Discretionary Council Tax Reduction

 

You must apply to the main Council Tax Reduction scheme before asking for a Discretionary Council Tax Reduction. 

A Discretionary Council Tax Reduction helps Council Tax payers who have exceptional circumstances. It gives extra financial help to top of any already provided by the main Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

You must make an application to the main Council Tax Reduction scheme before applying for a Discretionary Council Tax Reduction. Please wait until we have made a decision on your main Council Tax Reduction application before applying for any extra help through a discretionary award. If you apply too early your application will  automatically be rejected.

We will need to see your last 2 months bank statements and may need to see evidence of any additional expenditure that you have, such as loans. We may need to talk to you by phone if we need more information. 

 

Scheme Objectives

This scheme has two objectives:

1.  Enable the Council to consider a reduction in the Council Tax for a dwelling to applicants who meet the qualifying criteria as specified in the policy.

2.  Meet the needs of vulnerable people and make a contribution to the alleviation of child poverty by:

  • Easing severe financial pressure on families and individuals, who have special circumstances that cause them to have higher essential day to day living costs.
  • Helping local people through personal crises and difficult events.
  • Ensuring that pensioners receiving a war pension are not adversely affected financially by the abolition of Council Tax Benefit.
  • Supporting young people leaving care in the transition to adult life.
  • Encouraging and sustaining people in employment.

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What the award  covers

We can consider a Discretionary Council Tax Reduction to help cover any council tax you have left to pay after and other discounts and reductions that you may be entitled to.

A Discretionary Council Tax Reduction cannot be awarded to help with any additional costs resulting from non-payment of your bill, such as court costs or enforcement fees.

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What is taken into account 

We need to decide if you can afford to pay your council tax bill yourself from your income, savings, or capital.

We take into consideration elements such as:

  • Your income, for example, earnings, other benefits, pensions, maintenance
  • Any savings or capital you have that you can put towards the bill.
  • Any disregarded income, for example, Child Benefit
  • Any contribution made by a non-dependant
  • Outgoings, for example fares to work, child minding fees, loans for essential items, extra expenses connected with a disability such as extra travel costs
  • Whether it is possible for you to reduce your outgoings
  • Mental health issues that have impacted on your ability to manage your finances. 

This is guidance only. We treat every case on its own merits and may also be able to consider other factors that we have not mentioned here.

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Length of an award

DCTR awards are normally to the end of the financial year (31 March) but will vary from case to case depending on how long it is likely to take you to find a long-term solution.

How payments are made

All awards will be credited to your Council Tax account.

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What to do if you do not agree with the decision

If you apply and do not agree with our decision, you can ask for more information and an explanation

If you think we have got the decision wrong, you can ask for us to reconsider. To do this you should write to us telling us what you think we have got wrong.

There is then a further option to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal within two months of the Council’s decision on the appeal.  

How to contact us 

Email us or call us on 01908 253040.

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Last Updated: 31 August 2021