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Council Tax Reduction - awards

This advice applies to England

If you're on a low income, you may be entitled to some help towards paying your council tax. This is called a Council Tax Reduction (CTR).

If you're awarded CTR, you won't normally receive an actual payment. Instead, your award will be used to reduce the amount of council tax you have to pay.

Read this page to find out more about how CTR is awarded, when the award starts, when it ends and what happens if there are any delays.

How is CTR awarded?

If you're awarded CTR, you won't normally receive an actual payment. Instead, your award will be used to reduce the amount of council tax you have to pay.

CTR will be worked out as a daily amount. This is because your responsibility for council tax is worked out this way.

If, when your CTR award is calculated, the amount of the CTR due to you is more than the amount of council tax you have left to pay for that year, your local authority can either credit the balance to your account or pay the balance to you.

What happens if the award doesn't cover the whole bill?

If your award doesn't cover the whole of your council tax bill you will have to make arrangements to pay any balance due.

If you're of working age, It's likely that you will have to pay something towards your council tax bill – even if you were getting full Council Tax Benefit before 1 April 2013.

If you're a pensioner, you should still be able to get the same level of Council Tax Reduction as you would have done if you were getting Council Tax Benefit.

What if you have joint responsibility for paying council tax?

Sometimes, if you're jointly responsible for council tax with someone else, you may be paid an actual amount, rather than get a reduction in your bill. The local authority will do this if it feels that it would be inappropriate to simply reduce the bill.

When does an award of CTR begin

An award of CTR will normally begin the week after the date when your application is decided.

If you become responsible for paying council tax for the first time on a property, you can't receive CTR for a date earlier than the date on which your responsibility began.

When does an award of CTR end

One you have been awarded CTR, you will get it indefinitely without needing to make a new claim. However, you must tell the local authority about any change in your circumstances which may affect your entitlement.

In some circumstances, you may be able to continue getting CTR for a short period of time after your entitlement is supposed to end.

Delays

A delay in your award of CTR could lead to you getting into arrears with your council tax.

If there is a delay in awarding you CTR, you should tell your local authority's council tax collections department. It's best if you do this in writing.

If a delay in awarding you CTR causes you hardship or inconvenience you can complain to your local authority. If you're still not happy with their response you could complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Next steps

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