Local councils can make decisions about the amount of discount awarded or premiums charged locally for certain types of property. Councils also have powers to create their own discounts and exemptions.
From 1 April 2023 all councils in Somerset (Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, South Somerset District Council and Somerset County Council) will merge to form a single new Unitary Authority called Somerset Council.
Somerset County Council, under powers granted by The Somerset (Structural Changes) Order 2022 and as the ‘Continuing Authority’, made decisions at its meeting on 23 November 2022 about Council Tax discounts and premiums for the new Somerset Council. These are detailed below.
The discounts and premiums below will apply from 1 April 2023
Unoccupied and substantially unfurnished properties will count as empty for Council Tax purposes.
No discount will apply for these types of properties.
Properties under Structural Repair or in Need of Major Repair
This includes properties that are unoccupied, substantially unfurnished and requiring or undergoing structural alterations or major repair.
No discount will apply for these types of properties.
Long Term Empty and Substantially Unfurnished Dwellings
Properties are classed as being ‘long term empty’ where they have been continuously empty for a period of more than 2 years and the following premiums will apply:
- A 100% Premium, where the property has been empty for more than two years (2x charge)
- A 200% Premium, where the property has been empty for between five and ten years (3x charge)
- A 300% Premium, where the property has been empty for more than 10 years (4x charge)
From 1 April 2024 a 100% premium (2 x charge) will then become payable once a property has been continuously empty for more than one year.
The council has created a 100% discount for care leavers, where:
- they are liable for Council Tax as an occupier in the property for which they are claiming the discount whether or not they live alone;
- they are below the age of 25; and
- they are a registered care leaver with Somerset Council or any other relevant local authority within the United Kingdom (and subject to the provision of proof of registration, where required).
The council has created a 50% discount for foster carers or qualifying special guardians where they:
- are fully approved as a foster carer by the new Council and meet the care skills standard;
- have provided foster care to a child for a total of 26 weeks (182 days) in the previous 12 months from 1 February to 1 January;
- maintain their approval as a foster carer with the Council;
- maintain their availability to foster;
- live within the Somerset area;
- claim all relevant benefits and discounts to which they would usually be entitled;
- claim this discount only on the one dwelling which is their main residence; and
- agree to receiving this Council Tax discount.
You do not need to apply for this discount. The Foster Care and Kinship teams will identify where you qualify for the discount and will contact you.
Subject to the provisions contained within the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill receiving royal assent, the following changes will apply from 1 April 2024.
Second Homes Premiums
Second homes for Council Tax purposes are dwellings that are furnished but unoccupied – they are no one’s ‘sole or main residence’. This includes furnished unoccupied properties which may be subject to a planning restriction on occupation.
A 100% premium (2 x charge) will apply for these types of properties from 1 April 2024.
Full details of the Council Report and decisions
The Council has also agreed a new Council Tax Reduction (support) scheme from 1 April 2023 onwards. Details of this scheme can be found here.
Other statutory discounts and exemptions will continue to apply in respect of Council Tax and cover a variety of different circumstances, as detailed below.
|Class B – Charity||100%||An unoccupied dwelling which is owned by a charity.|
|Class D – In Detention||100%||An unoccupied dwelling which was previously the main resident of a person who is now detained in a prison, a hospital or other place of virtue of an order of the court.|
|Class E – In a Residential home||100%||An unoccupied dwelling which was previously the sole or main residence of a person whose main residence is in a hospital, residential care home, nursing home and receiving care and treatment.|
|Class F – Probate||100%||An unoccupied dwelling which has been unoccupied since the death of a person|
|Class G – Occupation prohibited by law||100%||An unoccupied dwelling where occupation is prohibited by law|
|Class H – Minister of Religion||100%||An unoccupied dwelling which is available for occupation by a minister of any religion.|
|Class I – Receiving Care||100%||An unoccupied dwelling which was previously the sole or main residence of a person where their main residence is in another place (not hospital or care home) to receive personal care|
|Class J – Providing Care||100%||An unoccupied dwelling which was previously the main residence of a person where their main residence is in another place for the purpose of providing personal care.|
|Class K – Previously occupied by students||100%||An unoccupied dwelling which was last occupied by a person who was a qualifying student|
|Class L – Mortgagee in possession||100%||An unoccupied dwelling where a mortgagee is in possession under the mortgage|
|Class M – Hall of Residence||100%||A dwelling provided predominately for the accommodation of students – hall of residences|
|Class N – Occupied by Students||100%||A dwelling occupied by one or more students|
|Class O – Armed Forces||100%||A dwelling of which the Secretary of state for defence is the owner – held for the purposes of armed forces|
|Class P – Visiting forces||100%||Properties occupied by members of visiting forces and their dependants|
|Class Q – Trustee in Bankruptcy||100%||An unoccupied dwelling in relation to which a person is a qualifying person in their capacity as a trustee in bankruptcy|
|Class R – Pitch or mooring||100%||A dwelling consisting of a pitch or a mooring which is not occupied by a caravan or a boat.|
|Class S – occupied by person under 18||100%||A dwelling occupied only by a person/persons aged under 18|
|Class T – Planning restriction||100%||An unoccupied dwelling which forms part of a single property which includes another dwelling and may not be let out separately from that other dwelling without a breach of planning control|
|Class U – All occupiers are severe mental impairment||100%||A dwelling occupied only by one or more severely mentally impaired persons|
|Class V -Diplomat’s residence||100%||Properties occupied by diplomats|
|Class W – self-contained- Annexe||100%||A dwelling which forms part of a single property including at least one dwelling and which is the sole of main residence of a dependant relative of a person who is resident of that other dwelling.|
|Single person discount||25%||Where there is only one person over the age of 18 resident at a property a single person discount can apply|
|Severely Mentally Impaired||25%||Where there are two people over the age of 18 resident at the property and one of those persons qualifies as severely mentally impaired a 25% discount can be awarded|
|Student discount||25%||Where there are two people over the age of 18 resident at the property and one of those persons qualifies as a full-time student a 25% discount can be awarded|
|Student apprentice discount||25%||Where there are two people over the age of 18 resident at the property and one of those persons qualifies as an apprentice a 25% discount can be awarded|
|Job related discount||25%||Where a person is required to live in/occupy a dwelling as part of their employment, and where they have another property which is furnished a discount of 50% may be applicable|
|Person in Detention discount||25%||Where there are two people over the age of 18 resident at the property and one of those persons qualifies as a person in detention (in prison) a 25% discount can be awarded|
|Carers’ discount||25%||Where there are two people over the age of 18 resident at the property and one of those persons qualifies as a full-time carer a 25% discount can be awarded|
|Residential Nursing or Care home||25%||A dwelling where a person is a resident in a nursing and care home. Where all residents are disregarded (nursing home) 2 x 25% discounts can apply.|
|Annexe discount||50%||Where a person lives in an annexe and where they are a relative of the person who is responsible for paying the Council Tax on the main property.|