Check for £800 annual Council Tax discount before next instalment due to be paid

A Council Tax Bill showing the statement with the 25% discount
More than 461,500 people in Scotland are receiving a Council Tax Reduction off their annual bill. -Credit:PA

The latest figures from the Scottish Government show that at the end of March this year, some 461,550 people were receiving a Council Tax Reduction (CTR) of around £800 on their annual bill. The data indicates that one-in-five households are being supported through the scheme, which is not available anywhere else in the UK.

Only people on a low income and resident in Scotland may be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction, which also provides successful claimants with up to 35 per cent off their water and waste charges.

Council Tax rates have been frozen at their current levels in all 32 local authorities across Scotland until next April, however, water charges have gone up by 8.8 per cent. The new Council Tax bills started in April and are usually paid by instalments - usually over 10 or 12 months - but a claim for a Council Tax Reduction can be made anytime.

Entitlement to a Council Tax Reduction could see people receive a lump sum back payment or credit added to their 2024/25 bill.

While the Council Tax Reduction scheme mostly supports households on a lower income, help is also available for middle-earners or people finding it difficult to keep up with payments - especially those on a higher band.

To find out about getting help with your Council Tax, contact your local authority and explain your financial situation, they may be able to put your account on 'hold' and agree the next payment date, giving you a bit of breathing room to get back on track.

Details of other help available including extra financial support or for things like food, heating and electricity can be found on the Scottish Government’s cost of living crisis support website here.

Below is a quick guide on how to check your Council Tax bill and a list of circumstances which could see you paying less each month.

Check if you could be exempt from paying Council Tax

You will not pay Council Tax if:

  • You are a full-time student

  • You are in the Armed Forces in Forces accommodation

  • You live in a care home or hospital

  • Your home is unoccupied and empty (up to six months) - for example, if you’ve gone into hospital

  • You have a severe mental impairment (e.g. dementia) - if you only live with someone who has dementia, then you’ll be treated as a sole occupant as they will be disregarded, but you won’t both be exempt

Contact your local authority about your eligibility and how you can apply for an exemption - a link to all 32 local authorities in Scotland is at the bottom of this page.

Could you be eligible for a discount on your Council Tax bill?

There are some circumstances where you may get a reduction on your Council Tax and the amount of discount varies depending on your circumstances.

If you live alone

The full Council Tax is calculated assuming there are two or more people living in each home – if you live alone, you should apply to your local council for a discount - you could get a 25 per cent reduction, regardless of your financial circumstances.

If you live with someone under 18 or a student

Council Tax is not calculated for anyone aged under 18, full-time students, student nurses and some apprentices or trainees.

If you are a carer

Carers who look after someone in the household for at least 35 hours per week and who meet additional criteria may be disregarded for Council Tax purposes, contact your local authority for their eligibility criteria.

Just be aware, this doesn’t apply if the person receiving care is the partner of the carer, or is the carer’s child aged under 18.

If there are major changes to the value of your home

You may be able to get your home moved to a lower band if it has decreased in value. For example, if you have made home adaptations for a disabled person, or if a motorway has been built nearby.

You may also get the band lowered if a room in the house is dedicated to equipment used by a disabled person on a daily basis.

If you change the way you pay

Although the total year’s amount will stay the same, you can request your bill be split over 12 months instead of 10, so you can spread the cost and reduce your monthly outgoings.

Alternatively, if you can afford to pay the whole bill in one lump sum, check with your local council if you can get a discount.

Apply for Council Tax Reduction

You may be eligible to claim a Council Tax Reduction if you’re on a low income or claiming certain benefits.

You can also claim Council Tax support regardless of whether you own your own home or rent, or whether you’re working or unemployed.

Each local council is responsible for operating their own Council Tax support scheme, so the amount of support given across the country may vary.

The amount you will get depends on many factors, including:

  • Which benefits you receive

  • Your age

  • Your income

  • Your savings

  • Who you live with

  • How much council tax you pay

You may get more Council Tax support if you receive a disability or carers benefit.

If you receive the Guarantee Credit Part of Pension Credit you may even get your Council Tax paid in full. If you don’t have it, but are on a low income and have less than £16,000 in savings, you may still get some help.

Local councils

Contact your local council from the list below to apply for a Council Tax Reduction or discount.

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