5. Council tax reductions for people with disabilities
It is sometimes possible to claim a reduction on the council tax bill if someone living in the property is assessed as being substantially and permanently disabled, and requires special facilities to meet their needs. This could include a room that is mainly used by the person who is disabled, an extra bathroom or kitchen, or space inside the home so that a person can move around in a wheelchair.
If this is the case, the bill will be reduced to the rate of the band below the one the property is in. For example, someone living in a band C property would be charged the rate for the cheaper band B property. Those with band A properties (the lowest band) will have their bills reduced by one sixth. The council tax department of the local authority will have more information about this.
Backdating for discounts, disregards and exemptions
Even if a discount, disregard or exemption wasn’t applied for right away, it can be backdated to when it should have first applied. It is not necessary to give a reason as to why it was not originally applied for, but you will need to prove that the criteria for an exemption or discount applied at the time.
Some councils will backdate the discount, disregard or exemption to the date council tax began (April 1993) or when the person first became entitled, whichever is later. However, since a test case in 2013, some councils try to use the Limitations Act (1980), which restricts backdating to a maximum of 6 years from the date of requesting it.
A few councils also try to limit the discount, disregard or exemption to the date it is requested or to the start of the financial year in which it is requested. Neither of these is allowed.
If the council tries to limit the backdating in this way, first try to resolve the issue with them. If this doesn’t work, contact the Valuation Tribunal to appeal (see ‘Other useful organisations’). You must do this within two months of the council’s decision.
If an application for a discount, disregard or exemption is refused, and the person is unhappy with the decision, they can make an appeal to their local authority. If this is refused, they have a further right of appeal to the Valuation Tribunal in England or Wales. This must be done within two months of receiving the decision.