Council tax support is a local council tax reduction scheme which replaced council tax benefit from April 2013. It is means-tested, which means we work out your support based on your income and household circumstances.
You can find out about the scheme on our local council tax reduction (support) page and check your entitlement on our benefit calculator.
How to apply for a local council tax reduction (council tax support)
Download an application form (PDF 516KB), to print and send to us. Return your form to:
Central Bedfordshire Council
High Street North
You can also call us on 0300 300 8306 to have a form sent to you by post, or visit any of our customer service centres to collect a form and get help filling it in.
We work out your council tax based on who lives in your property. If the property is empty, we will look at the reason why. We can reduce your council tax if:
- there is only one adult living in the property as their home
- some or all of the property occupiers are disregarded
- the property is empty and meets conditions for a exemption
- the property needs an extra room or extra space for a disabled person
- you are paying council tax for a job related dwelling
- you are suffering financial hardship
You will get a reduction of between 25% and 100% on your council tax bill, depending on the circumstances for your discount or exemption.
If you are the only adult living in your property, we will reduce your bill by 25%. You need to tell us straight away if you think you should be getting SPD. Download an application for SPD below, and return it to:
Central Bedfordshire Council
Single Person Discount application form (PDF 34KB)
We will award SPD for as long as you remain the only adult living in the property. If your circumstances change, you will need to tell us immediately. To find out more about SPD, including answers to some of our most frequently asked questions, download our SPD information sheet.
Single Person Discount information sheet (PDF 48KB)
We will give you a 50% discount on the bill for a furnished second home in Central Bedfordshire if it is either a job related dwelling, or retained whilst you are living in a job related dwelling as your main home. Your main home must be in England, Scotland or Wales.
Your property is classed as a job related dwelling if it is provided to you (or your spouse or civil partner) because of your job, and one of the following applies:
- you need to live at the property to do your job
- you are employed in a job where it is customary for employers to provide accommodation, and the accommodation is provided so that you can do your job better
- you are required to live in the property by special security arrangements, because there is a threat to your security
Some examples of job related dwellings are properties occupied by live-in teachers or caretakers, homes owned by publicans who are required to live in their licensed premises, and homes owned by service personnel who live in accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence.
Family annexes which are occupied by an elderly or disabled relative are exempt from council tax.
However, from April 2014, a new council tax discount of 50% is being introduced for family annexes which are occupied but are not exempt.
If you have an annexe which is lived in by a family member or used by the resident of the main dwelling, you can receive a 50% discount on the council tax for that annexe from 1 April 2014.
If the occupier of the annexe is not a family member of the residents of the main dwelling, the Family Annexe Discount will not apply.
Contact us on 0300 300 8306 to find out more or to apply for the discount.
If you are suffering hardship as a result of exceptional circumstances, we will consider reducing your council tax with a discretionary discount using our hardship fund. Each case will be decided on its individual merits, but you must meet some or all of our qualifying criteria. This means we will look at whether:
- there is evidence of financial hardship or personal circumstances that justifies a reduction in your council tax liability
- you satisfy us that you have taken all reasonable steps to resolve your situation prior to applying
- you have applied for localised council tax support
- you have already applied for and been awarded any other discounts or reliefs you are eligible for
- you have access to other assets which you could use to pay your council tax
- you have investigated all other legitimate means of resolving your situation
- our finances need to allow for a reduction to be made
- your situation and reason for your application are outside of your control
- the amount outstanding is the result of wilful refusal to pay or culpable neglect
- in the case of an unoccupied property, it is the sole or main residence of a council tax payer
You can find out more about the discretionary discount scheme (hardship fund) in our policy:
Discretionary discount policy (PDF 42KB)
If your property is empty or is a second home, you will usually be required to pay the full council tax from 1 April 2013. This includes if it is unfurnished, or is undergoing repairs.
Some empty properties qualify for an exemption, if they meet some specific requirements - check our council tax exemptions page for more details.
Long-term empty properties
If your property has been empty and substantially unfurnished for two years or more, you will be required to pay the full council tax plus 50 percent extra.
The following properties are exempt from the premium:
- properties which are empty and unfurnished because they would otherwise be the sole or main residence of a person who is living in Ministry of Defence accommodation due to their employment
- annexes which are unoccupied because they are being used by the occupier of the main dwelling as part of that dwelling
Changes to discounts and exemptions from April 2013
The discounts and exemptions available for second homes and empty properties changed from 1 April 2013 as part of the localisation of council tax support. You can find out more about all the changes on our local council tax changes page.
You can download and print an application for the most common discounts below. If the discount you want to apply for is not listed, please contact us to have a form sent to you. Please return your form by post to:
Central Bedfordshire Council
Or hand it in at any of our Customer Service Centres. You can also get help completing your form at any Customer Service Centre.
Application forms for:
If you apply for a reduction to your council tax, please carry on paying the amount specified on your current bill, until you receive a new one. If we reduce your bill and you have paid too much council tax, we will send you a refund.