Council Tax discounts for people

A full Council Tax bill is based on at least 2 adults living in a home. If you live on your own or with someone who does not count as an adult, you can get a discount on your bill. There are also discounts available for people with disabilities. 

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax and are on a low income, you may be able to apply for Council Tax Support 

Council Tax Support is not included in Universal Credit, so you need to apply for support separately.

If you are already receiving Council Tax Support and need extra help with Council Tax, you may be able to apply for an Exceptional Hardship Payment

As well as these statutory discounts, we also have discretionary powers to reduce Council Tax. For more information on this, you can read our discretionary reduction in liability policy (pdf)

Single person discount

You’ll get 25% off your bill (called a single person discount) if you are the only person in your property who counts as an adult for Council Tax.

Children count as adults once they are over 18, so if you're the single parent of an adult child who lives with you, you are unlikely to get a single person discount.

You’ll get a 50% discount if no-one living in your home, including you, counts as an adult.

After you’ve applied you must still pay the amount on your Council Tax bill until you hear from us.

Discounts for when more than one adult lives in your property

If you live with someone who does not count as an adult, you can get a discount on your bill.

These people are not counted as adults for Council Tax:

  • children under 18
  • 18 and 19-year-olds in full-time education
  • full-time college and university students
  • people on some apprentice schemes
  • young people under 25 who get funding from the Skills Funding Agency or Young People’s Learning Agency
  • student nurses
  • people with a severe mental impairment
  • people in prison
  • patients resident in hospital
  • people staying in certain hostels or night shelters
  • patients who are being looked after in care homes
  • care workers working on low pay for, or introduced by, charities or local authorities
  • live-in carers who look after someone who isn’t their partner, spouse, or child under 18
  • foreign language assistants registered with the British Council
  • diplomats
  • members of visiting forces and certain international institutions
  • members of religious communities (monks and nuns)

Discounts for people with disabilities

You can apply for a reduction to your Council Tax if someone who is disabled, either an adult or a child, lives in the property and changes have been made to help with their disability.

You can apply for the disabled reduction if your property has:

  • enough space inside so that a wheelchair for day-to-day living can be used indoors
  • an extra bathroom or kitchen to meet the disabled person’s needs
  • a room other than a bathroom, toilet or kitchen which is required to meet the disabled person’s needs

To apply for the disabled reduction, you will need:

  • your Council Tax account number
  • your name, address and contact details

The council tax for the property will be charged at the rate of the band below it. For example if the property is at Band C then the Council Tax payable will be at a Band B rate. A reduction is also available for Band A properties.

You can find more information about the Disabled Band Reduction Scheme on GOV.UK

Our inspector will need to visit the property to make sure the criteria is met.

Discounts for care leavers

We use our discretionary powers to reduce the amount of Council Tax a care leaver is liable to pay.

Care leavers, and those in their household, need to first claim any discounts, exemptions and reductions they are eligible for. After these have been claimed, we will reduce the Council Tax liability, so that it is the same as what it would be if the care leaver did not count as an adult for Council Tax.

For example, if a care leaver joins a household with a single person discount in place, they will be given relief to make sure that their Council Tax liability does not increase.

You do not need to apply for this discount, Essex County Council will contact us directly about any care leavers eligible. 

For details on who qualifies as a care leaver and more information see our Council Tax and care leavers policy (pdf)

After you claim your discount

If you apply for a discount, we may need to visit your property to confirm that the discount or exemption should apply.

We will review your discount or exemption from time to time and ask you to confirm whether it still applies.

If you have a discount, you need to let us know if your circumstances change within 21 days, otherwise you may have to pay a penalty.

Change or cancel your discount

If you no longer qualify for single person discount, you can report this change to us online

If you no longer qualify for any other discount, you need to let us know by calling 01279 446688.

You’ll need your:

  • council tax account number
  • your name, address and contact details

You may have to pay a penalty if you do not tell us.


You can make an appeal if you have claimed:

  • a discount and this has not been granted
  • that your property is exempt from Council Tax and this has not been granted
  • a reduction because you have a disabled person in your household and this has not been granted

To make an appeal, you need to write to us using our online contact form or post to: Revenues and Benefits, Civic Centre, The Water Gardens, College Square, Harlow CM20 1WG

You still need to continue to pay your Council Tax in full until the appeal is resolved. 

If we cannot resolve your appeal, or you do not get a reply within 2 months, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal