Council Tax discounts, exemptions and reductions

Depending on your circumstances we may be able to reduce the amount of Council Tax you pay.

If you are on a low income, you may be able to claim a Council Tax Reduction. If you are eligible, you can claim for up to a 100 per cent reduction from Council Tax.

Council Tax discounts and disregarded people 

The Council tax bill for each band assumes there are at least two adults living in the property. If there is only one adult resident, you are eligible for a 25 per cent discount on your bill. 

Any person over 18 years of age is counted as an adult. The following people may not count when we look at the number of adults who live in your property: 

  • full-time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth-training trainees
  • patients living in hospital 
  • people looked after in care homes
  • people who are severely mentally impaired 
  • people staying in certain hostels or night shelters 
  • persons in respect of whom child benefit is payable 
  • 18 and 19 year olds who are at or have just left school 
  • care workers on a low income 
  • people caring for someone with a disability who is not a spouse, partner or child under 18 
  • members of visiting forces and certain international institutions 
  • foreign diplomats and certain members of international organisations 
  • members of religious communities 
  • people in prison (except those in prison for not paying their Council Tax or a fine) 

Occupied exemptions from Council Tax

In most cases, if a property is occupied, it is charged council tax. However, there are exceptions and a property can be exempt if it is occupied:

  • halls of residence, if they are owned by a prescribed educational establishment
  • occupied only by students, school or college leavers or certain spouses or dependents of students if all the residents are students and are undertaking a full-time course of education at a prescribed education establishment
  • armed forces accommodation (UK Forces) owned by the Secretary of State for Defence
  • members and dependents of visiting forces
  • if all residents are under 18 years of age
  • if occupied by one or more severely mentally impaired person or if occupied by one person who is severely mentally impaired together with a person who is a student, school or college leavers or certain spouses or dependents of students
  • diplomatic immunity, if the property is the main residence of at least one person on whom privileges and immunities are conferred by the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, Commonwealth Act 1966, Consular Relations Act 1968 and the Commonwealth Countries and Republic Ireland Order 1985
  • occupied annexes are exempt if they form part of a single property of at least one other property and it is the sole or main residence of a dependent relative of a person who is resident in the other property. A dependent relative for this purpose is a person aged 65 years or more, a person who is severely mentally impaired, or a person who is substantially and permanently disabled

Unoccupied exemptions from Council Tax

Empty properties may be exempt from paying Council Tax if the property is empty because:

  • it is owned by a charity
  • the liable person is in prison
  • the liable person is a permanent patient in a hospital or care home
  • nobody is allowed to live there by law
  • held for a minister of religion
  • the liable person is receiving care at another address that is not a care home
  • the liable person is caring for someone elsewhere
  • the liable person is living elsewhere to study 
  • the property has been repossessed
  • the trustee is bankrupt
  • it is a vacant caravan pitch or boat mooring
  • it is a vacant part of another property that may not be let separately due to planning restrictions

The property may also be exempt if the liable person is deceased and probate or letters of administration have not yet been granted. There must be no other joint owners or joint tenants and the property must have remained unoccupied since the date of death. The exemption applies while waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted and for up to six months after the grant.

Council Tax disabled reduction

You might be entitled to a disabled reduction if you, or someone living with you, needs a:

  • room
  • an extra bathroom
  • kitchen
  • extra space in your property to meet special requirements arising from a disability

Your bill may be reduced to that of a property in the band immediately below the band shown for your property. If you are already in band A, the lowest valuation band, you may still qualify for a reduction.

Discounts for care leavers

A care leaver is defined in The Children (Care Leavers) Act 2000 and refers to eligible, relevant and former relevant children.

Eligible children are those young people aged 16 to 17 who are still in care and have been ‘looked after’ for a total of 13 weeks from the age of 14 and including their 16th birthday.

Relevant children are those young people aged 16 and 17 who have already left care, and who were ‘looked after’ for at least 13 weeks from the age of 14 and have been ‘looked after’ at some time while they were 16 or 17

Former relevant children are those young people aged 18, 19 or 20 who have been eligible and/or relevant. 

Fill in the relevant care leavers discount form in the area you live in.

If you own an empty or second home

A range of discounts are available for empty homes, and premiums are charged on long term empty homes.

For more information read our empty properties and second home page.

Apply for a discount, exemption or a reduction

You must apply in the area you live in.


Apply if you live in Allerdale


Apply if you live in Copeland


Apply for a single person discount online

For other discounts, please download the relevant application form:

Block to embed
Check another post code

Contact the Council Tax team