How do discounts work?

The full council tax bill assumes that there are two adults living in a dwelling. If only one adult lives in a dwelling (as their main home) the council tax bill is reduced by a quarter (25%). The bill is not increased if there are more than two adults in the dwelling. You can apply for a single occupiers discount by completing our online application form.

Historically a council tax bill for a dwelling which was no-one's main home was reduced by a half (50%), from April 2009 this changed (and then changed again further from April 2013), extra amounts are now charged. This can apply to empty dwellings and second homes.

In the past if a dwelling was unfurnished and unoccupied, an exemption (100% discount) was allowed for 6 months after the 6 months expired, a 100% became payable.

If the unoccupied property is furnished (known as a "second home" for Council Tax purposes), then the council tax bill was reduced by just 10% (No reduction after April 2013). (The only exception to this is where the property occupied elsewhere by the council tax payer is required for job related purposes, i.e. the property is provided by the occupier's employer as a condition of employment, in which case the council tax bill on the unoccupied property will continue to be reduced by 50%). - For further information on the 2009 changes and further changes from 1 April 2013 see our unoccupied properties page.

Certain people are not counted when looking at the number of adults resident in a dwelling. For example, if there are two adults in a dwelling, and one of them is in one of the special groups set out in section 3 below, the bill is worked out as if only one adult lives there and is reduced by a quarter.

To find out if a discount may apply to your home, you should count the number of adults who live there as their main home, but who are not in one of the special groups. If you are left with two or more people, there will be no discount. If there is one person, your bill will be reduced by a quarter. If you are left with no-one, your bill will be reduced by a half.

Am I still liable if I am not counted for the bill?

If you are the liable person and you get a discount or are not counted, your bill may be reduced. But you will still be responsible for paying the smaller amount.

Who is not counted?

You will not be counted if you are an apprentice employed to learn a job and, as part of that learning, are undertaking training leading to a qualification recognised by the National Council for Vocation Qualifications.

You must be paid a maximum of £195 per week (before tax) and expect to earn substantially ore when you qualify.

Download an apprenticeship discount form.

You will not be counted if you are under 25 and are receiving training in line with an individual training plan under the Youth Training Scheme, such as TCT, Options, Future and Next Step.

Download a youth training trainee discount form.

You will not be counted if you are a student (or an overseas student) on a full-time or qualifying course of education. You are a student if you are:

  • attending a university or college course which lasts for at least an academic year, takes at least 24 weeks a year and involves at least 21 hours of study per week during term-time; from 2011 the requirement for attendance in relation to a full-time course is replaced by a requirement to undertake such a course.
  • or under the age of 20, and studying for more than three months and at least 12 hours per week for any qualification up to A level, ONC or OND standard. correspondence courses, evening classes or courses taken in connection with a person's job, such as on day-release, are not included.
  • Student nurses studying academic courses at universities or who are on Project 2000 courses, are classed as students for council tax purposes.
  • Foreign language assistants registered with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges are also treated as students.
  • You will not be counted if you are the spouse or dependent of a student, are not a British citizen, and are prevented by the terms of your permission to be in the UK either from taking paid employment or from claiming benefits.

Download a student and student nurses discount form.

You will not be counted if you are a student nurse on a course leading to registration on any of parts 1 to 6, or 8 of the nursing register. Only student nurses studying from their first inclusion on the register are not counted. Nurses who are already on the register but are taking further courses are counted. Student nurses studying academic courses at universities or who are on project 2000 courses, are excluded from this definition as they are considered as students.

Download a student and student nurses discount form.

You will not be counted if you are a patient in a hospital which is your only or main home. If you are in hospital for a short time and you have a home elsewhere, you will carry on paying council tax at your home.

Download a long term hospital patients discount form.

You will not be counted if you live, and are receiving care, in one of these places, as long as it is your only or main home.

Download a resident in nursing home discount form.

People who are severely mentally impaired are not counted. For council tax purposes, a person is regarded as severely mentally impaired if he or she suffers, for whatever reason, from severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent. This will usually include people suffering from alzheimer's disease and other similar illnesses.

In order not to be counted, a person will need a certificate from his or her doctor to say that he or she is severely mentally impaired. The person must also be entitled to one of a number of benefits including certain incapacity benefits, disability allowances, unemployment allowances or attendance allowances.

Download a severe mental impairment discount form.

A person whose main or only residence is in a dwelling such as a short stay hostel or night shelter providing communal accommodation for people who have no fixed abode and no settled way of life is not counted. These may include hostels run by the salvation army or church army.

You will not be counted if you are a member of a religious community, provided that you depend on the community for your material needs and have no personal income or capital. (This will still apply if you receive income from a pension or pensions from a former job).

Only members of religious communities whose main work is prayer, contemplation, the relief of suffering, education or any combination of these are not counted.

You will not be counted if you are 18 or 19 years old and are in full-time education (other than higher education). This includes people of that age who are at school or college and are on courses up to, and including, A level standard.

You will also not be counted if you are at least 18 years old and someone is entitled to child benefit in respect of you, or would be if you were not in local authority care.

If you are an 18 or 19 year old who left school after 30 April you will not be counted until 1 November of the same year. (You may continue to get a discount as a student if you go on to further or higher education).

You will not be counted for council tax if you live with, and care for, a person with a disability who is receiving one of certain allowances or disablement pensions. You must be providing care for at least 36 hours a week on average. But you will NOT BE ELIGIBLE for a carers discount if you are caring for your husband or wife (or partner with whom you live as husband and wife), or your child under 18 years old.

Someone who cares for an elderly person or a person with a disability in return for payment of up to £36 per week will not be counted. Such a person will usually belong to an organisation like Community Service Volunteers, but could be employed by a public body or (in certain circumstances) by the person for whom they care.

Download a carers discount form.

Prisoners who are on remand or in prison are not counted. However, people who are imprisoned for not paying a fine or the council tax are counted.

Download a prisoners discount form.

You will not be counted if you are a member of a visiting force, or a member (or dependent of a member) of certain international headquarters and defence organisations.

Most annexes in Amber Valley are exempt – see our exemptions web page (class T and W) However from 1 April 2014, a new council tax discount of 50% is being introduced for family annexes that are not exempt. If you currently have an annexe which is lived in by a family member or used by the resident of the main dwelling you can receive a 50% council tax discount on the annexe from 1 April 2014.

The new discount is not based on occupation or furniture but on use of the annexe by the resident of the main building or occupation by a family member. If a non family member occupies an annexe the family annexe discount will not apply. If you believe you may qualify please contact us.

How will the council know when to apply a discount?

Each year the council is required to make sure that discounts are being granted to the right households in our area. We may do this by sending out a discount review form asking for information. If you get a form asking about discounts, please return it as soon as possible.

When it sends out its bills, the council will have decided whether it thinks a discount applies to your home. If there is no discount and you think you should get one, you should contact the council explaining why. The council will tell you what evidence you will need to provide in support of your claim. The council has two months to make a decision. If you still disagree with the council, or if it has not acted within the two month period, you will be able to appeal to a valuation tribunal. See "how to appeal".

You should continue to pay your original bill whilst your appeal is outstanding.

Change in circumstances

If there is a change in circumstances, you must inform us immediately, for example, if you move address or you are no longer entitled to a discount or exemption.

If you wish to report a change in circumstances, please telephone us on 01773 841440. Alternatively, you may send an email to confirming the date of the move, details regarding the owners of the properties, or information about the tenancy (i.e. Landlord's name and address).

If the council has given you a discount but you are not entitled to one, or are no longer entitled to one, you must inform us or you may face a penalty.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841440 or email