Local Council Tax Support scheme
In April 2013 Council Tax Benefit was replaced by Local Council Tax Support schemes to assist those on low incomes with their Council Tax payments.
Details of our scheme and how you can apply can be found on the Local Council Tax Support scheme page.
Discretionary Hardship Fund
Under the rules of the support scheme, now everyone of working age in the borough is required to pay at least 20% of their annual Council Tax charge. To assist with these changes we also have a Discretionary Hardship Fund, to help those with exceptional circumstances with this charge. Further information and details on how to make a Discretionary Hardship Fund application can be found on the discretionary payments page.
Discretionary relief (13a)
Under Section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as inserted by Section 76 of the Local Government Act 2003), we have the power to reduce liability for Council Tax in relation to individual cases or classes of cases that it may determine and where national exemptions and discounts cannot be applied. We have not specified any class of case in which liability is to be reduced. However, we will consider claims on individual cases. The Discretionary Discount Policy is intended to provide short term help to alleviate financial hardship.
The financial burden of awarding a Section 13A discount has to be met through an increase in the general level of Council Tax for other payers. Because of this, the granting of Section 13A discounts will only be made in exceptional circumstances.
Each application will be looked at on its own merits and having regard to the factors outlined below
- There must be evidence of financial hardship or personal circumstances that justify a reduction in Council Tax liability
- The applicants income and expenditure including unusual and/or avoidable expenditure
- Whether there are exceptional circumstances that contribute to the financial hardship
- The applicant must satisfy the Council that all reasonable steps have been taken or will be taken to resolve the situation
- The Council’s finances allow for a reduction to be made
- Entitlement to all other eligible discounts/relief/income/welfare benefits have been explored and are being claimed
- The amount outstanding must not be the result of wilful refusal to pay or culpable neglect
- The taxpayer does not have access to other assets that could be used towards their Council Tax liability
- Whether the situation can be resolved by some other legitimate means
- Whether an award will assist the applicant towards a position where they can pay their Council Tax within a reasonable time frame without further recourse to this discount
- Any social or health issues currently being faced by the resident and/or their immediate family
- The effect the situation is having on vulnerable members of the resident’s family (e.g. the elderly, the young, the infirm etc.)
- Other evidence in support of an application (such as information from Doctors and/or Social Workers)
- Where applicable, what information/advice has been sought and obtained previously
- The size and banding of the current accommodation
- The possibility of moving to a smaller and lower banded property
- The lifestyle choices of the applicant and their household
- Whether there is a threat of court action in relation to Council Tax arrears.
This list is neither prescriptive or exhaustive
Our full Council Tax Discretionary Relief policy can be found here: Council Tax Discretionary Relief policy. If you would like to make an application, please complete our Discretionary Relief application form and return it by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are struggling financially there are a number of third party organisations who can offer help and practical support. Three of the most well known are:
The Money Advice Service, which has been set up by central government.