If any of the following apply to you, you may be eligible for a discount in your Council Tax.

Where an adult lives on their own (as their main home), they are eligible for a 25% discount. 

To apply for Sole Occupier Discount, please register with My Account, our online Council Tax portal. 

Once registered, visit the 'Apply for Council Tax reductions' section to complete your application.

If you are already registered, you simply need to sign in to your account in future. 


The Council Tax charge is based upon the number of people living in a property. If you are 'disregarded' it means that we do not count you when we work out the number of people living there. 

When counting the number of people living in a dwelling, if there is just one person living there, a 25% discount may be granted. If all the residents at the dwelling are 'disregarded' a 50% discount may be granted. 

If one or more of the following people live in a household, you may be eligible for a Council Tax discount

  • Full-time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth training trainees
  • Patients resident in hospital
  • People who are being looked after in care homes
  • People who are severely mentally impaired
  • People staying in certain hostels or night shelters
  • 18 and 19 year olds who are at or who have just left school
  • Resident careworkers working for low pay, usually for charities
  • People caring for someone with a disability who is not a spouse, partner, or child under 18
  • Members of visiting forces and certain international institutions
  • Members of religious communities (monks and nuns)
  • People in prison (except those in prison for non-payment of Council Tax or a fine)
  • Spouses of students where the spouse is not a UK citizen and is thereby prevented from seeking employment or claiming benefits
  • People who are entitled to diplomatic privileges or immunity.

In households where there are both students and non-students, only the non-students will pay Council Tax.

Students will not pay Council Tax if they are:

A full time student, in further or higher education

  • for at least one academic or calendar year
  • at a prescribed education establishment (e.g. a university or theological college)

In further education and under the age of 20

  • on a course that lasts three months or more
  • attending at least 12 hours a week for supervised study or examination
  • where classes are carried out between 8.30am and 5.30pm
  • where the course in not carried out by correspondence

A student nurse

  • attending a course that leads to an appropriate registration under section 10 of the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979

A foreign language assistant

  • appointed by a school or education establishment and registered as a foreign language assistant with the British Council

The following do not qualify

  • Evening classes
  • Correspondence courses
  • Job-related training

Discounts and exemptions that can be considered

  • Properties occupied solely by students will be exempt from Council Tax (Class N). This includes accommodation that is occupied by a single student.
  • Where there is a household with a mix of students and non-students, only the students can be disregarded when deciding if a reduction may be given. If there are two or more occupiers who are not students, then there will be no discount applied. If there is only one adult occupier who is not a student, then we can grant the student discount of 25%  

Certain people are not counted when looking at the number of adult’s in your home, this includes people who are ‘severely mentally impaired’. This term is used in Council Tax law, which is why it is referred to here, and it is not meant to cause any offence.

If, for example, there are two adults living at a properly, and one of them is severely mentally impaired, the bill is worked out as if only one adult is resident and it is reduced by 25%. If all the residents are severely mentally impaired, there will be no Council Tax to pay as a full exemption will apply (Class U).

For Council Tax purposes, the legal definition of severely mentally impaired is a ‘severe impairment of the intelligence and social functioning, (however caused), which appears to be permanent’.

Before you start your application

To qualify for a reduction, the person who is severely mentally impaired must be entitled to receive one of a number of certain benefits, and the full list is in the online form. We will need to see proof of entitlement for the whole period that a reduction in the Council Tax bill is being claimed for.

Secondly, the person’s doctor must verify that their condition falls within the legal definition above and a Doctor’s certificate is required as part of this application. This should be completed and signed by the person’s GP or other medical practitioner. The Doctor’s Certificate can be found in the DOWNLOADS area of this page.

If a property is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished, a discount of 50% can be awarded for up to one month. The discount will start on the first day a property becomes empty. It will not be affected by any subsequent change in the person liable to pay Council Tax provided that the property remains empty. This is because the 50% discount is calculated from the day the property first becomes unoccupied and unfurnished.

An empty property discount will only be considered if you provide your residential address.

Annexe discount
You may qualify for a 50% discount if you live in an annexe. 

The 50% reduction is on top of any other discount you or your relative may be entitled to. For example: if your adult son is living in the annexe on his own, he will be liable for Council Tax, but he will be entitled to a 25% sole occupier discount and a 50% annexe discount. 

The annexe must be within the grounds of the main house and included in the title deeds and registered or banded separately for Council Tax and either:

  • used by the resident of the main house, as part of their main home; or
  • lived in by a relative of the person who lives in the main house. The relative must be a partner, parent, child, step child, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, nephew and niece. This can also include great grandparent, great grandchild, and so on.

Other reductions available for annexes
If you have a close relative who lives in the annexe and they are over 65 years of age, or they are either severely mentally impaired or substantially and permanently disabled, the annexe may be exempt from Council Tax.

Similarly, if the annexe is unoccupied and cannot be let separately because of a planning restriction, then it could also be exempt.

If you live in and pay Council Tax for a property which your employer requires you to occupy, and you are liable for Council Tax on a second furnished property, you may qualify for a discount of 50%.

Who can qualify for this discount?
The job related second home discount will apply to either:

  • The job related dwelling if it is the second home of you or your spouse/civil partner (not their main home), or
  • Another dwelling if the job related dwelling is the main residence of you or your spouse/civil partner and you have another dwelling that is therefore a second home

One of the properties must fall into class A, B or C shown below:

  • A - The property is provided to you, or your spouse/civil partner, because of your employment and it is necessary for proper performance of duties (as stated in your employment contract - i.e. tied accommodation.
  • B - The property is occupied as a residence from which you, or your spouse/civil partner, perform the duties of a Minister of any religious denomination.
  • C - You are in the armed forces and have your main residence in the UK in Ministry of Defence accommodation which is exempt from Council Tax under Class O.

Please read the application form in the 'downloads' section of this page for the full details, eligibility requirements and evidence required.

Applications for discount must be made in writing. Some application forms are available to complete online, and the links are shown on this page. Alternatively, you can download PDF versions of other application forms to print, complete and return. These are listed at the bottom of this page.

You can also write to us at: Sefton Council, PO Box 21, Bootle L20 3US

We may write to you to ask for further information depending on the discount that you apply for.

Backdating an award of a Council Tax discount

It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that an application for a discount or exemption is made as soon as possible.

If you have made a request for a discount or exemption to be backdated, we may check your application by visiting the property and checking other records.

We will not usually backdate a discount or other reduction unless there are exceptional circumstances. If your request is refused, you can appeal to the council in writing, providing as much relevant documentary evidence as possible.

Ccs Ct Sd Child Benefit (pdf 135KB)
Ccs Ct Sd Youth Trainee (pdf 137KB)
Council Tax Discretionary Reduction In Liability Policy April 2023 (pdf 114KB)
Ct Sd Carers Schedule 2 (pdf 33KB)
Job Related Second Home Discount (pdf 118KB)
Severe Mental Impairment Doctors Certificate (pdf 59KB)

Last Updated on Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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