge a levy on properties which are empty and unfurnished for two years or more. We are committed to reducing the number of empty homes in Epsom and Ewell. Consequently from 1 April 2019, empty properties will be charged an additional 100% premium on top of the full Council Tax after they have been unoccupied and unfurnished for two years. From 1 April 2020, empty properties will be charged an additional 200% premium on top of the full Council Tax after they have been unoccupied and unfurnished for five years. From 1 April 2021, empty properties will be charged an additional 300% premium on top of the full Council Tax after they have been unoccupied and unfurnished for ten years.
Some properties can be entitled to further exemptions when they are empty and unfurnished. For full details please see Other exemptions.
Single person discount
The full Council Tax bill assumes that there are two adults living in your home. If only one adult, aged 18 or over, lives in a dwelling as their main home, the Council Tax bill will be reduced by 25%. This is called a single person discount.
Temporary absences (i.e. a holiday or working away) would not qualify for this reduction.
Discounts for students
Properties which are only occupied by full time students are exempt from Council Tax.
In properties where there are two adult occupiers and one of the occupiers is a full time student, a 25% discount can be applied to the account.
In properties where there are more than two adult occupiers who are not full time students the full Council Tax will be payable even if there is also a full time student occupying the property. The student's name will not appear on the Council Tax bill as they are disregarded for the purposes of Council Tax.
What is counted as a full time student?
There are three main categories of students for Council Tax purposes:
- You are a student if you are undertaking a full-time course at a college or university in the UK
- under 20 years old in part time or full time education
- foreign language assistant - registered with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and working at a school or other educational establishment.
A full-time course is one that:
- lasts for at least one academic year or, if the establishment does not have academic years, for at least one calendar year
- you normally go to for at least 24 weeks in each academic calendar year
- consists of an average of at least 21 hours a week of study, tuition, work experience or a combination of these.
If you are studying part time (e.g. at evening classes, by correspondence, or distance learning) it is not possible to be treated as a student for Council Tax purposes.
Before we are able to award a student exemption, we need all the students to provide an original copy of a certificate of full time education from the school, college or university at which they are studying. Educational institutions are obliged to give you this information if requested but the responsibility of letting us know remains with the individual students.
The certificate should be on headed stationary and include the following information:-
- Your full name
- your date of birth
- your current address
- the name of the course you are studying
- the start and end date of your course
- confirmation that the course is a full time course.
Until we receive a certificate the exemption will not be applied to your account and full Council Tax will remain payable. Failure to make payment may result in recovery action being taken against your account and you incurring further fees.
The Council Tax exemption/discount will continue over the summer break if you intend to return to full time education in the autumn. If it is your final year, your exemption will end on the date you complete your studies, not the date of your graduation ceremony.
It is important that you let us know the dates you moved in or out of a property straight away in order that we can bill you correctly.
Information for landlords of student properties
If you are liable for the Council Tax as landlord but wish to claim a student exemption/discount because all or some of your tenants are students, you will need to contact us with the following details:
- The full name of all the occupiers of the property
- The start date of their tenancy.
You should also ask the students to provide you with a certificate of full time education which will be issued by their college or university. We will not be able to apply any exemption or discount to your account until we receive all the necessary certificates.
Students and landlords should contact the Council as soon as the students move into the property so they do not lose any entitlement to exemptions or discounts.
Disabled band reduction
If you or someone that lives with you needs an extra room, bathroom, kitchen or space in your property to meet special needs arising from a disability, you may be entitled to a reduced Council Tax bill.
How does the discount work?
The bill may be reduced to that of a property in the band immediately below the band shown on the valuation list. This reduction ensures that disabled people do not pay more tax on account of space needed because of a disability.
If your property is already in Band A, the amount of relief will be five ninths of Band D.
Can I qualify?
In determining whether a reduction should apply, we will have to decide whether the extra feature is essential or of major importance to the disabled person's well-being by reason of the nature and extent of their disability.
To qualify for a reduction, the extra room need not be specially built, but could be an existing room used specifically for the person with the disability. However, the room must be specifically used for meeting the needs of the disabled person e.g. used for holding a dialysis machine. A living room used as a bedroom is unlikely to qualify.
