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Discounts and exemptions

We want to help local residents who are struggling financially because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Residents on the lowest income already do not pay any Council Tax due to our Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

The government has announced a COVID-19 Council Tax Hardship Fund, and this means:

  • if you already receive some Council Tax Support but still have part of bill to pay, you will now get a bigger reduction – and in some cases will not have to pay any Council Tax at all. This discount will be automatically applied to your Council Tax bill if you are eligible, and we will send you an updated bill.
  • if your circumstances have changed and you think you are now eligible for Council Tax Support, please tell us by going to our Council Tax Support page to claim online.
  • if you are having immediate difficulty paying your Council Tax bill, please get in touch with our trained advisors who will be able to help. Telephone us on 01234 718097 or email LocalTaxation@bedford.gov.uk

Please contact us on 01234 718097 or by emailing CustomerServices@bedford.gov.uk if you are in immediate financial crisis. We already have hardship support and crisis grants in place and want to help.

At this crucial time it’s very important that those who can pay their Council Tax continue to pay as normal to support the important services in our community. Council services are under huge pressure, working to deliver care for the vulnerable and elderly, and keeping vital day-to-day operations running.

The full Council Tax bill assumes that there are two or more adults living in the property

Single person discounts

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

If you would like to apply download an application form for a single resident discount.

People not counted as living at a property

Certain people are not counted when working out how many people live at a property for Council Tax. If there is one person living at the property, a 25% discount is awarded. If there is nobody living at the property, a 50% discount is awarded. The groups of people that are not counted are those people that are;

  • In prison or detained by a court order
  • Severely mentally impaired
  • 18 or 19 year olds who are still at school or have recently left school
  • Full time students, including student nurses
  • Government supported trainees under 25
  • Apprentices earning up to £195 per week
  • Long-term residential patients in hospital or care home
  • Carers (in some cases only)
  • Members of religious communities (such as monks and nuns)
  • Visiting armed forces, people in certain international and defence organisations, those with diplomatic privileges and immunities
  • Staying in certain hostels or night shelters.

Strict conditions apply to each group.  More information about each discount can be found on each application form.

Exempt properties

Certain classes of 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.

The classes of properties that are exempt are:

  • A – (This class no longer applies).
  • B – Unoccupied for less than six months and owned by a charity.
  • C – (This class no longer applies).
  • D – A property left empty by a person in detention (e.g. in prison).
  • E – A property left empty by a person who has become a patient resident in a hospital or care home
  • F – An unoccupied property that forms part of the estate of a person who has died. The property is exempt for up to 6 months from the grant of probate or letters of administration. An unoccupied property in which the deceased person was a tenant of the dwelling at the date of death and an executor or administrator is liable for rent or a licence fee.
  • G – A property where occupation is prohibited by law.
  • H – An unoccupied property which is awaiting occupation by ministers of religion from which they will perform their duties.
  • I – A property left empty by a person who has moved to receive care.
  • J – A property left empty by a person who has moved to provide care to another person.
  • K – A property left empty by a student who has moved away to study.
  • L – A property repossessed by a mortgage lender
  • M – Student Halls of Residence.
  • N – A property occupied only by full-time students.
  • O – A property to house armed forces personnel, owned by the Ministry of Defence.
  • P – A property where the liable person is a member of a visiting armed force.
  • Q – An unoccupied property which is the responsibility of a bankrupt's trustee.
  • R – A property consisting of a caravan pitch or a boat mooring which is not occupied by a caravan or houseboat.
  • S – A property occupied only by under 18 year olds.
  • T – An unoccupied property which forms part of a single property which includes another property and may not be let separately from that other property without a breach of planning control. (S.171A Town & Country Planning Act 1990) for example an annexe.
  • U – A property occupied only by a person or persons who is or are severely mentally impaired who would be liable to pay the Council Tax.
  • V – A property where the liable person entitled to diplomatic privileges or immunities.
  • W – A property that is a self-contained unit attached to or within the grounds of another property, where one of the self-contained properties is occupied by a dependent relative of a person who lives in the other part of the property.

If you think your property may be exempt, download an application form.

If you have an exemption on your bill, you must tell us of any change of circumstance within 21 days. If you fail to do so, you may be required to pay a penalty.

Job-related second homes

A second home is a property that is furnished but is not anyone's main home. 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 either:

  1. Be necessary for the proper performance of the job and the employee lives in the property;
  2. Be provided for the better performance of the job and the job is one of the kinds of employment where it is usual for the employer to provide a home for the employee; and
  3. There is a special threat to the employee’s security, special security arrangements are in force and the employee lives in the property for those security reasons.

To qualify for the 50% discount the property must be provided by an employer under a contract of employment and the person must be required to live in that particular property to do their job. A discount cannot be award because it is convenient for a person to have a second home due to their work.

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

You must tell the Council about any changes within 21 days. 

If you have an exemption on your bill, you must tell us of any change of circumstance within 21 days. If you fail to do so, you may be required to pay a penalty.

Discretionary reduction

We may use our discretion to reduce the amount of Council Tax a person is due to pay. This is only in very exceptional and deserving circumstances. We have a policy about how we consider requests for a discretionary discount.

Please read the policy for more information and for details of how to apply.

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