Apply for a discount / exemption

If you are struggling financially and would like information about help available, please go to our help with the cost of living page.  

There are a variety of reasons why you could be eligible for a discount or even exempt from paying Council Tax.

While the property may be exempt from the full amount, you still need to register for Council Tax for that property so we are aware of who is living there. Once you have registered, you can then apply for any discounts or exemptions you are eligible for.

Single person discount

If only one adult lives at the property (as their main home), the bill will be reduced by one quarter (25%).

Please remember if another adult (aged 18 or over) moves into your property, you will need to cancel your single-person discount (unless they are disregarded for Council Tax – see the 'disregards' section below).

Apply for or change a reduction in your Council Tax

Student exemption

Households, where every adult is a full-time student, do not have to pay Council Tax. 

If an adult who is not a student lives with you, they must pay Council Tax. A 25% discount will be awarded where there is only one adult who is not a student (single person discount). 

To be eligible for a student exemption you must be taking a university or college full-time course which lasts for at least one academic or calendar year, takes at least 24 weeks a year and involves at least 21 hours of study per week during term-time.

If you are under 20 years old, you must be taking a course which lasts more than 3 months and at least 12 hours of study per week (for example, A level, ONC and OND Standard). 

You will need to provide a document from your university, college, school or hospital (if you are a student nurse) confirming that you are enrolled with them and giving details of your course. 

Apply for a reduction in your Council Tax

Council Tax reduction for disabled people

The disabled band reduction scheme aims to ensure that disabled people do not pay more Council Tax because they live in a larger property than they would have needed it they were not disabled.

Having a disability does not automatically entitle you to a band reduction. If you are eligible, your Council Tax band would be reduced to the band below. If you live in a band A property the amount you pay would also be reduced.  

To qualify your home must have one of the following features:

  • a room (not a kitchen, bathroom or toilet) which is mainly used to meet the needs of the disabled person
  • a second bathroom or kitchen
  • extra space inside the property to allow for the use of a wheelchair

Apply for a disabled person’s Council Tax band reduction (PDF)

Discounts for people with severe mental impairments

We may apply a 25% discount  to your Council Tax if you, or member of your household, has a severe mental impairment.

This includes people who have been diagnosed as suffering with severe and enduring mental health issues, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

To be eligible for the discount, the condition must be confirmed by a doctor.  We will ask for permission to write to your doctor for confirmation.

You, or the person living with you, must also be in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

 Apply for a reduction in your Council Tax

Disregards (people not counted for Council Tax purposes)

When calculating the amount of Council Tax due, certain people are not counted; they are ‘disregarded’. 

If there is one person living at the property, a 25% discount is awarded.

Where all residents of a property are disregarded (eg where all the residents at a care home are receiving care) a 50% discount is awarded.

You can apply for the relevant discount using the links below (strict conditions apply) if you or someone you live with is:

Applying for Council Tax reduction in other circumstances

In addition, you can apply for a reduction in your Council Tax if you are: 

  • 18 or 19 years old and are still at school or have recently left school
  • a Government supported trainee under 25
  • a Carer (in some cases only)
  • a member of a religious community (such as monks and nuns)
  • staying in certain hostels or night shelters.

You can do this by registering for an online Council Tax account (below) and then uploading any supporting evidence through the 'upload a document online' facility. 

Apply for Council Tax Support

Council Tax Support (sometimes called Council Tax Reduction) is a scheme offered by all councils to reduce the amount of Council Tax due, on the basis of low income. Council Tax Support can reduce your Council Tax bill by as much as 100%, depending on your circumstances.

Register for an online Council Tax account

Registering for an account is easy and takes just a few minutes. You will need an email address and your Council Tax bill. As you go through the registration process, take care to enter your details exactly as they appear on your Council Tax bill. You can use the registration process to let us know if you would like to switch to paperless billing.

At the end of the registration process, we will send you an email to activate your account. Click on the link in the email to ensure your registration is complete.  

Register for an online Council Tax account

You can also apply in writing to:

Bedford Borough Council
Local Taxation Office
Borough Hall
Cauldwell Street
Bedford MK42 9AP

Exempt properties

Certain properties are exempt from Council Tax, this means there is no bill to pay. Some exemptions apply for a fixed time and others apply until there is a change of circumstances.

Details about the properties that are exempt can be found here (PDF).

Job-related second homes  

A second home is a property that is furnished but is not used as a main residence. The Council does not normally allow any discounts for second homes. In some circumstance a person may get a 50% discount if that property or their main home is job related.

To qualify, one of the properties must be job-related, provided for reasons of the employment and comply with the criteria as set out in the application form.

A discount cannot be awarded because it is convenient to have a second home due to your work.

Download an application form for a job-related second home discount (PDF).

Discretionary reduction 

In very exceptional and deserving circumstances we may use our discretion to reduce the amount of Council Tax due.

Please read our discretionary reduction policy for more information and for details of how to apply.