If you would like to apply for this relief please complete the disability reduction application form and e-mail it back to us at email@example.com. Once the form is received we will arrange for an officer to visit your property to confirm that the qualifying criteria are met.
Severe mental impairment
This discount can be claimed by adults who are medically certified with a severe mental impairment e.g. dementia (including Alzheimer's), severe learning difficulties or Parkinson’s and are entitled to a qualifying benefit.
If everyone living in a property is severely mentally impaired you can apply for an exemption (which means you don't have to pay Council Tax for the property).
If someone living with you is severely mentally impaired and without them there is only one adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your Council Tax.
To apply you will need to complete an application form having first read the accompanying notes, which explain the qualifying conditions for the relief. You will also need to give the certificate part of the application form to the person's medical practitioner for them to complete. We will use the information the doctor gives us only to process your application for a discount or exemption.
In addition, to be awarded this discount or exemption the qualifying person must be entitled to one of the following benefits:
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- the high or mid rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- an increase in the rate of Disablement Pension
- Incapacity Benefit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support (which includes a disability premium)
- the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Unemployability Supplement
- Unemployability Allowance.
You can then send the completed form, certificate and proof of benefit to the address on the form or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Property belonging to deceased estates
When someone dies, if they were the only occupier of a property, the property will be exempt from Council Tax for as long as the property remains unoccupied or until probate is granted. The executors will be made liable until someone else becomes responsible for the property.
If two adults lived in the property, the Council Tax will be put into the name of the one remaining occupier and a 25% single person discount will be applied to the account.
If the property was occupied by more than two adults, the name of the person who has died will be removed from the account and the Council Tax will be in the name of the remaining joint owners/tenants.
Council Tax liability for executors
Executors are the people appointed in the will to deal with the estate of a person who has died.
It may be necessary for us to contact the executor periodically to review that the exemption is still applicable.
Grant of probate
As the executor it is important that you keep us informed of:-
- Any change in contact details
- the date probate is granted
- details of the transfer or sale of the property or the end date of the tenancy
- when the estate is settled.
Once probate has been granted on an estate, the Council Tax exemption will only continue for a further six months as long as the property remains unoccupied. After this period has expired 100% of the Council Tax becomes due again.
Although the executor is not personally liable for the Council Tax charges they should arrange payment from the deceased estate as when probate is granted a document is issued to the executor providing them with the authority to deal with the estate. If for any reason that executor is unable to make payments towards the Council Tax they should contact us straight away.
If, after probate is granted ownership of a property is transferred to a beneficiary of the will, any liability for Council Tax will pass to the beneficiary.
For more information on registering a death within Surrey please visit the Surrey county council website.
A full list of all the other exemptions available can be found in our List of Council Tax exemptions.
If you would like to apply for one of these exemptions please e-mail the details, including the date from which you wish to claim to email@example.com.
The full Council Tax bill assumes that there are two adults living in a property. If only one adult lives in a property (as their main home), the Council Tax bill will be reduced by a quarter (25%).
There are certain circumstances when you may apply for a discount in your Council Tax bill, even if you are not the only resident. If there are other adults in your household who fall into one of the following categories, you may still qualify for a 25% discount. If all adults in the household fall into one of the categories, you may qualify for a 50% reduction. Please note that each year you may be required to confirm that your circumstances have not changed.
A full list of people who will be 'disregarded' for Council Tax purposes can be found in our List of Council Tax discounts.
If you would like to apply for one of these discounts please e-mail the details, including the date from which you wish to claim to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self contained Annexes
With effect from April 2014, where a self contained annexe is separately banded from the main property, a 50% discount will be available on the annexe where it is used by the occupiers of the main building or by their immediate family members. This does not affect the exemption from Council Tax available on those annexes used by a dependant aged 65 or over or if severely disabled.
Change in circumstances?
If you are currently receiving a discount or exemption and you have had a change of circumstances, which means that you are may no longer entitled to the relief, you must tell us straight away. Failure to do so may result in you receiving a large backdated bill, if it later transpires you are no longer entitled to the relief as part of our annual review process.
You can e-mail us the details of your change of circumstances, including the date the change occurred to email@example.com.
Additional help with your Council Tax
If you would like further information on additional help we may be able to provide you to help pay your Council Tax, please visit our Help with your Council Tax page.