Council Tax Reduction - when to apply
If you are not yet liable for the Council Tax
If you are not yet liable for the Council Tax on the property, for example, because you have not yet moved in, you can make your application in advance.
You might already have worked out that you will be eligible for Council Tax Reduction (CTR) because, for example, you are entitled to certain benefits.
You can apply up to 8 weeks in advance.
You are liable for the Council Tax but not eligible for Council Tax Reduction
If you are liable for Council Tax but not eligible for Council Tax Reduction (CTR), but you know there is going to be a change in your circumstances, for example, your earnings will drop, you can apply for CTR in advance. How far in advance depends on your age and the age of anyone else who is liable with you for paying the Council Tax.
If you are applying for Universal Credit, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will send information to your local council. Your local council might automatically use this information to check if you can get CTR and you won’t need to make a separate application. You should check with your local council if you have to apply for CTR separately.
If you will reach State Pension age soon
You can apply up to 13 weeks in advance for CTR if no-one will have reached State Pension age on the date that you would like the CTR to start.
You can apply up to 17 weeks in advance if someone liable for Council Tax will have reached State Pension age on the date that you would like the CTR to start.
Find out your State Pension age on GOV.UK.
Backdated Council Tax Reduction
When you apply for Council Tax Reduction (CTR) you can have the reduction backdated by asking for it to be made from a date before your application.
This can happen in certain circumstances. For example, if you can show that you or your partner were already getting one of the relevant benefits or tax credits for CTR eligibility before your application for CTR.
You might find it helpful to get help to ask the local council to backdate your CTR if you have to explain why you were eligible for it sooner but didn't apply. You can get advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau.
An application for CTR can automatically be backdated for up to 3 months, without having to show a good reason for the delay, if both of the following apply:
- you have reached State Pension age
- neither you nor your partner is getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.
If you don’t satisfy the conditions in the previous paragraph, an application for CTR can be backdated up to 6 months if, for all that time, you had 'good cause' for not applying.
An award for 'good cause' will be backdated to the most recent of the following dates:
- the first day from which you had continuous good cause for not applying
- the day 6 months before the application was made
- the day 6 months before the date when you asked for the application to be backdated.
How long does Council Tax Reduction eligibility last
Your entitlement to Council Tax Reduction can continue without you having to make a new application each year.
Your local council might ask you to confirm that your circumstances have not changed. You should reply to make sure your award is not stopped.