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Council tax exemptions

In some circumstances, you do not need to pay council tax. Both occupied and unoccupied properties maybe entitled to an exemption.

Some properties are exempt from council tax; these include properties only occupied by students, people under the age of 18 years, people who are severely mentally impaired or an annexe occupied by a dependant relative.

Legislation introduced by the government has abolished the exemption that was available for up to 12 months in respect of an empty property which requires or is undergoing major structural alteration or repair (Class A) and has also abolished the exemption that was available for up to six months after a dwelling becomes unoccupied and unfurnished (Class C).

Deciding whether these exemptions should be replaced by a discount is the responsibility of the elected members of the local authority. The elected members of this authority have decided that no discount is to be given for empty properties. Therefore, with effect from 1 April 2013, empty properties attract a full charge.

With effect from 1 April 2019, new legislation introduced by the government allowed local authorities to charge a 100% premium on council tax for empty properties after 2 years. The premium had been 50% up to 31 March 2019.

The elected members of this authority decided on 14 February 2018 to increase the council tax charge on properties empty after 2 years from 50% to 100% with effect from 1 April 2019.

From 1 April 2020, all properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for 5 years or more will incur an additional premium of 200% on top of the normal year’s charge. Properties that meet this criteria will therefore attract a 300% charge.

For all properties that have been empty for 2 years or more, but less than 5 years, the additional premium remains at 100%, so these properties will attract a 200% charge.

Occupied properties

The following residents of occupied properties are usually exempt from paying council tax:

  • Class N – students
  • Class S – where all residents are under the age of 18
  • Class U – people who are severely mentally impaired – verification required by a doctor

Unoccupied properties

Some unoccupied properties are exempt for a maximum period whilst others will remain exempt for as long as they remain unoccupied.

Examples of unoccupied properties that are exempt for a limited period are:

  • Class B – owned by a charity (exempt for six months)
  • Class F2 – properties where probate has been granted (exempt for six months)

Please note that when the exemption period expires, a full charge will become due on the property irrespective of whether the circumstances have changed or not.

Examples of unoccupied properties that remain exempt whilst they are unoccupied are:

  • Class D – left empty by someone who has been sent to prison (unless for non payment of fines or council tax)
  • Class E – left empty by someone who has moved to receive care in a hospital or care  home
  • Class F1 – properties that are waiting for probate to be granted
  • Class G – is empty because their occupation is forbidden by law or has a planning restriction
  • Class H – waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion
  • Class J – left empty by someone who has moved to provide personal care to another person
  • Class K – properties left empty by a student owner
  • Class L – properties that have been repossessed

Please note that the above are only broad descriptions of some of the exemptions that are available on your council tax account.

In order to apply for an exemption, some classes require a full application form to be completed to ensure the full criteria are met.

Once you have completed an application form you will need to email it to or print it and send it to us at the following address:

Chief Executive & Corporate Resources Department
Revenues Services
PO Box 1953
BS37 0DB

We will review the information you have provided on the form, update your account if appropriate or contact you for further information.

You should continue to pay your council tax until any exemption is granted. However if you to not agree with our decision relating to an exemption you can appeal to us initially in writing.

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