Council Tax: Single People

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered at on 24 April 2024.

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Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what guidance his Department has issued on claiming single person discount on council tax when an elector (a) owns and (b) resides in more than one property.

Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

My department has published a ‘Plain English Guide to Council Tax’ setting out the discounts and support available in the council tax system. This guide is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/paying-the-right-level-of-council-tax-a-plain-english-guide-to-council-tax.

As set out in local government finance law, a full council tax bill is payable if there are two or more adults living in a dwelling. If there is only one adult (other than disregarded individuals – e.g. full-time students), and it is their sole or main residence, the individual can claim the single person discount of 25% on their council tax bill. A second or empty home would not be eligible for this discount.

Further guidance has been published given by the Valuation Tribunal Service’s ‘Council Tax Manual’, which is available at: https://valuationtribunal.gov.uk/guidance-booklets/.

The manual includes guidance on single person discount, and the tests of a sole or main residence. For example, the Manual cites the case law of Cox v London South West Valuation Tribunal HC (RVR 1994 171). They observe: “the taxpayer spent time at two dwellings. The High Court concluded that the sole or main residence was the home where the wife and family resided.”

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